This Labor Day, we recognize the millions of people across the country who go to work every day to take care of their families. We work to put food on the table, to put ourselves through school, to pay for the ballet lessons and the baseball league. Our hard work allows our economy to thrive, and our work is what makes America great.
We need to make sure our voices heard in Idaho as we push back against attacks from the corporate right wing. So, in November, we need to come together to elect leaders who share our values and vision, and who put working families first. Together, we’ll rewrite the rules and create an economy that works for everyone.
Over 78,000 Idahoans still don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid and earn too little to qualify for assistance through the Idaho insurance exchange. These Idahoans who fall into the “coverage gap” need lawmakers that will create a complete solution that provides comprehensive health coverage. A complete solution to the coverage gap creates a more efficient, cost-effective health system in Idaho and spends our tax dollars wisely.
Working people across the nation know that the first step to a prosperous economy is raising wages. Employers have held wages down for too long, and we work too hard to be falling behind. The candidates who will earn our votes agree that working people should share in the wealth we create. Any candidate who wants our vote needs to put forth an economic agenda that includes raising wages, expanding apprenticeship programs and family-friendly policies like paid leave and equal pay for equal work.
The fall elections also are about electing candidates who believe the country needs a new direction on trade. Working people are changing the debate and saying no to trade deals that kill jobs and lower wages. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is more of the same — an unfair agreement written by corporations, for corporations at the expense of working people. Trade deals should move the economy forward and create jobs right here at home.
Unions built the middle class in our country, and we are working to strengthen the right to organize and have a voice on the job. The middle class should be growing, not shrinking. Union membership and apprenticeship programs help create a growing middle class. Idaho, we want a leader who believes all workers should be able to join together and negotiate for better wages and benefits and a safe workplace.
On Labor Day, let’s commit to making our voices heard at the polls. This fall we are voting to elect candidates who believe we deserve higher wages, better benefits, a reasonable work schedule and paid time off when we get sick. We are voting because trade deals should create good-paying jobs here in the United States. We are voting to ensure working people have the protections they need on the job; so that we can create safer and better workplaces. This November we are voting for a better life.
Brad Cederblom, of Rathdrum, is a retired ironworker, president of the North Idaho Central Labor Council and vice president of the Idaho State AFL-CIO.