There is no wealth in the world that did not emanate from working hands of the craftsman and/or the intellect of a worker.
The portent of that observation should be obvious.
As a young man I had the opportunity to be an elected official in a union. In the course of that work I made it my business to learn about the history of labor, not only here in America, but also the world.
It has been a rocky road to reaching equity and that journey toward fairness is not yet complete. On the other hand, the labor movement has much to be proud. However, the movement has been fraught with fits and starts. Setbacks were sometimes the outcomes of politics, and at other times politics favored the working class.
The labor movement is complex. We sometimes think it is about wages and benefits and that certainly is true. But it is so much more than that. It is about the dignity of the worker. It is about raising the horizon of what is possible for the children of the worker to imagine themselves in positions of science, teaching, medicine or any number of pursuits. Some will choose to remain in the crafts of their parents.
When I refer to workers, I am not limiting my remarks to what we refer to as “blue collar”. We need to respect all workers. There have been people in professional positions that never knew that they might need the strength provided by organized labor. They are learning that they are wrong.
Labor organizations are needed. They are not the adversaries of the owner class: they are the partners of the captains of industry. In Germany where that concept is recognized, it is not unusual to have a labor representative sitting on the board of directors.
My hope is that we create the kind of respect for one another that furthers the goals of this great country that is America: goals that celebrate individuals and the country as a whole.
Have a happy and fun Labor Day