Washington, D.C. – In honor of International Workers’ Day, Congressional Progressive Caucus Co-Chairs Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) and Keith Ellison (D-MN) released the following statement:

“We pride ourselves as Americans on our sense of fairness, our belief in hard work, and our respect for the needs of working families. These values compel us to fight for the right to bargain collectively for living wages, for benefits, and for a safe workplace.  The American labor movement arose in response to unsafe and abusive working conditions, and ultimately gave us the 40 hour work week. 

“As we saw recently in Bangladesh, companies like Wal-Mart can avoid responsibility for working conditions that cost lives. The prioritization of profits over workers’ welfare sparked the original labor movement. It may have the same effect in countries like Bangladesh. Until it does, more immediate action is needed to protect workers.

“We stand with Rep. George Miller, the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, in calling for Wal-Mart to join a worker safety agreement in order to avoid disasters like this. We urge them to sign binding commitments that its competitors will be inspired to follow. Corporate responsibility is an important part of building better lives for workers and establishing better wages for working people. Wal-Mart should lead the way.

“People who work full time should be paid a livable wage. On International Workers’ Day, let’s live up to our legacy as Americans and restore our sense of fairness, our belief in hard work, and our respect for working people to the forefront of our economic discussion.”


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