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Our Labor Day is diverse in message but united in meaning

Friday, September 2, 2016

Labor Day which we all know is a national holiday, signals the end of summer and the beginning of fall, the start of the school year, football season and a big shopping weekend. But Labor Day is so much more than all of that it's a day to remember the struggles of the past and to celebrate the greatest workforce in history, the American workforce. Labor Day is a day to remember those who came before us, who sacrificed so that workers can enjoy the benefits of the labor movement that we have today. Men, women and children suffered great hardships throughout the labor movement. Many of the early trade Unionists were beaten for speaking up while others gave their lives demanding fair wages, dignity and respect on the job.

We are just as committed today as our predecessors. Our labor movement is about giving a voice to those who have no voice. It's about giving strength to the weak, courage to the meek and hope to those who have no hope. It's about making our communities better, fairer, safer and ensuring that the next generation has a better life with opportunities for all to reach their greatest potential.

We have made significant gains in recent years-a Paid Family Leave Program, a $15 minimum wage, improvements in unemployment compensation, and better funding for our schools.  We must remain vigilant however, in our efforts to achieve an economy that works for all working people.

We must focus on the creation of good paying jobs.  As Long Island changes and grows, we will ask our community partners to help us redefine economic development.  Together we must insist on union jobs, which will bring career opportunities and prosperity back to our local communities.  We have worked hard with the Nassau-Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council to create Opportunities Long Island, a pre-apprenticeship preparation program that will insure our communities possess the skills and training to capitalize on the momentous opportunities before us.

So as you enjoy this holiday, thank the person who is serving you at the restaurant, checking your groceries out at the store, protecting you on the street, caring for you when you are ill and teaching your children and grandchildren and trust that the facilities you use were built by a highly skilled workforce; for these people are your neighbors, your friends and these people are the American Labor Movement.

Happy Labor Day!