As Labor Day approaches, we remember all those that came before us. Many great leaders throughout history have stood for and against the hierarchy to bring about change. We continue to fight for you and your rights, and with this in mind, Our union wishes to send you regards for this upcoming Labor Day! - Ralph Dejuliis, President Council 220
Labor unions are important. The American worker has a lot of things to thank the efforts of organized labor for. The 40 hour work week, pensions, health care, and the minimum wage are just a few things that unions have fought for on behalf of the American worker. The following quotes demonstrate support for labor unions. Many of them stated by former Presidents.
1.”Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”
2. “Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost. Unions represent some of the freest institutions in this land. There are few finer examples of participatory democracy to be found anywhere.” ~Ronald Reagan (The only U.S. President who was a former president of a labor union)
3. “The laboring classes constitute the main part of our population. They should be protected in their efforts peaceably to assert their rights when endangered by aggregated capital, and all statutes on this subject should recognize the care of the State for honest toil, and be framed with a view of improving the condition of the workingman.”
4. “It is essential that there should be organization of labor. This is an era of organization. Capital organizes and therefore labor must organize.”
5. “If I went to work in a factory the first thing I’d do is join a union.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
6. “It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that it have free and independent labor unions.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt
7. “Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.”
~Dwight D. Eisenhower
8. “History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.” “The labor movement was the principle force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.”
~Martin Luther King Jr
9. “Every advance in this half-century: Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education… one after another- came with the support and leadership of American Labor.”
10. “The American Labor Movement has consistently demonstrated its devotion to the public interest. It is, and has been, good for all America.”
~John F. Kennedy
11. “Our labor unions are not narrow, self-seeking groups. They have raised wages, shortened hours, and provided supplemental benefits. Through collective bargaining and grievance procedures, they have brought justice and democracy to the shop floor.”
~John F. Kennedy
12. “I pity the man who wants a coat so cheap that the man or woman who produces the cloth will starve in the process.” ~Benjamin Harrison
12. “If any man tells you he loves America, yet hates labor, he is a liar. If any man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool.”
Martin Niemöller is perhaps best remembered for the quotation:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out— because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
Martin Niemöller was born in the Westphalian town of Lippstadt, Germany, on January 14, 1892. In 1910 he became a cadet in the Imperial German Navy. With the outbreak of World War I in 1914, Niemöller was assigned to a U-Boat, of which he was eventually appointed the commander. Under the stipulations of the armistice of November 11, 1918, that ended hostilities in World War I, Niemöller and other commanders were ordered to turn over their U-Boats to England. Along with many others, Niemöller refused to obey this order, and was, as a consequence, discharged from the Navy.
In 1920, he decided to follow the path of his father and began seminary training at the University of Münster.
Niemöller enthusiastically welcomed the Third Reich. But a turning point in Niemöller's political sympathies came with a January 1934 meeting of Adolf Hitler, Niemöller, and two prominent Protestant bishops to discuss state pressures on churches. At the meeting it became clear that Niemöller's phone had been tapped by the Gestapo (German Secret State Police). It was also clear that the Pastors Emergency League (PEL), which Niemöller had helped found, was under close state surveillance. Following the meeting, Niemöller would come to see the Nazi state as a dictatorship, one which he would oppose.