United, Chicago workers win

Labor Day is a moment to rest, reflect, and honor the working people who power our city and our nation. This Labor Day, I am reminded of how much Chicago and Cook County's workers can accomplish when we roll up our sleeves, reach out to each other and work together as one.

United, we win.

It took everyone in the labor movement pulling in the same direction to pass the Workers' Rights Amendment last November. A typical labor walk saw plumbers and carpenters knocking doors side by side with healthcare workers and truck drivers. Our phone banks were filled every night with union members from the building trades, hospitality industry, public services and more.

The Workers' Rights Amendment passed because working people from every corner of our state stood united and voted to protect their rights. And now, workers across Illinois will know that their freedom to organize for better wages and working conditions are protected for generations to come.

Our unity gives us the ability to set the standard and lead by example. The Chicago Federation of Labor became the first AFL-CIO labor council to offer Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training as part of the CFL Organizing Institute because we want to break down the barriers that divide us.

We brought together leaders from faith, business, labor and academics to meet with hospitality workers for a discussion on the future of work in the industry. We connect elected leaders and rank-and-file workers to make sure policymakers truly understand the challenges facing workers in Chicago and beyond.

When we are united, we can have real conversations about the problems so many workers face in our modern economy. Because big ideas and major victories start off as one-on-one conversations.

The momentum that labor has built is growing with each and every worker who stands up and says, "I deserve better!" From classrooms to warehouses, coffee shops to machine shops, workers are building power and standing up for their rights all over Chicago and Cook County. Solidarity is brewing in Chicago, and it's being served not only by union baristas, but by every rank-and-file union member with a voice and a vision.

As we prepare for the year ahead, I know our united Chicago labor movement will continue to build momentum. From contract fights to organizing drives, the energy and enthusiasm we have seen for the labor movement shows no sign of slowing down, and Chicago's unions are actively looking to organize and support the next union workplace.

Union popularity is at its highest point in more than 50 years, and now it is our job to turn that support into new union members. We're up for the task.

Plus, next summer, our city and its world-class workforce will be on display as we welcome the 2024 Democratic National Convention. Our city and its workers will take center stage during election season, and we are confident Americans will choose to continue to move forward until President Joe Biden's pro-worker leadership. We expect to continue to make gains at the federal, state, and local level electing pro-worker candidates who then pass pro-worker policies.

The working people of Chicago and Cook County are ready to show off for the entire nation. The solidarity that drives us to stand up for what's right also drives us to take pride in our city. We are the Chicago labor movement and we lead the fight for justice in the workplace. When we all come together, there's no limit to what we can accomplish.

United, we win!

• Bob Reiter is the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor, which represents 300 unions, who in turn represent approximately 500,000 working people in Chicago and Cook County.

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