Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Mayor Lioneld Jordan's Labor Day Proclamation

WHEREAS, the sweat and skill of American workers built this country and preserved it through wars and crises. Today, workers and their organizations are giving strong support to our effort to restore our national and local economy. This is in the finest tradition of organized labor, which has served not just its own members but all people through its century-long struggle for social and economic justice; and,

WHEREAS, American workers have carried us through times of challenge and uncertainty, propelled America through eras of peace and prosperity, and have long formed the backbone of our Nation's economy; and

WHEREAS, working Americans constructed our cities and towns, and with unparalleled skill they manufactured the goods and provided the services needed by Americans and people around the world. They have prepared our children for the challenges ahead and cared for the sick and the elderly; and

WHEREAS, the labor movement has given voice to the aspirations and concerns of millions of men and women. By fighting for decent working conditions, as well as fair wages and benefits, organized labor has stood for the rights of everyday Americans. With determination and commitment, labor has advocated for all working families and all have benefited from the fruits of their struggles; and

WHEREAS, the Northwest Arkansas Labor Council and its member unions and organizations are active partners in rebuilding our local economy, creating Green Jobs that pay a living wage, and helping to provide a better life by all residents of our community;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, as we honor our workers, and we renew our commitment to uphold the American Dream for everyone on this Labor Day, let us affirm our determination to build a future together in which all of us can enjoy the blessings of a more equitable and humane society.

I hereby declare Monday, September 6, 2010, as Labor Day in the City of Fayetteville.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Labor Day: Honoring Our History, Fighting for Our Future

On Labor Day, we celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers. However, during years such as this one, Labor Day also marks the start of election season.

You might be wondering what politics has to do with Labor Day.

The answer is: EVERYTHING.

These days, when the middle class is under attack and public employees are the target of a vicious campaign of lies and misinformation, the ballot box gives us a chance to send a clear message.

Yes, it is about standing up for the legacy of those who marched, went on strike and, most importantly, organized workers in the historic fights for safe working conditions, decent pay and the 40-hour workweek.

But it’s also about today’s pressing issues, such as creating more jobs at a time when nearly 25 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. It’s about supporting those who fought to pass a crucial Jobs Bill that will provide $26 billion in federal aid to protect hundreds of thousands of jobs instead of those like Minority House Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) who called this job-saving legislation a “bailout” for “special interests”.

It’s about protecting Main Street instead of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich that would cost $680 billion in revenue over the next ten years – only to benefit the richest one percent of Americans. It’s about funding the vital public services AFSCME members provide in this time of need, when one out of every six Americans is in a government anti-poverty program. It’s about saving Social Security from Republicans like former Sen. Alan Simpson, who calls retirees “greedy geezers,” and his allies on Capitol Hill who want to dismantle and privatize a proven program that runs a surplus and has no impact on the federal deficit.

During these last two years, despite the distortions and obstructionism of almost every Republican in Congress, working families won some real victories. We secured more than $230 billion in the American Recovery and Revitalization Act to keep state and local governments afloat. We finally passed health care reform that reins in the insurance industry, closes the donut hole for seniors and lets kids stay on their parents’ insurance until they’re 26. We put through the most significant Wall Street reform since Franklin Roosevelt was President. It restricts predatory mortgage lending, eliminates hidden credit card fees and creates a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

This November, we’ve got a choice. We can let those who ruined our economy push their agenda of tax breaks for wealthy CEOs and perks for corporations; or we can be true to labor’s history and fight for more jobs and government accountability.

What is it going to be?

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