Our Labor Day message
On Labor Day, in addition to a holiday, we reflect upon the past workers who made this country great. All of us in this law firm attributes a large part of our success to the strong work ethic we learned from those who came before us in our families. We learned from our families’ contributions to the American labor movement as well as the hard-working American laborers and the strong work ethic of immigrants who helped this country with a tradition of excellence and work.
Our entire firm has strong union backing. Cynthia Clark’s father, Gerald Hawkins was an American Airlines employee and union member for 32 years. He served in the leadership of this AFL-CIO affiliate. Both of Courtenay Sperry’s grandfathers were members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, her grandfather Alfonso Sperry for 65 years. Mary Young’s husband is a member of the International Union of Elevator Contractors. We all have extended families, both this generation and past generations.
Paula Peters is particularly proud of her heritage with union organizers in the early labor movement. John Lewis, her great-grandfather on her Mom’s side was an organizer of the United Mine Workers in Western Pennsylvania. They and the others faced economic ruin, bodily injury, and death at the hands of the mine owners. The mining companies owned all of the houses (along with outhouses) as well as the only store in town. Everything was deducted from their pay so they had very little cash. Her grandfather on her Dad’s side was a miner both before and after the union. He told stories of being like an indentured servant to the mining companies. The union negotiated not only for higher pay and benefits but also for safe working conditions in a business that lost hundreds to mining accidents. One of the benefits eventually was a payment to widows for the miner’s death from black lung, a benefit that Paula Peters’ paternal grandmother received as her grandfather died from black lung.