Each Labor Day, we take time off to honor the tremendous achievements and contributions of American workers. While this holiday typically marks the end of summer with barbecues and family gatherings, we cannot forget the history of this day and all that it signifies. Were it not for the labor movement, unions, and collective bargaining, many of us might be working 12 hour days alongside young children with 7 day work weeks and no rights for women or people of color.
The work continues today as we fight for a living wage, healthcare, and improved working conditions for workers at huge corporations like Amazon and Walmart. By keeping wages low, these companies essentially force their employees to collect public welfare and food stamps in order to get by. It’s time for these huge corporations to stop expecting the federal government to subsidize their workers and to compensate employees fairly.
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Today, I also want to honor the nearly 13,000 firefighters currently battling 22 major fires across the state of California. The Valley Fire here in San Diego County has now burned over 4,000 acres and is currently 0% contained as I write this message. These brave men and women put their lives on the line every day to help keep the rest of us safe, and today we stand in solidarity with them as they are working through the Labor Day holiday to address these terrible fires. Their sacrifices must not go unnoticed.
As a first responder and public health educator, I know that response times and resources are critical factors that can save lives during these types of emergencies. We can honor our firefighters by making sure that they have what they need to respond to the escalating challenges of our time. In Oceanside, we need more fire stations so that we can ensure it takes 5 minutes or less for the fire department to arrive. These crucial minutes will save lives and help prevent smaller fires from getting out of control. Given all our firefighters do to protect us, the least we can do is ensure they are protected and well-equipped for whatever might come their way.
We must also pay tribute to our agricultural workers, braving the record heat waves and smoke from the fires to ensure that food continues to make its way to our tables. We can honor the farm workers in our area by staying united with them to oppose the “North River Farms” project, which would get rid of much of our farm land and contribute to more urban sprawl. The developers are actually trying to sue to keep the people from voting on the project on the ballot this year! #TeamMajor says loudly & proudly that we will NOT allow our precious city to be overtaken by outsiders just looking to make a buck. We stand with farm workers and oppose this development.
Whether you are an educator, a healthcare worker, an essential worker, or contribute in some other profession, we honor you today and thank you for all that you do to make our world a better place, provide us with food to eat, keep us healthy, and protect us from harm. As we take time today to consider all that the labor movement has done for workers’ rights, let us be sure to thank all of the workers around us.
I’m running for Mayor of Oceanside to bring a new vision, public health expertise, and problem-solving to improve our city. I’m not accepting support from any special interests, PACs, or SuperPACs. In fact, I’m not soliciting contributions at all since the pandemic hit because I would prefer that those who are able to contribute to a local charity or food bank to help our residents through this crisis.