Labor Day Tales and Futures for Dignity

Anya had spent a great day with her daughter at the NY State Fair on Labor Day using the tickets she received from her union. They marched alongside her union brothers and sisters in the Labor Day parade remembering workers who came before. The Fight for $15 struggle ahead galvanized her onward towards organizing until all workers bring home a dignified wage.

Juan felt blessed on this day of relaxation, spending time with his familia at their Westside home.  He and his son Julio even took a break from eating BBQ to kick the futbol around at the Skiddy Park soccer court.  Juan was also thinking about his friend who was injured on the job.  Thankfully, he would make a strong recovery and his union representatives were able to negotiate stronger safety controls in their new contract. Juan looked forward to many more happy Labor Days with his family, and dignified working conditions.

Frank walked into camp with his partner and dog, after hiking Cat Mountain, and headed for a swim in Cranberry Lake.  Happy to have held his public service position at Onondaga Community College for 7 years, he knew an extended first September weekend was annually his.  This year he chose the wilds of our publicly owned Adirondack Forest Preserve. His thoughts swerved to this being his first Labor Day as a union delegate for NYSUT Professional Administrators at OCC, and how workers’ rights were always under fire even at institutions of higher education.  Profit is often put before people as adjuncts struggle to piece together enough classes, without benefits, to support their families in dignity, too.  

Hector fought the hot sun this Labor Day, harvesting the fields, having worked for the 10th consecutive day in a row.  The State Fair came and went during that time, yet he had no opportunity to view the agricultural events there and celebrate his own farming heritage, and certainly no choice but to work these long hours at low wages if he wanted to keep this job.  And he did, with two youngsters at home he couldn’t take a break, because the next worker in line would eagerly take it.  Dignity be damned.

The future shall not be built upon the backs of workers with no rights, making poverty-rate wages, and holding no organized representation nor respect from owners and the management class.  These types of disrespect are happening right here in Central New York, and voice is needed in our government to represent peoples’ rights.  I promise as your next Syracuse District Councilor to inform the full council as to currently undergoing worker issues, to listen to and learn together with union representatives, and ensure we fill the open public service positions that will lead to our safety, prosperity, and a city of dignity for all of us.

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