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All workers benefit from unions’ fight

I have never understood the prevalence of anti-union sentiments in this country, especially among so many of the working poor.

It was less than 100 years ago that 12-year-old girls entered the textile mills of New England to work 12-hour days, up to seven days a week, for barely a subsistence wage. Their life expectancy was 13 additional years. Many Americans fought and died to change that, not in some foreign land, but in places like Chicago’s Haymarket Square, the steel mills of Pennsylvania, the mines of West Virginia and Colorado, etc.

Things most of us take for granted today – the eight-hour work day as standard, paid vacations, holidays and sick leave, protections like workers’ compensation, disability, unemployment and health insurance, a minimum wage and child labor laws – were fought for and won by the American labor movement. Did you think that these benefits were simply granted by the generosity of employers or your benevolent government?

I have never been a member of a labor union, but I recognize that I have greatly benefited from their actions. A rising tide really can lift all boats.

George Rehac

Cheektowaga