RWDSU International
Labor in the Pulpit

October 28, 2011

On Sunday Sept. 4, 2011 at 11:30 a.m., labor leader and president of Local 108 Charles N. Hall gave an address at St. Franklin John's Church for "Labor in the Pulpit." The speech is as follows:

"Labor Day is a time for those of us in the religious community and the labor movement not only to celebrate working people and their contributions to our society but to remember the struggles that workers endured to achieve the many benefits we now enjoy and take for granted: the eight-hour day, workers' compensation, overtime pay, pensions, health and safety laws, Social Security, Medicare, vacation days, unemployment compensation, family medical leave, a restriction on child labor, a minimum wage and the right to organize for collective bargaining. These benefits helped to humanize the workplace and to provide a safety net for millions.

"Labor Day is also a time to reflect on the current condition of workers in various industries, not only in the United States but throughout the world, who experience low wages, hazardous working conditions, discrimination, unfair treatment on the job, lack of health care benefits, the constant threat of unemployment and plant closure.

"Labor Day provides a unique opportunity for both the religious community and labor movement to rediscover their common bonds: social justice, equality, the dignity and respect of all people, economic justice and fair treatment in the workplace. It calls us to recommit ourselves to work together in partnership to be a witness to actualizing these values.

"Also at the Mass Day of Outrage, Jobs Rally on July 21, 2011 he spoke inspiring speech for I stand before you today to express my outrage, disappointment and disgust with what has happened in our great state of New Jersey, which had the distinction of being progressive. We have witnessed and experienced the following:

"An outright attack on the middle class, An attack on our unions, A mean-spirited budget that targets three areas that are vital to our community:

1. School Funding - Cuts $500 million from $1.1 billion in Democrats' budget.

2. Public Safety - Eliminates $50 million Democrats set aside for police and fire departments stung by layoffs and spikes in crime.

3. Working Poor - Stops attempt to restore $45 million earned income tax credit for the' working poor. (Source: Star Ledger)

"The middle class and those with the least have been forced into extreme sacrifices in their way of life and millionaires have not been asked to make any sacrifices.

"The Wall Street criminals are back in business as usual All of this when our communities are hurting the most and we have record unemployment (9.4% - NJ and 9.2% nationally) and home foreclosures.

"No job plan in sight. Our young people have no hope and are resorting to the streets and gangs as a way of life. We must come together as a community and help one another. We must focus on our young people in terms of education and job training.

"It is important that we all understand that yes, we are living through a bad economy, but the attack on the middle class and the lack of concern for the poor is not happenstance, it is by design. A calculated right-wing agenda is being played out here in New Jersey and across the country. In New Jersey and here in Essex County, certain Democratic ' powerbrokers have joined with and been used by Governor Christie to carry out the right-wing agenda. Many of our Democratic legislators have turned their back on our community. "The big picture brothers and sisters is to change blue states (democratic) to red states (republican) in an effort to defeat our great president, Obama. We must take our country, counties and cities back. We must join hands in our community and fight back."

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RWDSU Local 108, UFCW/CTC CLC | 1576 Springfield Avenue Maplewood, NJ 07040 | Phone: 973-762-7224