Labor Day 2010
- Ahoy Members and Friends,Do I dare say "Happy Labor Day?" I wish you an enjoyable day with family and friends but for this nation, employment is a sore subject.Full employment no longer seems to be an attainable goal for the USA. Way too much employment has been shipped overseas and I don't anticipate much of it coming back.Below is some history on this special day and below that remarks by Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis. Both are worth a read.The Pacific Merchant Marine Council has been focused this year on our nation's Seafarers. Much of what we do day in and day out and especially on special occasions is in recognition of Seafarers past and present. Our March luncheon in Oakland, our National Maritime Day event in Sacramento, and now our 20 September luncheon at the Seafarers International Union Hall in Oakand (see attached invitation).Please attend our luncheon and invite others. It is all explained on the invitation. We need many more paid reservations. Not mentioned is the rare opportunity for many of us to step inside an important nerve center for shipboard workers. Afterwards I am sure Kerry or others would be happy to show you around the first floor hiring hall and explain how crewing a ship actually gets done. Plain and simple, please join us on the 20th!The 2nd attachment is a possibly a too lengthy statement of the Secretary General of the International Maritime Organization. The IMO has designated 2010 "The year of the Seafarer." The council picked up on this theme. Safety and health conditions on many vessels throughout the world do not meet the standards of the United States. Some international crews are ridiculously small for the size of the ship. Some don't even speak the same language. We have much to be thankful for in regards to conditions aboard USA flaged and crewed vessels.Anyway, I wish you a great day! Let's reflect on labor in the USA and especially on our nation's Seafarers. We have much to be thankful for but we need jobs, jobs, jobs here in the USA!Heave Ho,PhelpsPS Just this past week the new parent company of a financial institution in North Highlands announced that 1,100 jobs were being terminated and the work was to be sent overseas. The Bay Area, in fact the whole state, is still realing from the closing of the Fremont automobile plant.
The History of Labor Day
Labor Day: How it Came About; What it Means
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.
Founder of Labor Day
More than 100 years after the first Labor Day observance, there is still some doubt as to who first proposed the holiday for workers.
Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."
But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.
The First Labor Day
The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.
In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.
Labor Day Legislation
Through the years the nation gave increasing emphasis to Labor Day. The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances passed during 1885 and 1886. From them developed the movement to secure state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on February 21, 1887. During the year four more states Colorado, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York created the Labor Day holiday by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut, Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the territories.
A Nationwide Holiday
The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership the American worker.
Secretary of Labor Remarks
Hello, Im Hilda Solis . . . your Secretary of Labor.
I want to spend a few minutes today on the significance of this Labor Day.
For most people, Labor Day marks the end of summer . . . or back to school . . . or an election season. For me, Labor Day has always been what it was originally intended to be: a day to celebrate the contributions that working men and women have made to the strength and prosperity of the country.
Its become somewhat of a tradition for Labor Secretaries to use Labor Day to speak on the status of the American worker . . . to give a State of the American Worker report, if you will.
Some have made remarks from podiums or pulpits. Others have testified on Capitol Hill. Some have chosen to address think tanks, corporations, or labor unions.
Those are all important forums . . . but I wanted to talk directly to you the American worker. I want to share with you what Ive seen and heard from many of you in my travels across the country during the past year.
Many of you have told me that you want an America that produces things again. You want a nation that is strong, that leads the international marketplace in innovation and a commitment to quality. And you want a government that is responsive, pragmatic and understands your needs.
But more than anything else, no matter where I go and who I talk to, youve told me we need jobs.
So I want youand every single working family across the nationto know two things:
First, what this administration, and in particular, this Labor Department is doing on your behalf, and
And second, how we plan to move forward.
Right now, despite the fact that we have added private sector jobs to the economy for seven straight months, the nations unemployment rate hovers above nine percent. For young people, people of color, and people in regions of the country hit hardest by the recession, the rate is much higher.
