Secretary of Labor ‘Pitches’ for Workers’ Rights (7/22)

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On Friday, July 18, U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the eighth annual “Labor Night at the Nats” Washington Nationals baseball game. But Perez was there to pitch much more than baseballs. He used the opportunity to recognize the nearly 6,000 union members – some of whom were in attendance – who participated in an annual fundraiser co-sponsored by the Metro Washington Labor Council and the Northern Virginia Area Labor Federation.


That fundraiser benefits the Metro Council’s Community Services Agency’s Emergency Assistance Fund.


The labor secretary’s message focused on family. Before the game, he spent time with his children on the field, meeting players and chatting before returning to his seat among the crowd that included union members and their families. He was quoted as saying that baseball “is about being able to spend time with your family.”


He also referenced Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets when he said, “[Murphy] was able to take time off for the most important day of his life, the birth of his child. There are a lot of people who can’t afford to do that. He had the ability to do that because his bargaining agreement said that you can take paid leave. That’s a poignant reminder of a right that baseball players have earned through collective bargaining that so many people don’t have because they don’t have a union contract.”


Daniel Duncan, president of the Northern Virginia Area Labor Federation and executive secretary-treasurer of the Maritime Trades Department, AFL-CIO, was there to present Perez with a “Made-in-the-USA” Washington Nationals baseball cap, as was Metro Washington Council President Jos Williams.


Williams said, “It was a great night at the ballpark, made even more memorable by having Tom join us.”


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