This revision of my 2011 prayer is inspired by my daughter Dana’s dedication to the Writers Guild of America strike. Dana is a member of the Art Directors Guild and a television writer. She’s creating strike ‘swag’ with the profits supporting the Entertainment Community Fund, which gave her the opportunity to meet Teamster Local 399 leader Lindsay Dougherty. I’ve updated this prayer by including some of the jobs that Teamsters represent, as well as the entertainment world. The original version appears in the Labor Day section of my book, This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers for a New Day.
Against Worker Exploitation, Revised
G-d of the laborer,
The trucker and the writer,
G-d of those who build and bake and fly and act,
Those beside our hospital beds and hauling our trash,
G-d of the migrant and the ensnared,
The voice of the misused echoes across the land,
Overworked and undervalued in the name of profit,
Our children and our parents,
Our brothers and our sisters,
Toil, economically chained to taskmasters,
By need, by poverty, or by misfortune.
Bound to unbearable hours
And cruel conditions
So that others may reap the rewards
Of their labor, their suffering, and their endurance.
Source of abundance and grace,
Creator of affluence and wealth,
You call upon us to stand in the name of justice and fairness,
To witness against the abuse of economic power,
To battle theft by dominance and clout,
To fight corporate neglect of human beings,
To speak out against exploitation.
Bless those who dedicate their lives to the voiceless and forgotten,
To expose callousness in field and factory,
And greed in boardrooms and negotiations.
Bless those who plead on behalf of workers
Before the seats of power,
Before governments and corporations.
Give them wisdom and skill, courage and determination.
May the work of their hands never falter
Nor despair deter them from this holy calling.
Blessed are You, G-d of All Being,
Who summons us to oppose oppression.
Revised by the author from “Against Worker Exploitation” © 2017 CCAR Press from This Grateful Heart: Psalms and Prayers For a New Day
Postscript: This prayer is from my series of prayers “Against…” The series includes: “Against Poverty,” “Against Human Trafficking” and “Against Tyranny.” They follow a common format and focus on tikkun olam, repairing the world. Other related prayers include: “Upon Losing Employment” and “For Work.” For Vayigash 5773, I posted a prayer for family healing called “Dear Brother, Dear Sister.” This prayer first appeared on this site on October 21, 2011.
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Photo Credit: Food Chain via Care 2