May 1, 2020 – Is it “May Day”, or “mayday”?
International Workers Day – or “May Day” – is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movement every May 1st (though in the U.S. we usually hold our celebrations in September). Across the world, we recognize the efforts of those have have fought and struggled for the right to organize throughout the world – but this year we also see the long road still ahead of us.
COVID-19 has been a true eye opener for many people. While some of us have been fortunate enough to continue working from home, far too many people are finding out their “essential work” isn’t providing them the protections and safeguards they need to stay healthy. Even worse yet: a record number of Americans are now finding themselves out of work – and out of benefits.
Labor unions have long been on the front lines battling for worker protections. Back in the 1950s, over 33% of American workers were members of a union. But thanks largely to anti-worker efforts funded by large corporations (such as “right-to-work” laws), today only about 10% of workers are members of a union. As a result, workers are working longer hours for less pay and few (if any) benefits.
Democrats have long been the party of working people. This coronavirus crisis has shown that Pennsylvania needs a new focus on giving people the equipment and protections they need at work – and a living wage for their work. That’s why I introduced the Pennsylvania Protecting the Right to Organize (or PA PRO) Act back in February.
The PA PRO Act would provide for a transformational strengthening of worker safeguards and enhancement of organizing rights. We need to ensure all Pennsylvania workers have the ability to fight for fair wages and a safe workplace.
So this May Day, let’s stand up for workers together, and put real protections behind EVERYONE contributing to our shared well-being.