This Labor Day, we want to thank Washington's workers for their contributions to making our economy run and for all the things they do to strengthen our communities.
But as we enjoy family barbecues and end-of-summer functions, let's take a moment to think about what really strengthens our communities and look at some policies that will help workers share in the prosperity that they create.
While corporate Washington has rebounded from the Great Recession, the economy is still out of balance for many working families.
Watching my own 20-something children and their friends struggle in today's economy is unlike how things were when I left school to find work. Low-wage, part-time jobs are the norm today and increasingly jobs are being "Uberized" -- workers are being forced into independent contractor status -- where all the profits go to the employer and all the liabilities go to the worker.
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As student debt rises and the cost-of-living increases, more and more young adults are living back at home, as housing prices soar and the only other alternative is to double and triple up to afford apartment rents. This isn't right and doesn't have to be.
Working people are beginning to unite under the banner of Raising Wages because when prosperity is shared, we all do better. Raising the minimum wage, providing paid sick leave, providing equal pay for equal work, ending racial discrimination, ending wage theft, rebuilding our city and state's infrastructure, and creating a new renewable energy revolution all contribute to lifting up our families and strengthening our state.
We can attack inequality and the adverse impacts of climate change by placing a cap on carbon and investing carbon fees in retrofitting our homes, businesses and public buildings; by investing in our water infrastructure to prevent against drought, flooding and stormwater run-off; and by investing in renewable and sustainable energy sources.
And we can do this in such a way that we can create additional training and job opportunities for members of fence-line communities and fossil fuel workers who have suffered the most from carbon pollution.
While we have many economic obstacles to contend with, I am convinced by the optimism, spirit, and skills of Washington's workers that we can rebuild our communities and we can rebuild the American Dream for all workers, if we share in the prosperity that workers create. This is what Labor Day is really all about.
Jeff Johnson is president of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.