Each year on Labor Day, we honor the workers who built this country, and who continue to power our economy today. American workers are our greatest asset and the engine behind our nation’s success.
This year, we particularly thank all of the essential workers who have supported our state and our country through this pandemic, many of whom aren’t able to spend the day with families and friends at picnics and barbeques, because they don’t have the day off.
They’re working hard to support their families, often for too little pay. We’re working to change that.
We take pride in hard work in this country, and we believe that all work has dignity – no matter who you are, where you live or what kind of work you do. But for far too many people, hard work isn’t paying off.
For decades, corporations have had all the power in our economy and we see the results: productivity has gone up, stock prices have soared, executive compensation is stratospheric – but wages have barely budged.
That is, until now.
We’re creating record numbers of jobs, wages are starting to go up, and for the first time in decades, workers are beginning to gain some power in our economy. We finally have a government on the side of workers – we put workers at the center of our trade policy, our tax policy, the infrastructure investments we’re working on, and the American Rescue Plan we passed in March.
Of course, our work is far from finished. Today, we honor the labor movement that built this country, and we recommit ourselves to the fights ahead.
Our fight is not over until every American is paid the living wage they’ve earned, until everyone can afford child care, health care and housing, until everyone has retirement security, and paid leave and power over their lives and schedules, and until everyone can find a good job in their hometown.
To do that – to empower workers – we must pass the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, the PRO Act. It would finally level the playing field between workers and corporations in union organizing.
We know that a union card is a ticket to a middle-class life. We just need corporations to let workers organize and take control over their careers and futures.
When you love this country, you fight for the people who make it work. That’s what our labor movement has done for more than a century. It’s how we built the middle class and it’s what we must continue to do, until all hard work pays off for all Ohioans.
Sherrod Brown is the senior U.S. senator from Ohio.