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For Labor Day: A state budget worthy of NC workers and their families

North Carolinians across race, place, and background know our worth and the true value of our work.

Our children are worth the quality public education that sets them up for future success and our society up for strong leaders. Our families are worth safe water to drink, clean air to breathe, and resilience in the face of extreme heat and weather. Our communities — no matter their proximity to Raleigh, Durham, or Charlotte — are worth good jobs for all and industries that raise standards of living for generations.

Imagine if North Carolina’s leadership also recognized our worth by using the wealth our work creates to make sure that people from Wilson to Waynesville have the freedom to build a good life.

Instead, the leadership of the NC General Assembly’s support for workers has been all rhetoric and no action. For more than a decade, NC leaders have worked to redirect resources from our communities to the pockets of profitable corporations and the wealthiest few, and with this year’s budget they seek to do so again.

This Labor Day, we need to come together to demand our elected leaders put forward a budget for workers and their families. 

We are worth a state budget that makes child care affordable and accessible to all working families.

We are worth a state budget that makes sure public servants — those working to process unemployment insurance claims, monitor our air and water, and administer and teach in our public schools — are paid a competitive wage worthy of their work.

We are worth a state budget that would make workforce training available in every community and ensure that those workers who have lost jobs can connect to it easily and with dignity.

We are worth legislative leaders who do their part and spend less time negotiating how much they should cut income taxes for the wealthiest and profitable corporations and more time providing the things that make an affordable, high quality of life possible for all of us.

As legislative leaders reach the final stages of negotiation over the budget that they will bring forward to the full body, we urge them to listen to the states’ workers and working families.

Enough engaging in low-road economic development that would expand gambling options while communities don’t have grocery stores or child-care providers. Enough playing games with people’s lives by making the expansion of Medicaid and health care access for hundreds of thousands dependent on agreement to a budget with deep income tax cuts for the wealthy few.

There is still time for a state budget that recognizes the worth of workers and provides the things that give every North Carolinian — Black, white or brown — the freedom to thrive and build a good life.

We can come together this Labor Day and demand Senator Berger and Speaker Moore put forward a budget that truly values hard work and chooses workers over rich corporations and the wealthiest few.

North Carolinians know we are worth it.