A Thanksgiving message of economic fairness for working families
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After a bitter election season that divided our country, the men and women of the United Food and Commercial Workers union are proud of the role we play during the one holiday that brings America together: Thanksgiving.

As America’s retail worker union, our members produce and process many of the items you’ll see on your Thanksgiving table today, including turkeys, stuffing, bread, desserts, and drinks.

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They work in grocery stores, preparing dinners for families across the country, and in retail stores, selling holiday sweaters and gifts for everyone on your list. It’s fair to say that our members make the holidays happen, and we are extremely proud of that. 

Now, much has been made about what this election means for hard-working families and this nation we all love. It is our sincere hope that the divisiveness of campaign politics will now be put aside, and that everyone recognizes the need and opportunity to bring this divided country together now and in the years ahead. This begins with recognizing the incredible sacrifices our union family — and so many union families — make every single day. 

Through hard work and dedication, our 1.3 million members help millions of Americans celebrate the special moments in their lives. Our members are also able to earn a better life for their families with the help of valuable contracts that honor their hard work and dedication. By being part of a union family and standing together, our members earn better wages, benefits and schedules.

Their training and devotion offer real value to employers and the customers they serve. And when they work on holidays, like Thanksgiving, it is not under threat or duress, but with the realization that such sacrifice deserves something extra, like holiday pay.

Sadly, there are those in the political world and corporate America who may see the right to earn a better life, or to spend time with family even on one of our most sacred holidays, as a threat to their businesses. Truth be told, such thinking is a symptom of what is so fundamentally wrong and unfair in America’s economy.

Over the last 16 years, as inequality has grown and wages have stagnated, the wealthiest few have become wealthier. At a time when America needs good jobs, it is nonunion companies like Walmart that buy more Chinese goods than any other company in this nation. They even try to fool our elected leaders into thinking they care about creating American jobs.

The fact is that millions of hard-working Americans, especially those in retail, endure low wages, schedules that make it impossible to go to school or take care of a family, and the risk that one sickness or injury will send them to financial ruin because of their lack of health benefits. 

America’s workers and families deserve better.

So as you sit down with your loved ones, and no doubt enjoy meals brought to you from the hands of our amazing union members, we urge you to remember that economic inequality, mistreatment, injustice, discrimination, and exploitation take no holiday. These incredible hard-working men and women deserve a better life, and the opportunity to join together with our union family or any other to achieve it. 

Because if there is one thing we must all agree on, it is that no one in America should have to struggle alone — especially on days like Thanksgiving.

Marc Perrone is the president of the 1.3 million member United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.


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