President Biden Celebrates Labor Day in Philadelphia, Praises Unions and American Workers

In Philadelphia, President Joe Biden, known for his strong support of labor unions, marked Labor Day with a heartfelt address on Monday. He commended American workers for their pivotal role in revitalizing the economy after the devastating COVID-19 pandemic.

During his speech, the Democratic president discussed the ongoing economic recovery and detailed his administration’s initiatives to finance vital infrastructure upgrades. President Biden emphasized the significance of labor unions in bolstering the middle class, asserting, “This Labor Day, we’re celebrating jobs—good-paying, family-sustaining union jobs.”

Instead of remaining behind the podium, the president chose to hold the microphone and move about the stage, positioned amidst signs proclaiming “UNION STRONG.”

The timing of Labor Day, a holiday honoring workers, coincided with encouraging job growth and an increasing number of people reentering the workforce, a trend President Biden eagerly highlighted as he gears up for reelection in 2024.

The president’s Labor Day address followed last week’s announcement that the United States added 187,000 jobs in August, signaling a somewhat slower but resilient labor market, despite the Federal Reserve’s imposition of higher interest rates. The report from the Labor Department also noted a rise in the unemployment rate from 3.5% to 3.8%, the highest level since February 2022. However, this increase was driven by an encouraging factor: 736,000 individuals actively resumed their job search last month, the most significant surge since January. It’s important to note that only those actively seeking employment are counted as unemployed.

President Biden consistently emphasized the pivotal role of the middle class in the economy, asserting that when the middle class prospers, it benefits everyone.

In Philadelphia’s Tri-State Labor Day event, hundreds of union members proudly wore their respective local union T-shirts, representing various unions like the Sheet Metal Workers, United Food and Commercial Workers, Stagehands, and more. They gathered on a warm and humid morning to hear the president’s words.

Lenny Nutter, a Philadelphia resident sporting a Laborers International Union shirt, attended the event to show his support for President Biden. He noted that unions have experienced increased activity, partly due to the president’s policies. Nutter remarked, “Unions are growing, and more work is being allocated to union workers.”

President Biden has taken executive actions to promote labor organizing, openly endorsed unionization efforts at major corporations like Amazon, and authorized federal funding to assist union members’ pensions. Just last week, his administration proposed a new rule that could make 3.6 million more U.S. workers eligible for overtime pay, marking one of the most substantial increases in decades. “Now you’re going to get paid overtime,” the president assured the audience.

Additionally, President Biden has traveled across the country to underscore the role of union labor in constructing bridges and enhancing train tunnels as part of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion public works package passed by Congress in 2021.

In his closing statements, the president emphasized the transformative impact of unions on labor standards and industries, elevating wages and fortifying benefits for all. He reiterated, “Wall Street didn’t build America. The middle class built America, and unions built the middle class.”

The 36th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration was hosted by the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, a coalition of more than 100 local labor unions representing over 150,000 workers, as stated on their website.

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