Union workers came together Saturday outside the convention center for The Working People’s Day of Action, representing jobs such as teachers, caretakers and construction workers.
“Right now with our union we fight, we do collective bargaining,” union worker LaTanya Cline told NBC 7 at the rally. “We have been fighting for higher wages and stuff like that, better living conditions, all of those things. We will be losing if we lose these unions.”
This year’s rally takes place in the shadow of a Supreme Court case – Janus v The American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees – in which the plaintiff, Mark Janus who works for the state government in Illinois, wants to make it so people can opt out of paying dues at unionized workplaces. Janus argues that forcing a non-member to pay dues is like the government forcing an individual to make financial contributions to a political party since many of the unions have political affiliations.
Activist and co-founder of United Farm Workers Dolores Huerta came from California’s Central Valley to be at the rally. “We have to remind people, that if weren't for labor unions we wouldn't have minimum wage,” she said. “We wouldn't have social security, we wouldn't have disability insurance, workers’ compensation, safety standards.”
Nearly 30 other cities around the country held similar rallies Saturday.
Speakers from all professions took the stage to express their concern over a workforce without unions. “We are not giving up. We are going to continue to fight. We are going to keep having these rallies,” Cline said at the rally.
“Unions build a better life for people, and unfortunately some of the corporate interests in this country are threatened by that,” Randi Weingarten, the president of the American Federation of Teachers, said. “So, what they have done is actually backed a case, that is going to try to eliminate unions.”