by Kevin Zapf Hanes | November 10, 2015
PITTSBURGH – Dozens of union leaders and members have joined U.S. Rep. Michael Doyle to launch a public awareness campaign about the need to strengthen Pittsburgh’s middle class, which has been shrinking along with unionized workplaces.
“Unions built this city,” Congressman Doyle declared at a press conference. “Good union jobs create a path to the middle class, and strong unions benefit and protect all workers.”
Jacquie Bowman-Porter, AFSCME Local 2924 member and a secretary at the Sci-Tech School in Oakland who also spoke at the press conference, credited her good union job for her personal success.
“Two years into my employment with the Pittsburgh Public Schools, I gave birth to my son, Julian,” she said. “I was a single mother. But with the great family support, and an excellent union job that provided me with great working hours and a great benefit package, I was able to spend quality time with my son, provide him with a stable childhood, and give him things that I was unable to have.”
Good union jobs are not just about negotiating a contract about wages and benefits, speakers noted. They also enable workers to advocate for a better workplace in which to do their jobs, pointed out public school teacher Anna Tarka DiNunzio. “When we have a strong teachers’ union, educators are able to advocate for their students,” she said. “We advocate for important issues that help our pupils get the education that they need and deserve.”
The campaign includes a mobile billboard truck that will circle Pittsburgh over the next several day to raise awareness that the economy is out-of-balance because big corporations have manipulated the system to their benefit at the expense of average working families.
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