What have unions done for my family and me? Virtually all the benefits you and I have enjoyed at work, whether in the public or private sector, are there because unions fought hard and long for these worker rights. Unions have long been part of our nation’s history, fighting for better pay, safer working conditions, health care, retirement benefits, education and civic participation. Unions have brought diverse voices together, and their struggles have elevated the working conditions, the standard of living and the recognition not just of their members.
Unions have given us fair wages and relative income equality. Unions helped win widespread employer-based health coverage. Unions spearheaded the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act, paid vacation, sick leave, Social Security, Medicare, minimum wage, the eight-hour work day and 40-hour work week, overtime pay, Occupational Safety and Health Act, workers compensation, Federal Employees Liability Act, unemployment insurance, pensions — the list goes on and on.
What about coal! We hear President Trump, Congressman Adrian Smith, Sen. Deb Fischer and other politicians, using “war on coal” as a scare tactic. They have had plenty of time to turn things around. Fifty coal-fired power plants have closed since Trump took office in 2017. Coal use has been declining as electricity producers abandoned it for cheaper natural gas and renewable energy, and governments and companies shifted to cleaner alternatives.