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article imagePresident Obama spoke at AFL-CIO Labor Day Picnic

By Kay Mathews     Sep 7, 2009 in Politics
At an AFL-CIO picnic in celebration of Labor Day, Pres. Obama commended the work done by unions and remembered the work of Sen. Kennedy on employee rights and benefits.
Pres. Obama spoke today at an AFL-CIO Labor Day picnic in Cincinnati, and according to the AP, he outlined the role that unions played in getting workplace benefits that many today take for granted such as the minimum wage and paid leave. They “all bear the union label” the president told the cheering crowd, reports the AP.
Obama was quoted as saying, “It was labor that helped build the largest middle class in history. So, even if you're not a union member, every American owes something to America's labor movement."
The AP reports that Obama called upon the union to help win the passage of health care reform and reminded attendees that equal pay for equal work was the first bill he signed as president. According to the AP, President Obama said:
We remember that the rights and benefits we enjoy today were not simply handed out to America's working men and women. They had to be won. They had to be fought for, by men and women of courage and conviction, from the factory floors of the Industrial Revolution to the shopping aisles of today's superstores. They stood up and spoke out to demand a fair shake, an honest day's pay for an honest day's work. Many risked their lives. Some gave their lives. Some made it a cause of their lives — like Sen. Ted Kennedy, who we remember today.
During the speech, the AP reported, Obama announced that he had selected Ron Bloom to serve as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom is a graduate of Harvard Business School and has done work as an advisor to the United Steelworkers union.
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