- Reporters Desk
By Gary Herrera, ILWU Local 13 Vice President
I am a laborer for a great union that stands for social and economic justice for American workers. The ILWU believes that a union must fight in every possible way to advance the principle of labor unity.
Labor Day recognizes and gives tribute to the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Labor Day represents the strength of the trade and labor organizations. It is a day we recognize that working conditions have become fair, equitable and safe because labor has organized to fight for the American worker. It pays tribute to both the contributions and achievements of the everyday worker. It is a day to celebrate the quality of life. On Labor Day, it is important that we honor the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.
Labor Day in 2019 has so much significance with what is happening in the world today. Currently, labor is losing the battle to automation and artificial intelligence. Our society is being controlled by corporate greed and they are doing it by getting rid of the human element in labor. It is important to know that today labor must stand and fight together for the well-being of our future and our communities. Global corporate greed is destroying labor by replacing humans with robots. Robots do not pay taxes, buy homes, vote, purchase goods or contribute to society. Jobs give a man or woman a sense of being. It also gives them the ability to be a part of society, the ability to support their communities (giving back to little league, cheerleading, nonprofit organizations for youth and adults). Labor unity is the key for successful economic advancement in dealing with the challenges of homelessness and the high rate of losing jobs to automation. One might say we may become a welfare state. Today, Labor Day means laborers should unite more than ever, stand together and form a movement. A movement that stands and fights for humans. Technology is great as long as it enhances the working conditions for humans and not eliminate the human aspect of labor. We are facing a changing economy. Recently, laborers and community members have made extraordinary progress to bring light to the importance of human labor. We need to continue to educate ourselves and come together. When it’s not just one voice, but many, we are impossible to ignore. Human labor is what makes and will continue to make for a prosperous country. People deserve the ability to earn a good living in order to provide for themselves and their families. A community that supports labor will be successful and thrive. A prosperous work force equals a prosperous community.
Believe in humans, believe in labor and believe in each other. Don’t give up the fight. Our future children, grandchildren and community depend on it.
In Wilmington on Sept. 2, the ILWU will join other unions throughout our state and march down the streets in unity, flying our banner with pride and solidarity.