With today’s Moral Monday focusing on, among other things, the rights of workers in North Carolina, be sure to check out this essay from Saturday’s Raleigh News & Observer by NC AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer MaryBe McMillan. As McMillan notes:
“At what cost to the residents of this state do our lawmakers and our governor do the bidding of organized greed? A devastating coal ash spill fouls our waterways, and fracking threatens our water supply. Children as young as 12 work our tobacco fields. Jobless North Carolinians struggle to make ends meet on reduced and inadequate unemployment benefits. Teachers work without pay raises, textbooks and teaching assistants. Children, the aged and the disabled are being kicked off Medicaid while hundreds of thousands are left to get sick and die, caught up in a Medicaid blockade of lawmakers’ own making. Citizens are made to overcome obstacles in exercising their right to vote. Even our right to vote is under attack. If we stand by and do nothing, we are signing off on this moral bankruptcy.
Moral Monday supporters are trying to make sure we pull North Carolina out of this moral bankruptcy by demanding that the General Assembly start governing, as our state constitution demands, “for the good of the whole” and not just the privileged few. Instead of stacking the deck in favor of those with the most political clout, we need to reward hard work and provide opportunity for everyone to pursue their own happiness.
As we focus this upcoming Moral Monday protest on working men and women, let’s keep in mind how labor unions have been a central force for fighting economic inequality and creating the middle class in the United States. Workers’ rights are civil rights, and unions have been an effective tool in advocating for both. Unions in North Carolina and across the South have long been faithful to Douglass’ vision of human freedom by striving toward equality and opportunity as engines of progress created through struggle.”