September 4, 2017 • BLOG ENTRY

Happy Labor Day. Remember why you're off if you're not at work.

Female office workers marching on behalf of LBJ in Detroit’s 1964 Labor Day parade (attribution: Tony Spina, Reuther Library of Labor and Urban Affairs)

Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer here in New Jersey and across the country.  For many, it means time at the shore, backyard barbecues and time with family and friends.  But for all of us, it should be a time to honor and reflect on the social and economic achievements of American workers.

For some, maligning labor unions is a sport (I’m talking to you, Chris Christie and Scott Walker).  But the truth is, labor unions have always been at the forefront of fighting for social justice in America.  Do you like the 40 hour work week?  Thank the labor unions.  Believe that children belong in school and not a factory?  Again, labor unions.  The middle class?  Created through the rise of the labor movement.

This week I stood in solidarity with my fellow Americans in the aftermath of Charlottesville and listened to the stirring words of Martin Luther King, Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  Back on that August day in 1963, while the Reverend spoke, he was flanked by John Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, the organizer of the March and President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union, and Walter Reuther, the president of the UAW.  

The labor movement has fought side-by-side and on behalf of African-Americans who were denied civil rights, of migrant workers who were denied basic dignity, and of women who were denied equal pay.  Today, labor unions continue to fight for social justice and they are the greatest catalyst for equal pay for women.

As I travel around the district, I hear over and over again the need for good paying jobs here in New Jersey.  Making the economy work for all of us is a central tenet of my campaign.  We need to replace the notion of free trade with fair trade.  When our trade partners play fast and loose with environmental and labor standards, it affects the air we breathe, the water we drink and makes it harder for New Jersey workers to compete.

The American worker is to be celebrated.  Which is why on this Labor Day I will take a moment to pay tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.