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A Message from Denny Martire: Celebrating Labor Day as a Laborer

For the often thankless hours working men and women put into their jobs, many are fortunate to spend today away from work with their friends and family in celebration of their year-round efforts.

For LIUNA, Labor Day holds a greater meaning as it reflects the entirety of the labor movement. It’s a day where we consider the past, present, and future of our organization. Devoting a minute let alone a day to the working class seemed out of the question when employees just started defending themselves against unjust employers in the late 19th century. However, unions fought for this holiday for all to enjoy.

In the present, unions still face ongoing, ruthless attacks from corporate groups who want unions out of the picture only to increase their wealth and deprive the working class of what is rightfully theirs. Yet, these attackers savor the contributions from our union predecessors that we work to protect today, like the 40-hour work week, sick leave, weekends, pensions, safety protocols, and more. As LIUNA has always done, we don’t back down. Instead, we unite and fight for better job standards that spread to the working class and our country’s economic wellbeing. I hope politicians use this day to recommit themselves to the labor movement, and recognize that everyone prospers from unions.

That strong economy to which unions have contributed resulted in a construction boom. You might think a construction boom would be great for us, but it has yet to benefit construction workers to the level that it should. Wages are not rising despite the need for skilled workers. We remind contractors that we have the workers needed to complete work safely, on time, and on budget, but they won’t work for less than they’re worth. While we put pressure on contractors and politicians to raise wages and eliminate the worker shortage, we are at the same time shaping new apprentices at our training centers in both fundamental and advanced skills of the industry.

When I think about the future of LIUNA Mid-Atlantic, we need to maintain and grow the value of hard work, which means that working families are compensated for their hard work with a living wage and benefits. We will continue pursuing clean natural gas energy jobs for our members as natural gas is necessary to fulfill current energy demand in the transition to renewable energy. In light of recent transportation infrastructure tragedies, we will look for every opportunity to build new and end temporary fixes that only lead to more harm overtime.

As essential construction and public service work cannot stop for a day, we honor our LIUNA members who embody the meaning of Labor Day every day. May every LIUNA Mid-Atlantic member find time today to celebrate their contributions to our organization and our nation.