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Stevens County Times Editorial: Labor Day and unions

It seems popular in some circles to villify labor unions these days. The state Legislature in Iowa passed legislation to effectively, destroy collective bargaining rights for teachers, police officers and similar public employee groups with unions. The Wisconsin Legislature passed similar legislation a few years ago.

Thankfully, some school district and other governmental bodies in Iowa have chosen to continue to work with already created unions.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Janus v. AFSCME that nonunion workers cannot be forced to pay fees to public employee unions. Unions, at their core, negotiate for wages, health insurance and other benefits on behalf of all employees, which means union and nonunion employees can gain from the union's work. But should someone be forced to pay union dues? Yet, should a nonunion employee reap the benefits from union work?

But we aren't going to debate the pros and cons of unions in this editorial. Instead will we remind readers of a few of the benefits American workers have received from unions. The five day work week, safe working conditions in meat packing plants, auto factories and other industries and health insurance are just three of the benefits many American workers receive now because of the work of labor unions.

And this weekend, we will celebrate Labor Day on Monday, Sept. 3. This three-day weekend is brought to you by unions.

Again, unions have their pros and cons, but as many of us get a day off on Sept. 3, it is a good idea to remember the pros.

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