Labor Day 2018: We Have the Power to Shape Our Future

We Have the Power to Shape Our Future

By Kevin Garvey

This Labor Day, the value of unions and their ability to make life better in our communities is

becoming more apparent.

This year, UFCW Local 75 has organized Ohioans who work in grocery stores and food

processing facilities. Among many other things, the hard-working women and men who have

joined our union realize that union workers earn over an average of $200 more per week than

their nonunion counterparts. They know that union workers are more likely to have jobs that

provide affordable health insurance, paid vacation, holidays and sick leave, fair scheduling,

workplace safety and health protections, protections against automation and other benefits. They

are also keenly aware that too many of their family members, friends and neighbors are still

struggling in low-paying jobs with little to no benefits that make it impossible to climb the

economic ladder.

For too long, our economic system has been rigged to benefit the wealthy few at the expense of

the rest of us. Here in Ohio, Representatives John Becker and Craig Reidel, with backing from

corporations, have proposed to change our state’s constitution to include so-called “Right to

Work” language. So-called “Right to Work”, also known as “Work for Less”, undermines the

ability of working people to improve their workplaces and hold irresponsible employers

accountable. These laws lead to reduced wages and make it easier for companies in our state to

offer fewer sustainable jobs. Simply put, Work for Less laws help corporate profits and hurt

wages for hard-working people.

Fortunately, by banding together and voting, we can stop bad laws like Work for Less and start

passing legislation that will improve our lives.

This is an important election year, and any lawmakers that think Ohio’s workers are going to

stand idly by and be denied access to a better life should look to Missouri, where voters recently

rejected a Work for Less law by a wide margin. Like our brothers and sisters in Missouri, we can

and must reject the broken status quo by spreading the word that our ability to create a better

future depends on us standing up together to ask for it.

Whether it’s in the voting booth or at the workplace, it’s time for everyday people across Ohio to

realize that we have the power to shape our future. Victories for hard-working families, like we

saw in Missouri, can be won here in the Buckeye State, too. This Labor Day, let’s all realize the

value we bring to our workplaces and stand together to create the better life we all deserve.


Kevin Garvey is the President of UFCW Local 75 representing members throughout Ohio,

Kentucky, and Indiana.