On December 10, 1948, you acknowledged certain human rights with the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. These rights include “the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment” and “the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for [one]self and [one’s] family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection” (article 23); “the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay” (article 24); and “the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of [humans], including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond [a person’s] control” (article 25).
You have affirmed your commitment to these rights. As a signatory to the treaty of the United Nations, through article VI of the United States Constitution, and through the ninth amendment‘s affirmation of unenumerated rights, these rights are part and parcel of the highest law of the land.
I am not interested in your excuses. You have spent lavishly on the military and on wars which in the modern era inherently violate the rights of civilians and which lead only to more war. You have bailed out the wealthy. You have found plenty of money for this.
In the course of my life, I have found many jobs that do not pay rent, where bosses revel in the infinite replaceability of workers, where workers must pay for the privilege of working. I have been told that two years is now “long term employment.” I have been told that I must continuously market myself to employers, in other words that employers should have all the power over my ability to earn a living, and that I should have none.
I want to show you a couple things. The first is my bachelor’s degree:
The second is my master’s degree:
I’m fifty years old. I’ve earned degrees in university and in the school of hard knocks. I’ve paid my dues.
I am not interested in your excuses. I am interested in a good-paying job where I am accorded the dignity to which you have acknowledged I am entitled. I am interested in my human rights.