Remembering Our Labor Heroes this Labor Day

By Rich Kline, Union Label and Service Trades Department, AFL-CIO Ah, Labor Day. Picnics and parades, sales and vacations, what more could one ask for to celebrate the end of summer. Only, that isn’t what Labor Day is about. Labor Day, which originated in the late 19th century is the “workingman’s holiday.” It should be a time to honor the American workers and remember those who came before us and forged a path to prosperity. A time to remember those brave soles who fought for fair wages and working conditions during a time fraught violence and oppression. In 1883 railroad workers fought back against the Pullman Railroad Car Company and under the leadership of American Railway Union President Eugene Debs, who called for a full-scale national strike after Pullman cut wages by 25 percent, froze transportation at twenty railroads in 27 states. More than 30 people died and Debs was arrested in Chicago when federal troops intervened and broke the strike. That event or the one led by a New York City carpenter named Peter McGuire, where in 1882, after working many long hours under poor conditions, McGuire rallied 100,000 workers to go on strike. These events are the ones we should strive to remember this Labor Day. We don’t even have to look that far back in history to find examples of the bravery of workers fighting back in America. More recently we can look at Kellogg workers who were locked out of their jobs for nine-months. Faced with financial uncertainty the workers held strong and were vindicated by a federal judge last month and allowed to return...

Make It In America Plan Will Help Workers Access Jobs and Opportunity

By Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, House Democratic Whip The American economy grew significantly after the Second World War and brought wide-ranging opportunity to our workers and their families. At the center of it all was a strong manufacturing sector that built the products that made our world run, and it was American workers who produced them and earned a decent living while doing so. After a painful manufacturing decline in recent years, our manufacturing sector is back, driven by innovation and advanced technologies, and it carries the potential for a significant increase in high-skill, high-wage jobs for a new generation of American workers. Traditionally, manufacturing jobs have opened doors of opportunity that help workers and their families secure a place in America’s middle class. They are the jobs that make the American Dream a reality– jobs that come with pay and benefits that support affordable, quality health care, homeownership, access to higher education, and savings for a comfortable retirement. But as those jobs declined, it became harder for working families to access these opportunities and rise up into the middle class. We need a new manufacturing renaissance, and the best way to achieve it is by investing in the tools proven to help innovators and entrepreneurs launch and expand businesses that make cutting-edge products in America once again. Over the past four years, 646,000 manufacturing jobs have been created as more and more businesses realize the benefits to locating their facilities here and hiring skilled U.S. workers. But that must be only the beginning. Over the past four years, I’ve been proud to lead an effort in Congress that...

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