Letter to the Editor

Marching for workers

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, we have reached the point where it has affected all of us. We all know someone who has fallen ill, or worse, succumbed to this deadly virus. And one thing has become abundantly clear: The economy is dependent on the middle class, and for too long, not enough financial gains have made their way to working families.

Recent media attention has focused on the Black Lives Matter movement. Labor considers this a workplace issue because it is a community issue, and unions are the community. When Martin Luther King Jr. spoke at the AFL-CIO's fourth national convention in 1961, he said, "Our needs are identical with Labor's needs: decent wages, fair working conditions, livable housing, old age security, health and welfare measures, conditions in which families can grow, have education for their children and respect in the community." Our labor contracts remain neutral on skin color, gender and any other identifiable conditions. The goal is to fairly and properly represent all workers without regard to these factors and to advance the standard of living for each and every one of them.

That's why the Labor movement marched in the streets on Wednesday for the Workers First Caravan, a gathering of thousands of cars and people across the country who made our voices heard while practicing safe social distancing, urging Congress to pass the HEROES Act, a COVID-19 relief package that would make sure every worker retains our health insurance, paycheck and more.

MARK BAKER, president, Southeast Missouri Central Labor Council, Jackson