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Celebrate those who do honest work on Labor Day

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Celebrate those who do honest work on Labor Day

  • A World War II-era poster.

On Monday, September 5th, roughly 180,000 union members in Arizona will join with the rest of the state and nation to mark the 117th annual observance of Labor Day - a national holiday honoring the contributions workers have made to our nation.

Legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894 following the conclusion of the deadly Pullman Strike - in which 13 striking members of the American Railway Union were killed and another 57 injured.

Without a doubt, there would be no Labor Day this year - or any other year for that matter - had it not been for the brave men and women of Labor who fought to secure, protect, and defend the rights of workers and their families. Women and men like Mother Jones, Joe Hill, Samuel Gompers, Peter J. McGuire, John L. Lewis, A. Philip Randolph, Lucy Randolph Mason, George Meany, and César Estrada Chávez to name but a few.

Regardless of who we are, work connects us all. It's the common denominator that strengthens Arizona, helps America compete, and makes us thrive.

In respect to workers let's plan to spend Monday simply celebrating all those who work – blue collar, white collar, no collar.

Recognize those who hold their head high and do hard, honest work despite attacks on their rights and living standards by politicians and their big business backers.

Honor those who want to work but are unable to find jobs in an economy still reeling from the biggest financial crisis in 75 years – a crisis that working people didn't cause, but for which they have paid a heavy price.

And join us, the working women and men of Arizona's labor movement this Labor Day as we call for the creation of good jobs and a sound future in education, in basic infrastructure and in the technologies of tomorrow to rebuild our country and restore America's place in the world.

Rebekah Friend is the Executive Director/Secretary-Treasurer Arizona AFL-CIO, a voluntary federation of labor unions in the State of Arizona, representing affiliates with over 180,000 members. To learn more, visit

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