Fighting Back: “On Labor Day, Democrats honor the men and the women who built this country and who continue to power our economy.”

 
 

The Weekly Democratic Party Address was delivered by Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio.

(Ahead of Labor Day, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) delivered the Weekly Democratic Address. Brown called for policies to raise wages and benefits for American workers, make it easier for workers to save for retirement, give workers more power in their workplaces, and encourage companies to invest in workers. Brown highlighted that while most of the richest Americans and companies that ship jobs overseas were able to gain tax breaks through the GOP’s tax bill last year, American workers largely are still seeing stagnant wages and are looking for promised relief for the middle class.)

American workers are our greatest asset; they are the engine behind our nation’s success for generations – whether they punch a time sheet or make a salary or earn tips. Whether they work behind a desk or a restaurant counter, on a factory floor, on a construction site, or in a hospital.

Yet for too many of these workers, their hard work doesn’t pay off. Corporate profits are up. Executive salaries have gone up dramatically. Stock prices have gone up. Workers are ever more productive. But wages have barely budged. In fact, under this administration, wages have actually declined. […]

To the millions of American workers working too many hours for too little pay, let me tell you, you aren’t invisible to me, you are not invisible to Democratic officeholders in this country.

We see you. We hear you. We fight for you.

We fight for paid family leave. We fight for sick leave. We fight for overtime pay. We fight to give workers a say on the job. We fight to save America’s pensions. We fight for those small businesses that are helping in our pension system. We want to make it easy for everyone to save for retirement.

We work to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset – you, the American worker. That’s what Democrats fight for on Labor Day. That’s what we’ll fight for tomorrow. That’s what we’ll fight for the rest of the year and next year too, every day throughout the year. Happy Labor Day to America’s great workforce – the American worker. Thank you so much.”

(CSPAN link to Weekly Democratic Address: here)

Transcript: U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown Delivers Weekly Democratic Address Ahead of Labor Day

“I’m Sherrod Brown, Senator from Ohio, and don’t you dare call our state the Rust Belt.

It demeans our workers, it devalues our work.

Think about what Martin Luther King said, ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance.’ He told the Local 1199 hospital workers union, ‘No labor is really menial unless you’re not getting adequate wages’ – something that’s too often the case today.

All work has dignity. That’s what Labor Day is all about.

Each year on Labor Day, we honor the men and the women who built this country and who continue to power our economy to this day. I want to thank those workers, particularly thank the workers who aren’t able to spend today, this holiday, with families and friends at picnics and barbecues, because those workers don’t have the day off. They work hard to support their families, too often with too little pay.

American workers are our greatest asset; they are the engine behind our nation’s success for generations – whether they punch a time sheet or make a salary or earn tips. Whether they work behind a desk or a restaurant counter, on a factory floor, on a construction site, or in a hospital.

Yet for too many of these workers, their hard work doesn’t pay off. Corporate profits are up. Executive salaries have gone up dramatically. Stock prices have gone up. Workers are ever more productive. But wages have barely budged. In fact, under this administration, wages have actually declined.

These are Americans doing everything we ask of them, everything that’s been asked of them. They get up every day, they go to work, they do their jobs, they hold up their end of the bargain – the bargain we’re supposed to have in this country.

But the corporations they work for don’t pay them what they’re worth.

Wall Street rewards corporations that cut costs and Wall Street punishes companies that invest in their workforce. Too often, workers are nothing more than a line item in a budget – a cost to be minimized.

More businesses use temp workers and contractors and subcontractors. They pay lower wages, they provide less job security, fewer benefits, and almost no legal protections.

And workers get squeezed at both ends. Paychecks aren’t growing fast enough, yet workers budgets are stretched thin with the rising cost of darn near everything – housing, prescription drugs, college tuition, so much more.

We need to overhaul how we think about the American economy.

We know first of all, corporations don’t drive the economy, workers do. We grow the economy from the middle class out, not from the top down. Might be interesting to know that just this week, the FDIC announced that bank profits have continued to skyrocket, yet middle class wages have shrunk.*

If work isn’t valued, Americans can’t earn their way to a better life for their families, no matter how hard they work.

Last year’s tax bill was an opportunity to reset our priorities by focusing on American workers, focusing on the businesses that invest in them. A bunch of Democrats, a bunch of us, had plans to cut taxes for millions of American workers and businesses that create jobs here in the U.S. We fought to expand the earned-income tax credit and the child tax credit that reward work to put more money directly into the pockets of working families.

We worked to cut taxes for businesses, but only those businesses that treat their workers well and keep jobs in the United States. We want to encourage them to create even more good-paying jobs in the US, instead of rewarding them for sending jobs overseas.

But of course we know what happened.

