Today is Labor Day but it has certainly not been a picnic for America’s workers. Working people are frustrated and angry—angry because they’ve lost jobs, homes, pensions and—in some cases—hope.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen that frustration and anger stoked by people, groups and corporations who are trying to distract working families from the truth. These groups have tried to shift the blame from corporate wrongdoing to the victims of job loss and foreclosures when the truth is that the agenda they advocate brought about our economic devastation and will deepen the economic inequality that is so dangerous to our society.
About a month ago, the AFL-CIO partnered with the Atlanta community to hold a hearing on the foreclosure crisis facing so many in Atlanta. Georgia ranks 8th among American states in foreclosures.
As chair of the hearings, I heard the stories of a single mother, a widow, a senior citizen and an under-employed father. These were families over their heads because of corporate greed, Wall Street, joblessness and subprime mortgages. Yet they were determined not to let frustration and anger consume them -- they were an inspiration, speaking out and fighting back.
The AFL-CIO is determined that the Tea Party and its corporate backers are not going to get the final word. It is time to look forward to a positive vision, and we are proud to be joining with a diverse coalition of civil rights, religious, human rights, environmental and other progressive organizations as part of the One Nation Working Together rally in Washington and across the country on October 2nd.
One Nation Working Together will show America what a progressive economic vision looks like. We are determined to build an America defined by greater unity – with jobs, justice and education for all.
Working people who want to build a middle-class economy are the majority. We are fueled by hope, not hate. We have the pride, power and determination to keep our country, ourselves and our communities – moving toward an economy that values hard work and jobs that can support a family.
So on October 2nd, we will come together to rally and raise our voices in D.C. We’re going to talk about the need for a new kind of patriotism - economic patriotism and what working people are facing. When we come together and speak with one collective voice about the real values of our country – it is only then that we can restore our economy to one that works for everyone.
Arlene Holt Baker is the Executive Vice President of the AFL-CIO , a federation of labor unions representing 11.5 million workers across the country.
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