Tonight, the world will watch as Obama accepts the Democratic Party's nomination and he'll do it in a union made suit. Today everyone will learn what we here at UNITE HERE already knew-- that if you bother to buy fair trade coffee your suit should be "fair trade" too---and by that I mean union made. You can find out where to get your own union-made clothes on the UNITE HERE website. And no, American Apparel isn't union made.
I know you've heard it before, buying union made matters because only in a unionized workplace can employees have the chance to negotiate with their bosses on equal footing so they can have family and community sustaining jobs. Unions invented the middle class and the country cannot survive as a democracy without a stable middle class. But in the face of a Republican party that has never met a worker they didn't want to sell out to a megacorp we need to hold our leaders accountable: do they wear their values or do they wear sweat-shop threads?
Watch the classic "Look for the Union Label" TV ad from UNITE HERE's predecessor International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union. Aren't like half the outfits in that 1978 ad back in fashion? I love it! I think I have that shirt she's holding up.
And supporting good wages, respect at the workplace and the kind of good jobs that keep a country healthy never go out of fashion. What country would set up a trade policy to undermine the jobs of its own residents?! Which is one more reason to vote for Obama: he has said that he will renegotiate NAFTA to protect American jobs. Because its bad for the economy when workers don't earn enough money to survive so they have to live off debt. I mean who could have guessed that one, right?
So tonight when you watch Obama make history remember that he's not just here for himself or for the Democratic Party, he's there for UNITE HERE activist Gloria Craven (who spoke at the convention Tuesday. Barack Obama is working America's candidate.
And stay tuned for a new version of the classic "Look for the Union Label" song for the 21st century.
To learn more about human rights in the clothing industry go to Behind the Label. org