President Obama honors American workers at labor event in WI

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by Brian Washington

President Obama addresses the crowd in Milwaukee
President Obama addresses the crowd in Milwaukee

President Obama spent Labor Day celebrating the victories he says many of us take for granted—the gains made by organized labor, including the 40-hour workweek, overtime pay, and a minimum wage.

The President traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin today to be the guest speaker at Laborfest 2014. This was his third time in six years speaking to the crowd of thousands who turned out to celebrate the achievements of the state’s working men and woman and their unions.

President Obama reminded the crowd that the labor movement’s achievements are no accident.

It happened because America’s workers organized for it, fought for it,” said President Obama. “History shows that working families can get a fair shot in this country, but only if we’re wiling to fight for it.

The President also used this visit to highlight the economic gains made by his administration—including a rebounding economy, a stronger auto industry, key investments in homegrown energy, and a high school graduation rate that is at a record high.

However, he says there’s still more work to do, including raising the minimum wage. He urged those in attendance to put more pressure on Congress to do so.

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NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia poses with a rally participant in Milwaukee.

Among those joining the president at today’s event was Lily Eskelsen Garcia, the newly-elected president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union. Today was Eskelsen Garcia’s first day as president. She used the holiday to recognize working Americans and their unions.

“The story of America is the story of its working people—their struggles and successes and their hopes for a better future for themselves and their families,” said Eskelsen Garcia in a statement. “For decades, labor unions have led the way for millions of Americans to achieve economic security and progress by giving workers a voice and bigger say in our economy and our political system.”

The NEA represents about 3 million teachers, education support professionals, higher education faculty, and college students studying to be educators. In addition to fighting to ensure that all students have access to quality public schools, the NEA also has a long, rich, and robust history of working on those social justice issues that matter to Americans.

“As we pause, reflect and celebrate Labor Day, I urge all Americans to roll up their sleeves and join us in our fight for the issues that matter to our members, families, and communities—investing in education, creating jobs to move the economy forward, raising the minimum wage to improve the lives of working families and making college more affordable,” said Eskelsen Garcia. “This is the fight worth having because so much is at stake for our children.”

Click here, to get more information about the education issues that matter to you and your community.

Reader Comments

  1. This important election in November is a fight for the survival of the middle class and the poors in America. There is a polarization of interest between those who favor cutting taxes for investments and who wants vouchers to pay for their children’s private education… Those teachers are hired and fired at will, don’t have any protection since the only goal is to treat educators as disposable labor that don’t deserve respect and dignity in this society. Their favorite lei motif is to blame educators for all the ills of society while they represent themselves as the saviors of society…

    Labor is always fighting for the survival of the middle class and the poor. Labor is always fighting for better pay for the families and for better loans for our students, and for better facilities and services in our schools. The financial system (bank institutions) are just on the hunt for minorities and innocent families to be robbed; the extremelly rich corporation, are just promoting policies to deny teachers and the public school system what they ought to have for improving our children education and services for all students including minorites and students with disabilities..

    We teachers are in a fight for our life. Corporations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation want to have a policy where teachers are not respected, and treated with dignity but should be fired and taken away any warranty that we have for a life dedicate to serve our society our students and their destiny. The real problem is poverty and injusttice. Their narrow focus is only a reflection of their milieu, the Silicon Valley but the real world is so far away from such privileges…

    Republicans are against the interest of the middle class and the poor. They are only taking advantage of our innaction for profiting of their self centered policies that only benefit the rich and super affluent.

    We need a strong Democratic base to fight for our children with disabilities, for our minorities students and teachers, for our studemts and teachers that are harrassed and bullied by some administrators that think that they should handle school like a private enterprise or a regiment…Public schools are the melting pot and the source where every poor citizen, with disabilities or every new immigrant family could and should strive and have the best opportunites to success. We should never forget the potential of every human being to become their best when they live in a human society that takes care of their needs.

    Labor is thinking about the whole society while the big corporations are only thinking about themselves and how to increase their profits without given any obligations towards the society that allow them to succed and become super rich… They expect charities to take over the civil responsabilities of society and their obligations. Labor is really the sane base for a just and fair society where every human being can survive with dignity and where every single individual has a chance and a potential for a better and more dignify life.

  2. The irony is that while Obama touts labor most of the jobs created are in the low wage service sector and his education policies call for the expansion of charter schools which are typically nonunion.

    1. Cite your sources about low wage jobs. There are many high tech and other high paying jobs being created, in california and New York. Democrats, including Obama fight to increase funding for education, while Republicans fight to decrease funding for education, like here in Arizona. And I cite the Arizona State Legislature, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, education bills. Check your own State, especially if it’s controlled by Republicans. A vote for Democrats equals more money for education, and a vote for republicans equals less money, with the prospect even more will be taken away.

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