Happy Thanksgiving, brothers and sisters

By BERRY CRAIG

AFT Local 1360

Happy Turkey Day.

Enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. But take a minute to remember that unions brought you holidays and 

Weekends

Overtime pay

The 8-hour day

Paid vacations

Sick days

Safety standards

Child labor laws

Health benefits

Pensions

Unemployment compensation

Be grateful but beware. The Republicans still have super-majorities in the state House and Senate. Republican Matt Bevin is still governor.

Last January, nearly every Republican voted for a "right to work" law and for repealing the prevailing wage. The Democratic minority stood with us but could not stop the GOP steamroller.

The Republicans passed the measures with warp speed and Bevin lost no time in signing them.

They're not finished. Next on the GOP hit list are gutting public employee pensions and the workers' compensation program.

So enjoy your turkey and the trimmings and the pumpkin pie. Count your blessings, but remember who fought, and bled, and sometimes died, bringing them to you--and who is still fighting hard to keep them for you.

And get ready to again rally in Frankfort and to get behind your union-endorsed candidates in next year's elections. 

Meanwhile AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka's Thanksgiving letter from last year is worth a re-read this Turkey Day:

Dear Union Member:

Thanksgiving is a holiday of solidarity—commemorating a short-lived moment when Pilgrims and Native Americans broke bread together at a common table. This Thanksgiving, America’s working people and our unions are committed to standing with each other—in solidarity. We are reminded this holiday season of President Franklin Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms—freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and most of all, freedom from fear.

Thanksgiving is a holiday of plenty—a celebration of the bounty that hard work in America can and should bring. This election season we heard many promises of plenty—promises to create jobs, to raise wages, to protect working people from economic insecurity. Yet we know the business lobbyists are already making plans for how the Trump administration can cut working people’s wages, privatize Medicare and Social Security and attack workers’ rights on the job. This Thanksgiving, the labor movement reaffirms our commitment to hold America’s newly elected president accountable to the promises he made to working people.

Thanksgiving is a holiday created to bind us together. Yet all across our nation, the presidential election and its aftermath have left too many who do the work of America feeling vulnerable—immigrants, people of color, Muslims, women and the LGBTQ community. Afraid they will be scapegoated, afraid they and their families could be the target of the kind of persecution that led the Pilgrims to come here in the first place. The labor movement has one message for all our members and indeed for all working people—YOU ARE NOT ALONE. WE WILL STAND TOGETHER. WE WILL PROTECT THE FREEDOMS THAT MAKE AMERICA – AND WE WILL PROTECT THOSE FREEDOMS FOR ALL WHO LIVE AND WORK HERE.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that reminds us of our history as a country. Of our best moments, and the hopes they embodied. We are a nation that fought fascism. Our military cemeteries are filled with men and women who gave their all in that fight. Our National Mall honors Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.— heroes in the fight against racism. Working people expect that those entrusted with leading our nation are worthy of this inheritance, an inheritance for which we are truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Richard Trumka

President, AFL-CIO

Thanksgiving Letter to Working Families on Solidarity