Democrats and Organized Labor: How we share common values

Democrats and Organized Labor: How we share common values

by Kitty Kennedy, PC LD3 PCT21 |kkennedy404@gmail.com

VP Arizona Alliance for Retired Americans (AARA) representing the Arizona AFL-CIO

As we enjoy the first Monday in September, Labor Day, let me help you reflect on what we Democrats have in common with organized labor by sharing three concepts that may best embody the links between us — and why we choose to work together.

First, Democrats and Labor Unions truly put everything into the life values that we share. Not the catchy euphemisms that our political competitors use, but genuine ideals that we transform into actions and produce quality outcomes for such as children’s health care, financial security for seniors, workplace safety, family livable wages, sustainable lifestyles — and the list goes on and on for housing, education and more. We hold the personal, independent enjoyment of work and living as the right for each person, and we put everything into making it happen.

Second, we Democrats and those of us in organized labor know hard work, doing the hard jobs by committing to a plan and pushing up our sleeves and getting it done. Whether it’s our paid employment or our volunteering, we keep our eyes on the “deliverables,” those promised outcomes we make to ensure we succeed. Those who know me also know my favorite phrase, “Don’t confuse effort with results.” Truly, most of what we mutually fight for takes enormous efforts – but we stop at checkpoints and make sure those efforts will ensure success. We Democrats (and those in Labor) express so many critical observations of ourselves, it becomes quick to assess the wrong or right path to the desired end. And, by the way, we Democrats and labor ‘brothers and sisters’ also have in common those much-needed moments of stopping and celebrating our victories. 

Lastly, the spirit that we Democrats and Labor Unions share is framed in one word: tenacity. Never giving up. I love to tell the story of how the Arizona AFL-CIO Executive Director Fred Yamashita continued for almost a full decade to organize a union for the workers at Sky Harbor Airport. Each time Fred came close to negotiating a contract, the players changed, and he started over again. But he delivered on his promises of better wages and working conditions. He never gave up!

Labor Day means the celebration of the dignity of work. Democrats and Labor Unions share the beliefs that working as community partners we can become the society that we each want to live in.

Skip to content