A Labor Day Message from Local President

A Labor Day Message from Local President

Posted on 28 August 2012 by webmaster

Fellow USW Local 13-2001 Members,

As Labor Day quickly approaches it is imperative that we remember that this day is for the workers.  It is a day of celebration for the strides in which we the labor movement have in fact made our work places safer.  We have also brought equality and fairness onto the shop floor.  Social and economic fairness are also issues that we have made drastic improvements to.  This is a day for Labor.  We should be proud of this.

Before our time in the workforce and before Labor Day was recognized as a national holiday workers toiled in mines and factories for 12 plus hours a day 7 days a week and barely made enough to get by.  These workers also faced work environments where safety was not even a thought.  Children worked these same hours and days and were paid just a fraction of their adult counterpart’s wages.  This is real, this is our history and we should never forget it.

While these types of work environments are not the same today let us always remember that it was the workers who stood up, marched and demanded that changes be made.  Workers died for the cause.  Workers were treated unjustly and unfairly for the rights and laws that we have today.  These same workers are the reason that we have labor unions today.  They found that through a collective voice, dealing with the rich and powerful companies that progress could be made.  Let us never forget this great movement and courageous effort.  It is because of this movement and effort that we enjoy the lifestyles and working conditions that we have today.

We need to learn and never forget this effort.  Because just like your old history teacher would say, “If you do not know what happened in the past and learn about what happened, why it happened and the affects of the happenings, then you are doomed to repeat it.”  We owe it to ourselves to our children and to all other Americans to not allow this portion of our history to ever repeat itself.   While we have our own successes to be proud of and our own issues let this Labor Day not go by without taking some time to think about the people well before our time that decided to take a stand the ones who brought us Labor Day and all that it encompasses.   And let us understand that it is our job to preserve this tradition, continue to improve the work environment and maintain social and economic justice for all that labor in this country.

Some view Labor Day as simply the end of summer.  I view Labor Day differently and ask that you as fellow Union members do the same.  While Labor Day does mark the end of summer and the start of another school year, Labor Day is forever in my mind the day in which hard working men and women gained the dignity and respect that they rightfully deserve as human beings.  We are often quick to remember wars and the fallen soldiers of those wars.  We should be just as quick to remember the workers who brought us this glorious day.  And we should never forget or give up on the idea that this country was built by workers, maintained by workers, improved by workers and will forever be a country of workers.  And as Abraham Lincoln quoted, “All that serves labor serves the nation.  All that harms is treason.  If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.  There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.”

May each of you and your families have a wonderful Labor Day.

Respectfully and with the utmost solidarity,

Ricky Brooks

USW Local 13-2001 President/Business Agent

Author: AFGE Local 704

Representing over 900 bargaining unit employees working at the U.S. EPA Region 5 Offices in Chicago, Ann Arbor, MI and Westlake, OH.

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