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Labor Day Observations

September 10, 1986

Thank you for your incisive Labor Day editorial (Sept. 1). It was balanced in its assessment of the efforts made by organized labor in achieving social and economic justice for working people everywhere.

The free trade union movement is the linchpin of any democracy. Where it has been silenced, as for example, in Hitler's Germany or today's Soviet Union or its puppet Poland, freedom no longer exists. At least not by our definition.

We celebrate Labor Day as a national holiday in order to focus upon the contributions that each of us bring to the workplace. Collectively, we have created one of the great civilizations of all time. Today's worker in America, although presently under attack from both internal and external forces, still enjoys a high standard of living and prospects of a longer, more productive life.

Nothing is forever however. The present status of our workers is the result of the willingness by many workers in our recent past to band together and insist that workers receive just compensation in a safe workplace.

In a democratic society these efforts can be reflected by the passage of legislation insuring those expectations. Such state and federal acts, which provided Social Security, health standards, minimum wage, fair (i.e. non-discriminatory) employment practices and grievance procedures, just didn't happen. They happened because of the presence of a free trade union movement in America.

These are the same Americans who pushed for and received a national holiday in recognition of those who built and continue to build a strong America.



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