Statement issued Sept. 6 by Joanne Kuniansky, Socialist Workers Party candidate for U.S. Congress from New Jersey.
Thousands of workers came together in Labor Day actions yesterday. Many featured workers involved in strike battles seeking to push back dangerous working conditions, debilitating work schedules and wages that lose ground to soaring prices.
Working people have a big stake in these battles.
Miners at Warrior Met Coal in Alabama are into the 17th month of a bitter strike to reverse steep concessions forced on them in 2016. Nurses in Pittsburgh and mental health workers in Northern California are walking the picket line demanding bosses hire more staff and ensure patients get the care they need.
Some 115,000 workers are involved in a contract fight with the country’s biggest rail bosses across the country, who are backed by anti-union government interference. Their strike deadline is Sept. 16.
Members of the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers union at Ingredion and United Auto Workers members at Case in Iowa and Wisconsin are on strike to defend themselves and their union.
These fights unfold after years of a relentless capitalist offensive that has driven down real wages, led to the biggest price hikes in decades, and a broader social crisis. We face falling life expectancy, rising rates of drug addiction, alcoholism and suicide with deteriorating health care. Every labor battle taking place today is a crucial part of the fight to reverse these conditions.
To take on the bosses’ attacks, the labor movement needs a class-struggle program. To protect workers from inflation we need escalator clauses in every contract and in Social Security benefits, so when prices rise our wages and benefits go up automatically.
To prevent layoffs, cut the workweek with no cut in wages — 30 hours work for 40 hours pay! Fight for a government-funded public works program, at union-scale pay, to create jobs building hospitals, child care centers and other things working people need.
Defend crucial constitutional rights under serious attack from President Joseph Biden’s administration today. Unions must join in standing up against use of the FBI, Washington’s political police, to deal blows to hard-won protections against government harassment and disruption, whoever is the initial target.
The capitalist rulers’ foreign policy is the flip side of their anti-labor policies at home. Workers need our own foreign policy based on solidarity with workers and farmers worldwide.
Workers need our own party, a labor party, to chart a course to lead our class to take political power and construct a workers and farmers government.