Special interests went to work, Republicans rejected the Patriot Corporation Act. The result was a GOP tax bill that, again, rewards multinational corporations that ship jobs overseas and, of course, rewarding their CEOs.

While the typical pharmacy worker or restaurant cook or cashier or janitor in Cleveland or Cincinnati or Dayton or Mansfield – while the typical worker is getting an average tax cut of just 30-something dollars a month, someone making $800,000 a year gets a $5,100 tax cut every single month.

The bill actually created a new set of incentives – get this – to reward corporations that outsource jobs. It basically says, it basically hands out a 50 percent off coupon to companies that shut down in Youngstown and move to Mexico. They pay 21 percent rate. Corporations if you’re producing in Ohio in the United States, you move offshore, you’ll only pay 10.5 percent. It really is a 50 percent coupon off on their tax bill. Why would our government do that? Why would these special interests that run the Trump administration and the Congress possibly do that?

This tax bill, though, is far from the only threat American workers face.

Extremist judges, from the Supreme Court on, hand down decision after decision siding with corporations, choosing corporations over workers, corporations over – over – consumers, limiting workers’ power in the workplace.

The Supreme Court consistently stands on the side of large companies – companies that outsource jobs, instead of siding with workers. And it’s getting worse.

Right now more than a million and a half Americans live under the looming threat of drastic cuts to the pensions they earned over a lifetime of hard work.

Millions of Americans work long hours, but struggle to get by and don’t feel like anyone notices or cares – a feeling captured pretty well by something my friend Ohioan Rita Lewis said.

Rita is the widow of the teamster Butch Lewis and she had become an advocate herself fighting for the pensions workers earned.

Rita said, ‘It’s like we’re invisible.’

To the millions of American workers working too many hours for too little pay, let me tell you, you aren’t invisible to me, you are not invisible to Democratic officeholders in this country.

We see you. We hear you. We fight for you.

We fight for paid family leave. We fight for sick leave. We fight for overtime pay. We fight to give workers a say on the job. We fight to save America’s pensions. We fight for those small businesses that are helping in our pension system. We want to make it easy for everyone to save for retirement.

We work to encourage companies to invest in their greatest asset – you, the American worker. That’s what Democrats fight for on Labor Day. That’s what we’ll fight for tomorrow. That’s what we’ll fight for the rest of the year and next year too, every day throughout the year. Happy Labor Day to America’s great workforce – the American worker. Thank you so much.”

Any bolding has been added.

Senator Brown released a plan for American workers last year. You can read about it here: Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America.

Here is his latest campaign ad called “Dignity”:

“There is dignity in work. Whether you collect minimum wage, punch a clock or earn a salary, your hard labor should pay off in fair wages and benefits, affordable health care, in overtime pay when you earn it.”

~

Congress is in recess so House Leader Nancy Pelosi did not hold her weekly news conference on Thursday.

Her office issued some press releases marking the week’s events.

Pelosi Statement on 55th Anniversary of the March on Washington

San Francisco – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the 55th anniversary of the March on Washington, led by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on August 28, 1963:

“Fifty-five years ago, at the historic March on Washington, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shared his dream with the world, igniting the energy and activism of a generation to meet the ‘fierce urgency of now.’ Americans across the country heard his clarion call to action, and over decades of tireless advocacy achieved extraordinary progress to move our nation forward. But our journey toward justice is far from complete, and much of Dr. King’s vision and dream remain to be achieved.

“Today, we continue to fight insidious attacks against our nation’s values of equality, freedom and justice for all. Americans, particularly communities of color and hard-working families, face dire threats to their right to quality, affordable health care, an equitable education, access to the ballot box and equal justice under the law. These relentless, cynical assaults undermine our hard-won progress, and compel us, in the words of Dr. King, to continue to fight ‘to make real the promise of democracy.’

“From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 to city streets and town squares across America today, the words of Dr. King ring clear and true. The urgency of this moment reminds us all that it is incumbent upon each generation of proud Americans to renew our commitment to build a more perfect union. Democrats understand this sacred duty and are committed to fighting For The People as we work to drive progress that empowers all Americans, and ensures that our country remains a beacon of hope, opportunity and freedom for all.”

~

Pelosi Statement on Trump Administration’s Plan to Roll Back Title IX Protections

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released this statement after reports that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will issue a new rule making it harder for victims of campus assault and sexual abuse to seek justice, while lessening colleges’ responsibility to respond to incidents:

“Today is yet another chapter in the anti-student, anti-women and anti-equality agenda of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. The reported plan to roll back critical protections, increase the burden of proof and create extraordinary new barriers to justice for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses is an insult to students.

“Campus sexual assault is an epidemic in America, with one in four women experiencing sexual abuse on college campuses. Seven years ago, the Obama Administration had the courage to say ‘Enough is enough,’ and took historic steps to ensure that every student feels safe at school. Yet, Secretary DeVos has continuously worked to undermine Title IX’s critical protections and the rights of students in an effort to push her harmful ideology and destructive special interest agenda.

