Many of us will enjoy a day off for the Labor Day holiday weekend, but let’s also remember, and act upon, the true meaning of the holiday.
Labor Day was instituted in the United States and in Canada in response to the struggle and strife of working people. In the more than 100 years since the holiday was first celebrated, men and women have continued to risk their livelihoods and even their lives in the fight for unions and for economic justice. And by doing so, union workers created the largest middle class in the history of mankind.
While working people today are more likely to be attacked by anti-union politicians and corporate lawyers than by soldiers with guns, the threat to both unions and the middle class is real. Attacks have come from all directions: with opposition to the creation of good family-supporting energy jobs, through passage of so-called “right to work” laws, with attempts to deny the right to negotiate in the public sector, and with attacks on the prevailing wages which are so crucial to construction workers.
The result of this continuing war is a shrinking middle class and record income inequality. That means we have to fight to protect and expand upon all that our union and the labor movement has accomplished.
In the coming months and year we must actively support elected officials and legislation that protects and strengthens unions. We must champion policy that rebuilds our roads, bridges and energy systems. We must be loud and proud in our commitment to immigration reform. We must stand firm against attempts to dismantle workers’ rights, and we must continue to stand for the bedrock principal of the labor movement: solidarity and equality for all and bigotry toward none.
In the weeks that follow, let’s honor our work, our history and that of the entire labor movement with actions and deeds that commemorate what the holiday stands for.
No one deserves to be recognized on Labor Day more than the strong, proud and united men and women who day-in and day-out build our nations – the men and women of LIUNA. On behalf of the entire LIUNA General Executive Board, I wish each of you and your families a happy Labor Day.
With kind regards, I am