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Guaranteeing the Right to Organize

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Credit: Dale Robbins

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.

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.

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