A Labor Day Message from Richard L. Trumka President, AFL-CIO
September 5, 2011
Happy Labor Day, This Labor Day, please join me in taking a little time to recognize the value of work and all who do it. It’s a time to honor the transit workers who get us where we need to go every day. The teachers who will spend their Labor Day getting classrooms ready for our children.
The firefighters and caregivers whose work is so much more than a job. The engineers, construction workers, manufacturing workers, mathematicians and scientists who are building America now and for the future. The nurses, doctors and EMTs who keep us healthy.
It’s also a time to honor the millions of people who want to work but are unable to find jobs—working people didn’t cause the economic crisis, but they certainly have paid a heavy price for it.
Today, jobless people have become all but invisible to politicians and much of the public. As activists, it’s our job to change that.
So this Labor Day season, I hope you will commit to being even more active than you’ve been in the past, and to help lead a massive America Wants to Work campaign to demand that all our elected leaders focus their efforts on putting America back to work.
Working men and women have been suffering through a dire jobs crisis. But too many politicians have engaged in extreme partisan brinkmanship and opportunistic over-reaching. Their goal: to transfer even more wealth and power from low-income and middle-class Americans to the CEOs who bankroll elections and offshore jobs.
That’s why we’re calling on Congress and the White House for leadership on big, bold and timely ideas to put America back to work and rebuild the U.S. economy.
Some will say America can’t afford to invest big to create jobs. You and I know we can’t afford not to.
Some say there’s nothing we can do to turn the economy around—we just have to wait it out. I say anyone who believes that either lacks imagination and a knowledge of history or is just plain afraid of hard work.
There’s plenty our leaders can do—right now. Yes, it will take courage and that’s something, quite frankly, a lot of politicians seem to lack when we need it most. So you and I will have to be their backbone, their conscience.
I’m proposing a six-point agenda to create good jobs that will put millions of people back to work and restore our communities, our states and the country.
Here’s our Six-Point Agenda for Good Jobs:
1. Rebuild America’s schools, roads, ports, airways and energy systems.
2. Revive U.S. manufacturing and stop exporting good jobs overseas.
3. Put people to work in communities doing work that needs to be done by directly creating millions of jobs.
4. Help state and local governments avoid more layoffs and service cuts by increasing federal Medicaid funding during periods of high unemployment. Ensure that we have our priorities straight so we can fund essential federal government functions—not slash them to the bone.
5. Help fill the massive shortfall of consumer demand by extending unemployment benefits and keeping homeowners in their homes.
6. Reform Wall Street so it helps Main Street create jobs by encouraging lending to small businesses, enacting a financial speculation tax and ending Wall Street cheating and fraud.
Thank you—and happy Labor Day to you and your working family.