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The State of Our Union: AFSCME Strong!

by Clyde Weiss  |  January 13, 2016

The State of Our Union: AFSCME Strong! President Obama delivers his final State of the Union address.

In his State of the Union speech, President Obama emphasized the importance of unions in building a strong economy. “Middle-class families,” he declared, “are not going to feel more secure because we allowed attacks on collective bargaining to go unanswered.” 

Those words, though brief, tell volumes about the importance of strong unions in building the middle class and why we need to stand strong in the face of such attacks coming from Wall Street and corporate interests that are more concerned, as President Obama noted, about their quarterly earnings than improving the wages of hard-working people who help them make those profits. 

The most recent of these attacks on workers’ rights was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court this week by a corporate-backed group determined to stack the decks on behalf of the wealthy.

This case, called Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association, is aimed specifically at public employees nationwide who work every day to improve their communities. They are teachers, fire fighters, police officers, emergency personnel and people who ensure that our neighborhoods are clean and safe. Many of them are members of AFSCME, and they will not let these attacks against their collective bargaining rights go unchallenged.

President Obama ended his speech by stating, “I stand here, as confident as I have ever been, that the state of our Union is strong.” We agree, and also add that the state of our union is strong as well – AFSCME Strong.

AFSCME Strong is more than a slogan. It’s who we are, and reflects the state of our union. We are proving it every day as AFSCME members throughout the nation meet one-on-one with their co-workers, building strength in the workplace. Cab drivers in Illinois are showing that they are AFSCME Strong. Ohio child care attendant Stephanie Wiley is demonstrating she is too. So are many others, nationwide.

More than 200,000 workers joined AFSCME last year, alone, and more continue to join every day, challenging efforts by the anti-union Koch brothers and other groups supported by their money to weaken workers’ rights, including the right to collective bargaining, which has helped keep workers in the middle class, helping our nation grow.

Workers are joining AFSCME because they understand that together, we all stand AFSCME Strong. The state of our nation is strong when the middle class is strong, and the state of our union is strong because our members are strong. Learn more here.

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