The American labor movement is responsible for many things we take for granted—the weekend, the 40-hour work week and anti-child labor laws to name a few.
Today, our movement is reinvigorated and working for other profoundly important things: securing wages and benefits that working families deserve and retirees earned, the continued existence of the middle class, and respect and dignity for all working people. I’m proud that the Teamsters Union is at the forefront of this effort.
But make no mistake, working families are still being attacked and scapegoated. Corporate-backed politicians have mounted the most vicious anti-union attacks in memory. The labor movement, and the Teamsters Union in particular, is alive and well and is still forcing change.
Labor is behind the effort to protect the retirement security of Americans who worked hard their entire lives in order to retire comfortably. Labor is behind the push to improve our nation’s infrastructure. Labor is behind the movement to stop bad trade deals.
On this Labor Day, I ask our lawmakers to remember why states and Congress decided to honor workers in the first place. I also ask them to remember why we elected them: to get things done, for the people they represent, not for their big donors. Democratic, Republican or independent, whatever party lawmakers belong to, they should all adhere to the motto, “Government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
There is something that lawmakers will pay more attention to than money: votes. Unions will never be able to outspend rich companies, but we can deliver votes to lawmakers who will work hard for working Americans.
This Labor Day, I hope all Americans remember that the hard work and sacrifice of working men and women made this country great. And I hope all working men and women remember that if we speak with one great and powerful voice, how much more we can achieve.