Latrelle Jackson (far left) marches with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on August 18, 2022 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for SEIU) Pennsylvania Essential Workers Call For Unions For All With Attorney General Josh Shapiro
Latrelle Jackson (far left) marches with Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro on August 18, 2022 in Philadelphia. (Photo by Dave Kotinsky/Getty Images for SEIU)

Latrelle Jackson is one of many Pennsylvanians working two jobs to make ends meet. In this op-ed, he explains why Pennsylvania workers need Josh Shapiro fighting for them in Harrisburg.

Being part of a union feels like an extension to your family, one that has your back, listens to you, and wants to see you succeed. This November, we’re coming together to make sure that nobody messes with our family, and we will elect Josh Shapiro as our next governor of Pennsylvania. 

The stakes for worker and union rights couldn’t be higher, and Josh Shapiro is prepared to protect and defend our rights. We are a strong, powerful force of 80,000+ SEIU members in Pennsylvania. When we fight together, and when we vote together, we win together.  

I’m voting for Josh Shapiro because he has a proven record of defending worker rights and wants to continue to protect and expand those rights. As Pennsylvania’s attorney general, he recovered more than $20 million last year on behalf of construction workers who were victims of wage theft. I had the opportunity to stand with Josh Shapiro at a rally, where I spoke about my experience with an employer who tried to discourage me from joining a union. I know that Josh Shapiro will stand with me and fight for my right to unionize when he is elected governor in November. 

His opponent, far-right state Sen. Doug Mastriano, voted against raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania from $7.25 an hour to $9.50 an hour.  Not only is he against raising wage standards for working people, but he plans to turn Pennsylvania into a right to work state if elected. This would mean that workers like me would no longer have the protections of strong unions, and our ability to organize and bargain for fair wages would be greatly diminished. 

I work two jobs in order to make ends meet—a common story among workers in Philadelphia and countless other cities across the country. This is another reason why unions are crucial for working people. With the strength of hundreds of thousands of workers in a union, we are able to fight for the rights, wages, and benefits that we deserve. 

I am supporting candidates who believe in unions so that companies are held accountable for the lack of respect and dignity with which they treat their workers. If we come together this November, we can elect people up and down the ballot who will protect our rights–people committed to raising wages, improving benefits, and ensuring that workers are treated fairly by their employers. 

We have the opportunity to come together and use our votes as our most powerful tool and ensure that we have allies in our elected officials. Because when we vote together and when we fight together, we win together. Josh Shapiro has my vote on November 8th. 

Latrelle Jackson lives in Philadelphia.