Celebrating Our Roots, 3

illustration of striking workers blocking a train and deputies with rifles
Labor Day comes from the labor movement’s rich history and struggle. Brutal working conditions during the Industrial Revolution drove the US labor movement to push for a holiday for workers in addition to higher pay, reasonable hours, and safe working conditions. The Pullman Strike of 1894 finally forced the federal government to recognize Labor Day as a federal holiday. Pullman employees rose up and joined the American Railroad Union after the company cut wages by 25% and decreased its workforce from 5,500 to 3,300 in the face of an economic depression, causing employees to face starvation. What started as local union organizing in the company town of Pullman drew 250,000 workers across 27 states to join in a massive strike, drawing widespread public attention to labor issues.
This Labor Day and every day, the Just Transition Alliance stands with all workers, unionized or not. We focus on the workers who go unseen, like our farmworker allies at Familias Unidas por la Justicia and waste workers at the Teamsters Waste Division and the Malabon-Navotas Waste Workers’ Association. We support the workers fighting to transition to a better way of life, like our partners at United Steelworkers Local 675. We thank amazing organizations like Central Florida Jobs with Justice who advocate for worker rights across the dimensions of health, education, and climate justice.
We thank and celebrate all of our partners for helping to create alignment between labor and EJ, two parties who must both be at the table in order to achieve a truly just transition. We call on unions to renew their historic position as social justice leaders, rather than collaborate with the corporate co-optation of Just Transition language. Read more about the struggle against corporate co-optation: https://jtalliance.org/…/latest-un-climate-conference…/

Picture by G.A. Coffin entitled “Deputies Trying to Move an Engine and Car on the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad at Blue Island, July 2, 1894” for Harpers Magazine. Public Domain {{PD-US}}