Stephen Lerner spent much of the past three decades unionizing hundreds of thousands of farm workers, garment workers and janitors. Before the economic crisis, as director of the SEIU’s private equity project, Lerner launched a campaign that documented lax regulations and unsustainable practices of private equity firms. Lerner has written many articles about the complex challenges for workers in a global economy. Last summer, he visited Moyers & Company to discuss the future of the labor movement.
What Should Obama Say About the ‘State of Our Union’?
In this Group Think, we asked writers, activists and academics to write parts of President Obama's speech. See what they drafted.
- Fix Our Divided, Dysfunctional CongressSocial Psychologist
- Fostering Greater Middle East StabilityProfessor, Boston University
- Prioritizing PovertyAuthor
- We Must Out-Educate and Out-Innovate Other NationsProfessor, New York University
- Guaranteeing the Right to OrganizeLabor and Community Organizer
- Austerity is Not the SolutionEconomist
- Let’s Put Americans Back to WorkAuthors, Winner-Take-All Politics
- We Need to Get Our Economic Facts StraightEconomist
- On Guns, Mothers Have Had EnoughFounder of One Million Moms for Gun Control
- Ensuring Healthy and Safe FoodPhysicist and Activist
- Equity is the Antidote to InequalityFounder and President of PolicyLink
- Empowering Americans Through the Ballot BoxDirector and Counsel, Washington, D.C. Office, Brennan Center for Justice
- Overdue Action on Climate ChangeAuthor and Activist
February 8, 2013
Guaranteeing the Right to Organize
In my inaugural address I talked about three places — Seneca Falls, Selma, and Stonewall — that helped birth movements that transformed our nation. I want to add to that list Seattle, San Francisco and the other cities where workers engaged in sit down strikes that helped organize the unions that built the middle class in this country. As corporate profits skyrocket, inequality grows and the middle class shrinks, it is time to rebalance the economy of our country by guaranteeing that workers can once again freely organize unions and negotiate fair wages and benefits.