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It was the labor movement that helped secure so much of what we take for granted today. The 40-hour work week, the minimum wage, family leave, health insurance, Social Security, Medicare, retirement plans. The cornerstones of the middle-class security all bear the union label.
The question is always 'What is the role of a labor movement?' How much is about collective bargaining, how much is about social change for all workers?
What created democracy was Thomas Paine and Shays' Rebellion, the suffragists and the abolitionists and on down through the populists and the labor movement, including the Wobblies. Tough, in your face people... Mother Jones, Woody Guthrie... Martin Luther King and Caesar Chavez. And now it's down to us.
The labor movement means just this: it is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth.
Now, if we look at the way in which the labor movement itself has evolved over the last couple of decades, we see increasing numbers of black people who are in the leadership of the labor movement and this is true today.
Well, we see an increasingly weaker labor movement as a result of the overall assault on the labor movement and as a result of the globalization of capital.
The strike of the miners in Arizona was one of the most remarkable strikes in the history of the American labor movement. Its peaceful character, its successful outcome, were due to that most remarkable character, Governor Hunt.
Mary Harris Jones
I think we will see a united labor movement again. When workers unite they're stronger. The same goes for unions.
All the time our union was progressing very nicely. There were lectures to make us understand what trades unionism is and our real position in the labor movement.
I have been very interested in labor movement. If I could have wished another life, I would have loved to be a pioneer woman in the beginning of labor movement.
There is nothing stronger than the American labor movement. United, we cannot and we will not be turned aside. We'll work for it, sisters and brothers. We'll stand for it. Together. Each of us. To bring out the best in America. To bring out the best in ourselves, and each other.
Before the war there were many who were more or less ignorant of the international labor movement but who nevertheless turned to it for salvation when the threat of war arose. They hoped that the workers would never permit a war.
I would say the issue for the labor movement in the United States is not structural... there is no correlation between the success of workers and how the labor movement is structured.
My parents had been involved in the labor movement; if we'd grown up in the city, we would have been red-diaper babies.
So May 4th in the labor movement has always been an important date.
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