This Labor Day, as we head out to the barbecues, parades, and other festivities that help us mark the end of summer, I want to take a moment to recognize the incredible achievements of working people all across Idaho
Not only does our day-to-day work make our state run, we’re also standing together to push for real changes that make our state and our country a better place for all working families — not an easy feat when you consider what we’re up against. Across the country, corporate special interests are pushing an agenda that increases their profits while hurting our families, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
For far too long, wealthy CEOs and corporations have manipulated the rules to shift the economy in their favor. Working people feel the effects every time we can’t get time off to take care of a sick child or work longer hours while still living paycheck to paycheck or worry about our parents being able to retire in security. We all do what we need to in order to make ends meet, but the fact is Idahoans deserve more than a decent living, we deserve a decent life.
That’s why we pushed for a bill to raise the minimum wage through our state Legislature earlier this year. We need strong policies that ensure working people are paid enough to set their kids up for a bright future, that jobs created by our taxes put our communities to work, and that we can take the time we need to take care of our loved ones — or ourselves — when we’re ill.
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We are rallying to support a citywide initiative in McCall to raise minimum wage. In November citizens of McCall will get a chance to make their city a better place to live by voting to raise the minimum wage. All work has value and voters in McCall will have an opportunity to create an economy that works for the people, not just the wealthy and connected.
Working people from every state, including Idaho, generated thousands of comments in support of expanding overtime protection that would benefit 13.5 million people and ensure they are paid fairly for every hour they work. We banded together for several months and against incredible odds to push back against bad trade policies that hurt working families in our communities and around the world. These big changes won’t happen overnight, but we will be there — standing together — every single step of the way.
Whether it is a group of co-workers negotiating together for a fair workplace or voters making their voices heard against corporate-backed legislation that creates more economic imbalance, working people everywhere are taking action. Because, we’re working to better our families, our communities, our state and our country. We’re working for a better life.
Aaron White is Idaho state AFL-CIO president.