Fox News: Rev. William J. Barber, II, Sen. Sherrod Brown: Why workers will decide the 2020 election

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Fox News: Rev. William J. Barber, II, Sen. Sherrod Brown: Why workers will decide the 2020 election

We are a preacher and a public servant and we know that if work isn’t valued, Americans can’t earn their way to a better life for their families


In the Bible, we read that humankind was created in the image of God, and from that creation story follows the human impulse to create and to labor – whether as a welder or a teacher, whether to write poetry or to cook dinner for our families. We all are trying to be productive for our families and our communities and our country. Work unites all of us.

The fundamental dignity of work is something all people of faiths understand, and it has been woven throughout the teachings of many faiths for centuries.

Writing in the Rerum Novarum in 1891, Leo XIII – known to many as the Labor Pope – exhorted employers “not to look upon their work people as their bondsmen, but to respect in every man his dignity as a person ennobled by Christian character.”

More than a century later, Pope Francis told union workers in Italy that “Labour is the most common form of cooperation that humanity has generated in its history. Work is a form of civil love.”

Now more than ever we know how much our daily lives depend upon essential workers. But we have failed to give essential workers the basic necessities essential to their survival.

We have failed because corporate interests have lobbied Senate leadership to sit on bills that have passed the House to raise the minimum wage, guarantee essential workers the protection they need, and get emergency relief to families, cities and states to prevent eviction, hunger, and bankruptcy.

Despite a long track record of cheating contractors and harassing employees, Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on the promise to stand for American workers.

To communities that have watched good-paying manufacturing jobs vanish, Trump offered both nostalgia for times when the local economy was stronger and divisive narratives about how immigrants and other countries were to blame.

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