Labor Day Greeting from International President Edwin D. Hill
September 2, 2011
On behalf of our officers and staff, I want to express our thanks his Labor Day to all members who keep the IBEW’s record of accomplishment alive through your diligent work on the job and activism in the community and union.
Even as we celebrate this Labor Day, cold statistics on the number of North American workers who are unemployed silhouette the difficult mountain that the IBEW and our labor movement must climb for economic security and social justice.
The past year has seen unprecedented moves by our adversaries to block the powerful legacy of our trade unions— collective bargaining rights, secure pensions and health insurance—for millions of our members.
But the most perilous threat to working families, brothers and sisters, comes not from our adversaries. It comes from within. The greatest danger to our movement is our own despair. Let me make a case for hope.
Hope is tens of thousands of men and women in Wisconsin standing up, fighting back in 2011.
Hope is the courageous IBEW and CWA members at Verizon who dared shut down operations when presented with ultimatums designed to break their legacy and their spirit.
Hope is a growing number of young men and women who, everyday, are picking up the banner of organized labor and applying their creativity to refreshing a movement that simply cannot afford to grow tired or lose its relevance to millions outside of our ranks.
Hope is our retirees in many cities and towns who have openly challenged politicians who dishonor hard-working men and women by suggesting that they, not the thieves and manipulators of Wall Street, must sacrifice their Social Security and Medicare for the sake of “austerity.”
I am hopeful brothers and sisters. But I also know that the hopes of working families will die if they are not stoked with our willingness to speak uncomfortable truths, not just to our adversaries, but to those who say they are our friends.
We are patiently waiting for a jobs bill to be submitted to Congress from the Obama administration. If it is solid, we must pour our hopes and our grassroots efforts into its passage. If it is inadequate, we must demand a better solution.
This week, in an editorial in The Hill newspaper, I called upon the Obama administration to hold its economic advisors from corporate America accountable for their actions.
There is no better time than this Labor Day for President Obama to restore the hope that millions invested in him to help take a step up that mountain leading to jobs and justice for working families.
Enjoy your Labor Day.