Honoring Labor Day and the American Worker

Here’s wishing everyone a happy Labor Day, as we commemorate and celebrate that essential element of what has not only made America great, but has been indispensable to making America, period — the American worker.

This is a particularly special holiday for our campaign, as we are committed to not just celebrating the American worker, but protecting and supporting their rights and their dignity, something I plan on doing when serving in our Statehouse.

One of the basic principles of America from its very founding has been the principle of standing up for yourself, and acting in your own own interest. This is also one of the founding philosophies of the labor movement, as this principle works for groups as well as individuals. It is because we as a nation have understood that we benefit as individuals when we benefit as a group. This understanding is encapsulated in the earliest motto of our country, imprinted on America’s very first coin – “We Are One.”

It is that sense of unity, that sense of shared purpose, shared sacrifice, and shared benefit, that underlies America’s labor movement, and what makes for healthy and productive individuals in a healthy and productive society.

So as we spend this wonderful Labor Day holiday enjoying time together with family and friends, with our cookouts and recreation, let us also take a moment to reflect on all of the work, struggle and sacrifice on the part of so many workers that gave us things we think of as a norm now.

We should never forget that the status quo of wealth and power at the time thought the inequality of its day was just fine, and that was the way it should be. It was these interests who would call this exploitation of labor, “freedom.” Workers who challenged this were often brutalized, many of them killed, for standing up for the things we take for granted today. Things like the 8-hour work week, overtime benefits, sick leave and vacation time, safety protections on the job, getting children out of factories, workers compensation and social security, and all the other aspects of economic protections that are designed to put people first.

So let us remember and honor the fact that is not just those who have worn our nation’s uniforms who have sacrificed for so much, some even paying the ultimate price, to give us the freedoms and rights we enjoy today. The American worker is what makes our country go, and who we should be making sure is not only honored, but is given their full due so that they can live their lives to their fullest potential.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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The People With Kim McCarthy