Happy Labor Day from AFSA

This Labor Day we honor the tremendous sacrifice, dedication and accomplishments of America’s workers. It is a time to gather with friends and family to celebrate this hard work that is the foundation of our nation. Labor Day signifies the promise that if you work hard in this country, you will have a decent wage, job security, freedom from harassment and the right to retire with dignity. For generations, this has been the promise that Labor has fought tirelessly to achieve.

But Labor Day is also a call to action. It is a day to recognize these promises are being threatened. Over the past several years, we have witnessed an ongoing erosion of workers’ rights and benefits, and the privatization of our most essential services.

This attack has resulted in a decline in union membership in both the public and private sectors. Not surprisingly, this decline has come at the same time as the increase in inequality across the United States. Federal, state and local budget cuts have exacerbated the inequality gap, making it difficult to provide quality programs and services to those most in need. Corporations are enjoying lavish profits, bonuses and tax breaks, while the federal minimum wage remains stagnant at $7.25 an hour.

The good news is we do not have to continue down this path as a nation. We can invest in our nation’s public schools, in health care, and in all workers. We can promote policies that support working families, such as paid sick leave, an increase in the minimum wage, and a guarantee that when you retire you will be given the benefits you have earned. We must do all of these things and much more as we plan to secure the future for working families and this nation.

So this Labor Day, we thank all hardworking Americans for the tremendous contributions and sacrifices you have already made, and for the invaluable difference you will make going forward. We will fight to restore the promise of Labor Day, so all workers will receive the benefits they have earned, the security they need, and the dignity they deserve.

Happy Labor Day!