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Celebrate contributions of hardworking Americans

As the Nobel Prize winning author William Faulkner once said, “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world would do this, it would change the earth.”

His words could well have been an early theme of American workers who were organizing in the face of tremendous and overwhelming odds. The simple truth often is forgotten: Labor history is American history. The lives of workers with their successes and struggles make up the fabric of this great nation.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. It is the day we Americans should celebrate the economic and social contributions of American workers.

This is a day where we can truly appreciate how far we have come, due to the efforts of workers and organized labor.

Workers have long known the power of collective action that echoes at the heart of democracy. After all, we’re “the people who brought you the weekend” and so much more.

Labor Day developed as a way of showcasing the back-breaking labor that made America strong, successful and a provider for the world. In the early Labor Day parades, participants consisted of everyday working stiffs who went to work and took pride in what they did, were paid a fair wage and reminded the country of its pride in its citizens. These early parades were not to highlight politicians, or those involved in local government, but instead to highlight those who went to work day after day to make products made in America, or provide services for citizens. These workers were proud union members.

On Monday, we all should celebrate by participating in labor-sponsored events in our communities. As Faulkner said, we can change the world when we all speak out together.

Jim Carr

Statewide President

Public Employees Federation Retirees