Happy Labor Day!

Today we celebrate all American workers and the Labor Movement that has achieved the greatest standard of living in the world.  The labor movement grew over the past century largely as a result of immigrant workers who fought for a living wage and safer working conditions.  They could not have accomplished their goals without banding together in labor unions and presenting a solid front to those who controlled the economy.

The Labor Movement brought us the minimum wage, a 40 hour work week, social security, paid vacation and sick time, and, by working with management, employer-sponsored health insurance. During WW II workers and industry stepped up together to accomplish a miracle which saved the world from totalitarianism, and afterword to build a society that rivals all others.

The Democratic Party continues to stand with Labor to build on the progress of the past which has been eroded over time.  The federal minimum wage of $7.50/hour is no longer adequate to support a family with both parents working 40 hours per week. While Vermont's minimum wage ($10.50/hour) is substantially better, it is still not a living wage.  Employer-sponsored health insurance still plays an important part in our economy, but is not universal.  The Affordable Care Act has extended health care insurance to 90% of Americans, but Vermont Health Connect has had major problems that still must be fixed. And as a result of years of effort, Vermont now requires employers to provide earned sick leave to all employees working more than 18 hours per week.

These are key family values that are essential for a healthy society.  I will continue to support these values in my work as a State Legislator.  I wish everyone a happy Labor Day.