Why celebrate Labor Day

To the editor:

Labor Day was first celebrated in 1882 by labor unions, and in 1894 was declared a national holiday. Labor Day observes the strength, hard work and dedication of America’s workers.

The Marquette County Labor Council is sponsoring the 24th annual Labor Day Festival September 2nd in Ishpeming starting with a parade at 11:00am along Euclid, Main, Division Streets and Lakeshore Drive. There will be a picnic and rally from 12 noon to 4:00 pm at the Cliff’s Shaft Mine Museum and Lake Bancroft Park.

As we celebrate and stand together to say “Labor: Still Standing Strong” with communities from across the country, we recognize the challenges ahead. Wall Street CEOs are on top, while America’s middle class still is suffering. Living wages are not equal to the increased cost of living, and many of America’s workers still are unemployed or underemployed. America’s workers did not create this mess, but we are the ones who are paying for it through unemployment, layoffs, home foreclosures, and the threat of social services and safety nets being cut. Our members of Congress need to put the American people first instead of politics and get people back to work. We need policies, legislation and ideas that invest in training and retaining our workforce.

This year, I want to dedicate Labor Day to parents who work without paid sick days and other family-friendly policies. Working without paid sick days not only takes away economic security from families, it hurts our communities and leaves long-term damage. Many parents who work without paid sick days lack job security, leaving them and their families vulnerable to income loss and poverty.

The labor movement helped establish and maintain America’s middle class. Through collective bargaining for a living wage, health insurance, retirement security and workplace safety measures, unions have stood the test of time and fought tirelessly for working America. This Labor Day, let’s honor all of America’s hardworking people and continue to fight for them-not just on this day, but every day.

Kathleen Carlson, Treasurer

Marquette County

Labor Council