Labor Day is about a lot more than picnics and parades. Today, we take time to celebrate the workers who built our communities and our country, and recommit ourselves to fighting for an economy that works for everyone.
Today I’m thinking of my grandfather, a union sawmill worker in Everett, who toiled his whole life to build a better future for his family. I’m thinking of my parents – teachers and union members – who worked to make sure we had what we needed to succeed. I’m thinking of workers across the country and across the decades who have fought tirelessly for safe workplaces and fair wages for all families. As income inequality gets worse and worse, we know more than ever that we need unions help preserve the middle class and protect working families.
Our strong partnership with labor is helping us build a world-class economy for the people of this region. What unions do isn’t easy, and it isn’t always popular with the talking heads on TV. But what they do to empower working people is necessary, and it is right.
Within the last several weeks, we saw major victories for local union members, with concrete drivers with Teamsters Local 174 securing a new contract, and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 587 signing a new agreement for those employees that help keep our region moving everyday.
These contracts guarantee that major sectors of our economy – now and in the future – will have safe and healthy workplaces, fair wages, and well-trained workers who can deliver outstanding private and public sector services to the people of our region. And earlier this year, we formed the King County Coalition of Labor Unions, bringing 59 unions together to create a single, fair, and unified Master Labor Agreement for King County.
We’ve come a long way, but we still have work to do to – and as Executive, I will continue to fight for a stronger middle class and an economy that benefits all families. I will continue to work behind the scenes where helpful, and walk the picket lines when necessary, just as I did with the striking Teamsters. And I will continue to demand that workers be treated with dignity and respect, and have access to the remarkable opportunities offered by the region they built.
Have a great and safe Labor Day,