President Joe Biden, often hailed as the most pro-union president in American history, delivered a Labor Day address in Philadelphia on Monday, emphasizing the crucial role of unions and commending American workers for their contributions to the nation’s economy. The President highlighted the ongoing economic recovery from the devastating COVID-19 pandemic and outlined his administration’s efforts to invest in infrastructure improvements, all while underscoring the significance of unions in shaping the middle class.
In his Labor Day speech, President Biden remarked, “This Labor Day, we are celebrating jobs – good-paying jobs that enable families to thrive – union jobs.” Instead of standing behind a podium, the President opted to hold the microphone and move about the stage, positioned behind signs boldly proclaiming “UNION STRONG.”
Labor Day, a holiday dedicated to honoring the labor force, coincides with a period of job growth and increased job seekers, marking the most significant surge since January – developments that President Biden eagerly highlights as he eyes re-election in 2024.
The President’s Labor Day address came on the heels of last week’s announcement that the U.S. added 187,000 jobs in August, signaling a labor market that, while slowing, remains resilient despite the Federal Reserve’s implementation of higher interest rates. Additionally, the Labor Department’s report disclosed an uptick in the unemployment rate from 3.5% to 3.8%, the highest level since February 2022. However, this increase is attributed to a positive trend: 736,000 individuals began actively seeking employment in the previous month, the most substantial influx since January, and not all of them secured jobs immediately. Unemployment statistics only count individuals actively seeking employment.
Joe Biden @Labor Day Philadelphia:
President Biden consistently emphasized the central role of middle-class workers in the nation’s economic fabric, asserting that when the middle class prospers, it benefits everyone in society. This sentiment resonated strongly at the Tri-State Labor Day event in Philadelphia, where hundreds of union workers donned their respective local union T-shirts, representing unions such as the Sheet Metal Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, and Stagehands, among others. Despite the warm and humid weather, these dedicated workers eagerly awaited the President’s address.
Philadelphian Lenny Nutter attended the gathering to support President Biden and dressed in a bright yellow Laborers International Union shirt. He said that in this part because of the President’s actions, unions had regained their strength. According to Nutter, Unions are gaining members, and union workers are securing more opportunities.
In addition to publicly endorsing unionization drives at major corporations like Amazon, President Biden has used executive actions to support worker organizing. He has also approved federal assistance to support the pension plans of union members. One of the biggest increases in decades was just proposed by the Biden administration’s new rule, which would allow an additional 3.6 million U.S. workers to be eligible for overtime compensation. President Biden addressed the audience and said, “Now you will receive overtime pay.”
During his tenure, President Biden has traversed the nation, spotlighting union labor’s role in constructing bridges and enhancing train tunnels, a vital component of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion public works package passed by Congress in 2021.
President Biden stated last week that “unions elevate standards across various industries and the entire workforce, propelling wage growth and enhancing benefits for all.” You’ve heard me say it before: Wall Street did not create America, he said. Unions helped the middle class grow, and the middle class helped build America.
The 36th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration is organized by the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, an association comprising more than 100 local labor unions representing over 150,000 workers. This event serves as a poignant testament to the enduring importance of organized labor in shaping the nation’s economy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the position of American workers.