BY PAT EIDING, President, Phila. Council AFL-CIO/ Over the last 18 months, it’s been hard not to notice the general attack on workers taking place across the country. From Wisconsin and Ohio, where Governors tried to win political points by stripping collective-bargaining rights from public employees; to the constant drumbeat that workers with modest pensions and health-insurance coverage have somehow destroyed the nation’s economy.
Workers, union and non-union alike, have stood up against these attacks and been on the defense for the better part of two years. On Aug. 11 in Philadelphia, tens of thousands of workers from the state, region and beyond will join together for the Workers Stand for America and outline a pro-active vision – a Second Bill of Rights – about what the labor movement stands for and basic guiding principles which all workers have a right to attain.
Titled “Workers Stand For America”, the gathering will be held at Eakins Oval, on the Parkway, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Workers Stand for America was envisioned by IBEW International President Ed Hill as a way to change the conversation in America and to refocus national attention on jobs, economic opportunity, and restoring the American dream for all. President Hill put out the call and the entire labor movement – and beyond – have answered it.
It is fitting that we will gather here in Philadelphia – which well over 200 years ago became one of the first sites in the colonies where workers joined together to fight for their collective rights – to stand together to bring forward a modern platform of workers’ rights, including: the right to full employment and a living wage; the right to full participation in the electoral process; the right to a voice at work; the right to a quality education; and the right to a secure, healthy future.
As the preamble to the Second Bill of Rights says, “We the People want to strengthen our nation, as a beacon of equality, economic opportunity and freedom for all. We hold these rights to be essential to our vision of America and believe that the principles contained therein should guide our government, business leaders, organizations and individuals in our common goal of a just and fair society.” We hope all of Philadelphia will come join us on Aug. 11 and then work together to achieve this vision.