HAPPENING IN YOUR UNION
Trumka on Mandela's Passing: He 'Was a Gentle, Yet Determined, Man Who Fought for His Convictions'
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responds to the news of former South African President Nelson Mandela's passing this evening:
President Nelson Mandela gave more than 60 years of his life fighting for the rights of South Africans and all of humanity. He was a gentle yet determined man who fought for his convictions. In 1964, Nelson Mandela arrived on Robben Island, where he would spend 18 years confined to a small cell, forced to do hard labor in a quarry. Despite these hardships, Mandela never wavered in his commitment to social and economic justice for the people of South Africa and the world.
He told the court that sentenced him, "I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal for which I hope to live, and to see realized. But my Lord, if it needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die." His quiet dignity earned respect for him and his cause across the globe. He once said, “After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.”
During his visit to the United States in 1990, Mandela spoke to the AFL-CIO and called on the labor movement to use its history of empowering America’s workers as a model for South African workers. We in the labor movement must take Mandela’s words and continue to strive for equality and fairness for all working people around the globe. On behalf of AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler and AFL-CIO Executive Vice President Tefere Gebre, the AFL-CIO Executive Council and the 12 million working men and women of the AFL-CIO, we extend our deepest condolences to Nelson Mandela's family, his colleagues and the people of South Africa.
Wishing All a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah
As we join together with our families this week to celebrate Thanksgiving and kick-off the holiday season with the first night of Hanukkah, we wanted to wish everyone good health and happiness. This was an historic and successful year for working families across our state, and all of your hard work deserves some quality rest and relaxation with friends and family.
For those who will begin their shopping for the holiday season this week, we encourage you to visit www.aflcio.org/MadeInAmericaHolidayGifts which contains a thorough list of union-made holiday gifts for you to browse. The website www.labor411.org is also a great resource for your shopping needs.
We all understand the importance of shopping union during the holidays, but it is especially important this year to shop union-made because businesses are making it harder than ever before for workers to enjoy the holidays with their families. Walmart and many other retailers have taken mistreatment to the next level. Not only are they forcing their employees to work during the Thanksgiving holiday, but the wages they pay are so low that families cannot even afford to provide a basic Thanksgiving dinner. This fact was made crystal clear after an Ohio Walmart outrageously decided to set up a Thanksgiving food drive for its workers this year.
The corporate takeover of Thanksgiving is an assault on our middle class family values and it is up to us as consumers to fight back. Therefore, this Black Friday the New Jersey State AFL-CIO will join with Walmart workers, union members, community partners, UFCW locals, and the OUR Walmart coalition in Secaucus to demand that companies like Walmart pay employees a fair wage and respect the right of workers to exercise their voice on the job.
Once again, thank you for all of your hard work this year. Your efforts to raise the standard of living for all workers in our state exemplify both the ongoing mission of the labor movement and the true sense of Thanksgiving. May your holidays be pleasant and safe.
Charles Wowkanech, NJ AFL-CIO President
Laurel Brennan, NJ AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer
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