Greetings, Sisters & Brothers,
September means it is time for one of the most important observances for the labor movement. Happy Labor Day!
For more than 130 years, Labor Day has been celebrated as a testament to what working people have done and will continue to do to build, maintain, protect and advance our country. The first known Labor Day parade happened in New York City on September 5, 1882, organized by the Central Labor Union, so the strong connection of the labor movement to Labor Day cannot be overlooked. The accomplishments of labor unions in advancing working people throughout history is always on display as we march in parades and attend celebrations. It is just one place to demonstrate the power and influence we’ve built throughout the history of this country.
That doesn’t mean that we’re done yet, not by any means. We see new and continued attacks on workers and members every day. Rich, greedy people in this country seek to get even richer on the backs of working people by taking more and more, while attempting to divide us as much as they can.
That’s why as we look back at the history of Labor Day and celebrate this year, we can’t forget that we are part of the great labor movement. At any time, we can and should demonstrate our power and influence by sticking together and fighting for what we know we deserve, for what we know is right.
Whether we’re fighting for the rights of an individual member who has been mistreated, a contract that affects many of us or working to elect a political candidate who will best represent us, it’s important for us to stand together.
We must constantly remind our opponents that we were powerful enough to create a national holiday and we were powerful enough to enact laws governing workplaces and safety and health. We are still every bit as powerful as we once were, as evidenced by the recent organizing efforts in large companies like Amazon and Starbucks.
We’re powerful enough to get officials elected at every level of government when we all agree to work together. We’re powerful enough to get the respect and dignity that we deserve when we all come together and fight together. The rest of the country recognizes this, too, as the highest percentage of Americans since 1965 approve of labor unions. That right there is power.
This Labor Day, let’s march in parades and participate in celebrations while showing our union pride. Let’s once again remind the world of just how powerful and influential we are. After all the parades and parties, let’s KEEP reminding the world by standing together and fighting for the causes that we know will continue to improve the lives of working people everywhere.
With all that in mind, I’d like to wish you, your family, friends and loved ones a very Happy Labor Day!
Mary E. Sullivan, President