Look, Im not an economist . . . so I dont just deal in statistics. But I do deal with real people, who have real needs and who are looking to government for real answers. And, Ive met many of the people these unemployment numbers represent. Ive heard their stories of hardship and success.
In the cities and towns Ive been to this past year, Ive never once heard working people--or people who need and want work--demand special treatment. Americans dont want a hand out . . . they just want a level playing field with clear rules, an opportunity to work hard, and a fair chance to provide for their families and get ahead.
These are the people I think about every single day. These are the people I work for, and the ones who constantly renew my faith in the American worker.
And you can be certain that, like the President, I will not stop working until every American is back on their feetand we have fulfilled our mission to provide good and safe jobs for everyone.
We are making important inroads towards that goal, so let me tell youbrieflywhat we have done so far to get there.
First and foremost, weve reversed the dangerous trend of job loss in our country because just over a year ago, we were losing almost 700,000 jobs per month. We were on the verge of another Great Depression. We took immediate action to stop the bleeding and create jobs.
Now, instead of losing jobs, we have actually added them in the private sector every month. We have averaged about 90,000 jobs for the last seven months.
But something else too . . . and this is important: Our efforts, most notably the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, SAVED millions of American jobs in the auto manufacturing industry. Those efforts also kept health care workers in clinics and community hospitals. They kept hundreds of thousands of teachers in classrooms, and police and firefighters on the beatwhere they should be.
Weve also focused on the engine of job creation, and thats small businesses. Ive seen time and time again the big impact that small business hiring has on a local community. Access to capital is key, so weve expanded credit to small businesses. Now, we are making it possible for American entrepreneurs to create and grow businesses that will put people to work.
We are taking actions that have meaning today and tomorrow. One of those actions involves rebuilding our national infrastructure, which is so critical. As a result of our quick and bold actions, millions of people are at work, building and rebuilding American roads, bridges, ports and high speed railways.
And we are also investing in a new American foundation and a whole new American industry and employer: and thats clean energy. We look at that investment two ways: advances in biofuels, wind and solar power, will not only reduce our dependence on foreign energy, but also reenergize the American manufacturing sector.
Ive long believed that green jobs can be great jobs, and jobs every American can take advantage of. Green jobs can be a new and exciting pathway to the middle class and these jobs will not be outsourced.
These jobs require skill and preparation... and hard work. Ive heard often in my travels that Americans want an America where hard work is rewarded. As your Labor Secretary, I want that too.
Thats why I am pleased that this Administration is making student loans more affordable and available to all young people. At the Labor Department, we are ensuring the future success of workers at every age through job training opportunities that lead to real jobs in emerging industries like health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and of course, clean and green energy.
Now, as weve done all that, weve also strengthened the safety net for Americas workers. Weve expanded unemployment insurance programs in nearly 40 states, so more people may receive benefits. And, after decades of failing to reign in the out-of-control health care system, our reforms will control costs, improve care, minimize fraud and provide security for millions of American families.
These are important steps, but they are just part of the story. The big question now is: Whats next? So on this Labor Day, my message to you is this: We have a lot of work to do. Together.
In the weeks and months ahead, policy makers will be debating what should come next. There are some who will suggest that when times are tough, its time to get tough on working people. Theyll suggest that we cut back on worker training, to cut back on worker safety . . . and to cut back on giving workers a voice in their workplace.
I totally disagree.
To those who say we can no longer afford to train, retool and educate our workforce, I say we cannot afford NOT to.
To those who want to cut corners and disregard safety in the workplace, I say: Keeping workers safe matters far more than saving a few cents.
And to those who want to deny workers a voice in the workplace, let me be clear: This Secretary of Labor recognizes respects and celebrates a workers right to organize and bargain collectively.
As individuals, and as a nation, we have very important choices to make, and each one merits careful and informed discussion. So in the weeks and months ahead, I hope we can continue this conversation. Each and every one of us has something at stake, and we simply cannot afford to make the wrong choices.
Thanks and please know that your Labor Secretary wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day.