Former Alaska U.S. Senator Mark Begich greets and speaks to Juneau residents interested in his campaign for governor at the IBEW Local 1547 Union office on Thursday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Former Alaska U.S. Senator Mark Begich greets and speaks to Juneau residents interested in his campaign for governor at the IBEW Local 1547 Union office on Thursday, June 29, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Our labor rights are on the line

During the Great Depression, 15 million Americans were unemployed and many of the few who did have jobs were exposed to horrific working conditions.

It was during this time that the labor unions began to gain strength as the American worker realized the importance of having representation against the corporations who were only concerned about their bottom line, at the expense of their employees.

Labor unions have been present in the United States since the birth of our nation and have been responsible for developing acceptable workplace standards in the U.S. ever since.

We can thank the unions for helping to establish the minimum wage, overtime pay, and putting child labor laws in place to protect our children. They also fought for the creation of laws to protect an employee’s right to strike and boycott their employers due to unacceptable working conditions.

Labor unions have been under attack for decades by corporate-friendly entities on a mission to erode the rights of the American worker.

The employees who benefit from unions through the negotiation of their wages, retirement and other aspects of their employment agreements would be wise to strongly support their union.

This latest decision by the Supreme Court should be a reminder to all of us that our labor rights are on the line and that line keeps getting thinner.

Alaskans are a smart and resourceful bunch who tend to stand together against outside influence and now is the time, more than ever, for us to be united!

Ian Martin,


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