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Labor Day more than picnics

To the Journal editor:

For many Americans, Labor Day represents one last chance at a good time before the start of school and the inevitable downward slide towards winter. Days began to get noticeably shorter and the nightly bonfires become ever less frequent.

But for union workers across the iron range and in the copper country, Labor Day represents more than a token day off due to the bosses’ good will. For us, mass strikes and labor struggles are not just a distant memory of the past.

Here in the Upper Peninsula, union families know that Labor Day should be about celebrating organized labor. Period.

Even more than that, Labor Day should be about celebrating the social and economic victories for working people that the organized labor movement has achieved in this nation. Make no bones about it, organized labor created in the United States the greatest standard of living and the most powerful economic machine that this world has ever known and while not fully realized, has brought us closer to the ideals of economic freedom and true democracy then we have ever been.

It’s appropriate that our nation devote Labor Day wholly to paying tribute to the true creators of our country’s wealth, prosperity, and strength. Its workers and its unions. It’s even more appropriate that we union members use this holiday as a day to steel our resolve for the fights yet to be had, and to remind ourselves there are many workers waiting to be organized. Remember, “The state of our Union, largely depends on the state of our Unions.”

I would encourage everyone to join the Upper Peninsula Regional Labor Federation, AFL-CIO and its affiliate unions in celebrating our labor history on Sept. 2 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Lake Bancroft Park in Ishpeming and in other celebrations across the U.P.

In solidarity,