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A Message from Dennis Martire: Live Labor Day, Every Day

To some, Labor Day signifies the end of summer. Yet, as LIUNA members, Labor Day is never the end – it’s a continuation of the strides achieved through worker and union solidarity.

Working men and women are the heart and soul of Labor Day, and they are the heart and soul of the labor movement. Unions have stood side-by-side with workers for over a century to improve working standards. Holidays, weekends, and safety protocols inherently associated with jobs today were earned through the struggles of the workers who came before us. The establishment of Labor Day is one of many battles that workers have fought and will continue fighting, not only for themselves and their families, but the entire nation.

One of those battles consistently revolves around income inequality. While workers are acknowledged and appreciated on Labor Day, their pay is attacked by anti-union, corporate groups throughout the year. These groups also support so-called right-to-work and oppose prevailing wage only to increase their already excessive wealth. Currently, if the bottom 90 percent of the U.S. population combined their wealth, they still wouldn’t reach the wealth of the top 1 percent. Strong unions however combat this inequality so workers only need one job instead of three. At 64 percent, public support for unions is above the average, yet this support has yet to translate to an increase in union membership. The sooner these supporters unionize their employers, the sooner we can counter the imbalance through good union jobs with living wages and benefits.

In contrast to national union membership, our commitment to creating opportunities that lead to the middle class has driven membership growth at the Mid-Atlantic region over five consecutive years. Our advocacy ensures those opportunities promote local and minority hiring, proper training, and responsible contracting. In addition to our membership, our manhours are at a five-year high at over 35 million as more contractors recognize LIUNA Mid-Atlantic as their workforce solution.

LIUNA members will spend the day marching in Labor Day parades, literally taking steps forward for working families. There will always be another step we can take to advance the labor movement, and by living every day by the values that we celebrate on Labor Day – strength, hard work, and determination – those steps can lead to labor victories that will make a positive difference for the next generation of workers. May every LIUNA member have an impactful and enjoyable Labor Day.