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Fifty-five years ago, in a speech to the convention of the Illinois AFL-CIO, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. laid out with characteristic moral clarity the essential role of unions in American life. “The labor movement,” he explained, “was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress … [When] the wave of union organization crested over the nation, it carried to secure shores not only itself but the whole society. Civilization began to grow in the economic life of man, and a decent life with a sense of security and dignity became a reality rather than a distant dream.”

This Labor Day, America’s working families are facing unprecedented challenges.

The path to the presidency runs through the labor movement.

Rep.-elect Conor Lamb made national waves with an improbable win last week in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District. He faced down $10 million in outside money funneled to his opponent by corporate and right-wing interests. He fought through a barrage of incessant, hyperpartisan attacks blanketing the airwaves. He was abandoned by his own party’s national infrastructure in a district that hadn’t elected a Democrat in nearly 15 years. And he still came out on top.

Nearly two centuries ago, a group of women and girls—some as young as 12—decided they'd had enough. Laboring in the textile mills of Lowell, Massachusetts, they faced exhausting 14-hour days, abusive supervisors and dangerous working conditions. When threatened with a pay cut, they finally put their foot down.

The mill workers organized, went on strike and formed America's first union of working women. They shocked their bosses, captured the attention of a young nation and blazed a trail for the nascent labor movement that would follow.

Members and leaders of the union that represents hotel and hospitality workers gathered Monday evening to discuss the workers’ experiences with sexual harassment by guests and what the union is doing to create safer workplaces for its members.

The meeting of national and local leaders of the AFL-CIO, Chicago Federation of Labor and employees that the union represents — which includes hotel and hospitality workers — came less than a month after an alderman sponsored a loophole into the city’s sexual harassment ordinance that would weaken the legislation.

The Senate will vote on a bill Tuesday that’s being touted by supporters as much-needed regulatory relief for small community banks — a sales pitch that conjures images of tellers greeting longtime customers by name as they kick farm dust off their boots at the door.

The #MeToo movement has challenged our nation to confront pervasive sexual harassment in the workplace. Women of every age, every background and every profession have faced harassment, and for too many perpetrators there has been no accountability. According to a study conducted by the nonprofit Stop Street Harassment, 81% of women (and 43% of men) report experiencing sexual harassment or assault.

Sen. Bernie Sanders calls her “very tough” and “an invaluable ally.” Longtime consumer advocate Ralph Nader praises her as “the greatest labor organizer of her time.” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka admires her “iron will.” Filmmaker Michael Moore says she is “the pain-in-the-ass labor leader all workers need fighting for them.”

The Trump tax cuts aren't tickling everyone's fancy, despite a little more money in your check. State Sen. David Niezgodski (D) and State Rep. Karlee Macer (D) were part of a town hall in Indianapolis, on what they say is the "TrumpTax’s disastrous impact on Indiana’s working families."

The town hall is part of a nationwide tour they say will shed light on the "devastating repercussions of Republican tax breaks for millionaires, billionaires and wealthy corporations at the expense of working families."

A workers’ rights case before the Supreme Court this week could have a dramatic impact on all of our lives. Janus v. AFSCME is a case that is designed to dramatically reduce dues and starve unions that are representing workers at the bargaining table. The Janus case is being pushed by some big corporations and CEOs as part of their well-funded attacks against collective bargaining.