September 24, 2015
By John Quinn, LaborPress USA
Trenton, New Jersey – More and more young union workers are becoming involved in the political process after realizing that the opportunity to earn a decent living and live a decent life depends on who they vote into office.
The New Jersey State AFL-CIO has been leading the effort to encourage young workers from every sector of the labor movement to pursue a progressive agenda through the state federation’s YES (Youth Engagement in Solidarity) groups forming through our Central Labor Councils around the state.
Bergen County YES hosted a well-attended workshop on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at IBEW Local 164 in Paramus. Young workers from a variety of unions discussed why American workers are worse off now than at any time since the Great Depression, how an economy that favors the wealthy few over the middle-class suffocates the American Dream and what they can do to rebalance our economic scales. Participating unions include: AFT, CWA, IBEW, Insulators, IUPAT, OPEIU, Plumbers and Sheet Metal Workers.
The young workers heard from several endorsed pro-labor candidates: Assemblymen Tim Eustace and Joe Lagana, both seeking re-election in District 38; Freeholder and union brother Tom Sullivan Jr., running for a full term on the Bergen County Freeholder Board; and union sister Lizette Parker, of CWA Local 1031, who is serving as the mayor of Teaneck.
A Common Sense Economics session led by Jennifer Higgins of AFT Local 1904 and Carli Meneses, president of IAM Local 2339N, affirmed the message that young workers have the power to improve the economy by becoming engaged in the political process. New Jersey State AFL-CIO COPE Director John Shea described labor walks and phone banking in a presentation that emphasized the importance of union members’ participating in the process.