A Labor Day Message from IAM President Tom Buffenbarger

As many of us gather for parades, barbecues and festivities in honor of the many men and women – past and present – who toil day in and day out in hopes of a better life, let us not forget the 31 million who will be celebrating this Labor Day from the unemployment line.

Let us not forget that their burden is not theirs to carry alone. Let Labor Day serve as a reminder that the jobless are jobless through no fault of their own. They are casualties of the gravest recession since the Great Depression – and they deserve our help.

They deserve our support. And, providing that support is as easy as stepping into a voting booth.

On Tuesday, November 2nd, the United States will hold its 2010 midterm elections. On the ballot are candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senate, governors, state legislators, county executives, city council members, etc. For some, their time in office was well spent. In the wake of the historic economic crisis, they put aside political gains and made working families, job creation and economic recovery their top priorities. For others, it didn’t matter the straits, their time in office was simply about doing (and undoing) everything in their power to make sure the other side lost.

For some, it was about uplifting the jobless and letting them know they’re not alone. For others, it was about eating away at the unemployed’s self-worth. The words “hobos, lazy and spoiled” – and those who spoke them – will never be forgotten. Their words have waged a personal vendetta against the unemployed. And we will not let them win.

We will not let them triumph in a hiring market where unemployed workers outnumber job openings five-to-one.

We will not let them succeed at perpetuating an economic climate where some employers run job ads saying: “THE UNEMPLOYED NEED NOT APPLY.”

We will not let them choose Wall Street over hard-working, everyday Americans.

From this Labor Day until November 2nd, we each have a job to do. We must vigorously support those candidates who will create and support hard-hitting jobs legislation and policies.

We must secure endorsement of the Union of Unemployed’s Hire US, America plan, a 21-point strategy for reversing the jobs crisis. Hire US, America demands policies that discourage the outsourcing of American jobs, create a Works Progress Administration-style jobs program and enact a financial transactions tax. Other provisions include a national industrial policy, a Tier 5 unemployment extension and an increase in aid to states, counties and municipalities in order to retain teachers, police and firefighters.

So I ask you, this November 2nd, what will you do? Will you go to the polls and cast a vote for the unemployed? I pray the answer is yes.

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