“Democrats will always protect students, victims and survivors – not betray them. As we stand firm against this administration’s relentless attacks on the rights of women and students, we will continue to fight For The People to ensure our government works for everyone.”

~

  6 comments for “Fighting Back: “On Labor Day, Democrats honor the men and the women who built this country and who continue to power our economy.”

  1. JanF
    September 1, 2018 at 8:15 am

    Nancy Pelosi on how Republicans celebrate Labor Day – by rolling back wage increases:

    Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi issued the following statement following President Trump’s decision to eliminate the federal workforce’s cost-of-living adjustment for 2019:

    “After adding nearly $2 trillion to the deficit with the GOP tax scam for the rich, President Trump is clawing back a needed pay raise from millions of hard-working Americans who serve our nation and keep our communities healthy, strong and safe.

    “President Trump’s action is the latest step in a GOP agenda where Big Pharma, big banks and the wealthiest 1 percent are handed massive, unpaid for tax breaks, but working families keep getting the short end of the stick. Many of the federal workers who will bear the brunt of President Trump’s fiscal hypocrisy are veterans who have continued their service to our country in civilian life.

    “As America prepares to celebrate Labor Day, Democrats honor all our nation’s working men and women and all they do to keep our country moving forward. We are committed to fighting For The People as we work to raise wages, lower costs and crack down on corruption so our government works for everyone.”

    Flat wages, record corporate profits – modest wage increases halted. THAT is “Unified Republican Government” and what we can end by voting for Democrats on November 6th.

  2. JanF
    September 1, 2018 at 8:51 pm

  3. JanF
    September 3, 2018 at 8:17 am

    Nancy Pelosi: HAPPY LABOR DAY WEEKEND

    Dear Democratic Colleague,

    As we all prepare to communicate with our friends in labor on Labor Day, I write to share some thoughts and plans.

    On September 5, 1882, 10,000 workers marched through the streets of New York City in what would become known as the first Labor Day Parade. Twelve years later, in 1894, Congress passed and President Grover Cleveland signed legislation to establish a national holiday acknowledging the contributions of workers to the strength, prosperity and well-being of America.

    Now, every Labor Day, our nation celebrates the hard-working Americans who are the heart of our economy and the backbone of our democracy. Indeed, the Middle Class has a union label on it!

    We also reflect on the transformational progress for working families that has been delivered by the American labor movement — from the 40-hour workweek, fair wages and overtime to workplace safety, family leave and the right to collective bargaining. But this GOP Congress and this President have worked relentlessly to stack the deck for wealthy corporations and against the hard-working men and women of labor, giving workers a raw deal.

    In our Better Deal, Democrats have made Giving Workers the Freedom to Negotiate A Better Deal a core pillar of our economic agenda:

    – Banning state laws that undermine workers’ freedom to join together and negotiate for better wages, benefits and working conditions;
    – Strengthening the right to strike;
    – Toughening penalties for predatory corporations that violate workers’ rights and safety;
    – Responding to the Supreme Court’s disastrous Janus decision;
    – Legislatively addressing the impending pension plan crisis.

    This is essential to our Democratic message and our agenda For The People:

    – Lowering health care costs and prescription drug prices;
    – Increasing pay through strong economic growth by rebuilding America;
    – Cleaning up corruption to make Washington work for American people.

    Thanks the participation of so many House Democrats, we have Owned August. Together, we must continue to drive home our For The People message to the American people in the weeks ahead.

    Happy Labor Day!

  4. September 3, 2018 at 8:25 am

    EXCELLENT post, Jan, thank you! Senator Brown’s speech was impressive. It’s exactly in line with the sentiments expressed in the book I’m currently reading, Squeezed. The author describes how American families are falling out of the so-called “middle class.”

    My son’s ex-girlfriend, with whom I’m still friends, has moved to Japan from San Diego. Her husband got a job there for three years as a contractor. She said her little family of three wasn’t making it in San Diego and that after three to five years in Japan they may be able to save enough to buy a house when they return to the USA. They know what it is to be “right-sized” out of jobs and have suffered from joblessness, despite the fact that her husband is a computer expert.

    My younger son wouldn’t be in the middle class today if I hadn’t provided so much free child care for his family, and if his wife hadn’t landed a government job. She makes good money—so far. Who knows what will happen under Thing and his vicious policies?

    I often wonder why other countries have it so right and we have it so wrong.

  5. JanF
    September 4, 2018 at 6:16 am

    Most young people don’t even know what pensions are – they are a relic of the past when workers banded together to demand good wages and benefits. But retirement security is still something we should all care about.

  6. JanF
    September 6, 2018 at 7:02 pm

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