|Spencer Hayes, a 17-year Delta Flight Attendant, went to Washington, DC to participate in the White House Summit on Worker Voice.|
Spencer Hayes knows firsthand that union organizing is a selfless job. That’s why Hayes, a Delta Flight Attendant working toward an IAM contract for himself and 20,000 coworkers at the carrier, says he’s reenergized after a workers’ rights summit held at the White House.
“As an organizer you can get lonely at times,” said Hayes. “But this event actually puts the energy back into the process of getting back out there and spreading the facts as to why we are organizing and why organizing is so important for the future and our children.”
The summit, an all-day affair held at the White House, is an effort by the Obama Administration to start a conversation with workers, unions, employers, organizers and other stakeholders on how to energize a new generation of American workers to come together and recognize the potential of having a voice at work.
Worker after worker described the value of union representation and whether they currently have a union contract or not. Having the ability to determine their socio-economic futures via collective bargaining was a common theme.
“Workers need a voice,” said Obama, who worked with unions as a young organizer in Chicago. “Workers need the kind of leverage that guarantees middle class security. This is true now more than ever during this time of rapid economic change.”
The participants heard from Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Labor Secretary Tom Perez, among others. There were two breakout sessions in which participants shared experiences and ideas, a panel discussion moderated by Secretary Perez and a town hall meeting with Obama.