Hare: Labor Day Should Serve as a Reminder of the Debt We Owe to America's Workers Says Democratic Congress Beginning to Make Progress for Working Families
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL), a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, today released the following statement in commemoration of Labor Day.
"America's working men and women built this nation from the ground upenduring long hours and difficult working conditions in the process.
"Over the last 6 years, these workers have had little to show for their sacrifice. While worker productivity has soared, wages have remained flat as the costs of health care, education, transportation, and energy continue to skyrocket.
"President Bush and Republicans in Congress have added insult to injurypursuing a legislative agenda that does more for corporate CEO's and millionaires than average working families trying to make ends meet.
"The effect of their policies has been devastating. A recent survey found that nearly 80 percent of workers, both college and non-college alike, do not believe the next generation will be better off. Nearly half think their children will be worse.
"As a former lining cutter at Seaford Clothing Factory, I understand the struggle for basic economic security. When I ran for Congress, I pledged that if elected, I would use my voice to speak up for working families.
"The new Democratic Congress is beginning to make some progress. In just seven months, we have already enacted the first federal minimum wage increase in 10 years. We also passed legislation to extend collective bargaining rights to first responders, restore employee rights in pay discrimination cases, and protect children from unsafe working conditions.
"I have introduced legislation that would cover more workers under federal workplace safety law and increase penalties for companies that refuse to play by the rules.
"I am also a co-sponsor of a bill that would end the blatantly unpatriotic practice of subsidizing companies that outsource American jobs and reward good corporate citizens who commit to staying here in the United States.
"Clearly, we have more to do. It is time for the Senate to pass the Employee Free Choice Act, which would give workers the ability to bargain for a better life via majority sign-up. On average, workers who belong to unions earn 30 percent more than non-union workers. And they are much more likely to have healthcare and pension benefits. It is long past time to give workers the right to organize free of intimidation or coercion from their bosses.
"On this Labor Day, we should recommit ourselves to providing all families the opportunity to achieve the American Dream, regardless of their background."