Let’s build an America that works for everyone

Kathy Button

WNY — The American Labor Movement is one of our nation’s most vital stakeholders– having been on the front lines of improving our economy and securing safe, good-paying dignified jobs for more than a century.

On this Labor Day, we are asking everyone to partner with us to rededicate our efforts to improving the lives of all working families. We also ask for your partnership to help us bring economic justice to the workplace and to improve social justice outcomes for all workers.

Unionized workers contribute to virtually every sector of our economy and are on the job 24 hours a day 7 days a week—building our infrastructure, teaching our children, caring for the most vulnerable citizens, keeping us safe, staffing our libraries and museums, tending to our parks and waterways, operating our transit systems and entertaining us at sporting venues and at the movies.

Work is what we do to better ourselves, our families—our cities, towns, our nation. Work is the initials we scratch in the wet cement of America’s progress. Work is what built this country—and it’s what will build it again. And as work changes we change with it. Work doesn’t separate us—it’s what binds us together as a community—all of us. Work is what connects us—and we are stronger together as long as working people have the ability to collectively bargain for a better life.

We are stronger as a nation when we invest in our most precious resource—the people and families who take an active role in making their communities better by delivering on the promise of a job well done.

On this Labor Day, while anti-union forces continue to misinform and divide working people, CSEA will continue to unite our communities and build an even more vibrant Labor Movement that will result in a growing economy and a thriving middle class.

CSEA is committed to building a stronger economy—an economy that works for everyone. Let us recommit our fight to support legislation that will give educators and support staff the tools and resources they need to create better outcomes for our kids– because all of our children deserve the opportunity to live up to their potential and believe the American Dream still exists.

Let us also recommit our dedication to creating safe clean workplaces—where workers and employers can be more productive and where employees know they will be going home unscathed after a hard day’s work.

We know we are stronger as a community when labor laws are enforced and when we support each other in times of crisis. Our right to organize, to collectively bargain, to be safe on the job– and to retire with dignity after years of hard work should be an American standard.

However, in too many workplaces across this great country of ours— worker rights are under attack by big corporations, municipal governments, moneyed interests and some lawmakers who have forgotten that a strong economy requires vital public services and a strong workforce. On this day and every day we stand here before you as community allies— as an integral part and a necessary cog in making America happen.

On this Labor Day, we proudly stand with each other arm in arm to celebrate all things labor and to protect the rights and values that helped build this great nation. Workers must always have a seat at the table– because when unions are strong– workers are strong. And when workers are strong– America is strong.

Labor Day Message from Kathy Button
Western Region President
Civil Service Employees Association
September 2019

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About Author

Ove Overmyer

Ove Overmyer is an award winning photojournalist and writer who has promoted the virtue of working people and the value of public service throughout his career. His work has been published by many well-respected international media outlets, including PBS Moyers & Co., Steward Update UCS Worker Institute Cornell ILR, CBS News, The Weather Channel, SCI-FY Channel, Associated Press and LOGO-TV. Before joining the CSEA Communications Department staff in 2015, Overmyer was a CSEA member employed by the City of Rochester and an officer of the union for more than 18 years. He covers a 14 county area of Western New York and lives in Rochester, NY.

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