Note: Here is a Labor Day message for you. Use as a letter to the editor or as you see fit. Perhaps you may wish to post it for your members.

Labor Day: Honor Thy Workers
 Few Americans outside the trade union movement understand the key roles working men and women play in the ongoing struggle to win social justice and economic dignity for all. When 10,000 workers staged the nation's first Labor Day parade in New York City in 1882, they demanded that those contributions be recognized. They were united in their efforts to win a better quality of life, and rightfully so.

 Fair wages, safe and healthy workplaces, the eight-hour day, overtime pay, paid vacations and holidays, health insurance, family leave and educational benefits are just a few of the basic standards that were pioneered by the trade union movement. They are enjoyed by millions of working Americans, whether or not they carry a union card.

 These workplace standards are the linchpins of American democracy and the cornerstones of a resilient economy that is the envy of the world.

 The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) and our brothers and sisters in other unions such as ours were the driving force behind efforts to ban child labor in America and build our universal public education system. Our apprenticeship programs refine job skills and craft standards that assure high-quality, highly reliable products for consumers around the globe.

 We cannot take these accomplishments for granted. Those brave men and women who so gallantly struggled to bring us these gifts set an example we must always strive to match. Without some knowledge of our history as working people, we are left disarmed and defenseless-unable to hold onto to what we have or win more of what we need.

 Knowledge is, indeed, power. The great battles and debates of our past are rich with lessons that can guide and inspire us today, lessons that can illuminate the path that lies before us. Corporate America well knows this point. That is why the true history of America's workers is almost never taught in our public schools, featured in the movies or shown on television.

 We are the living link in a chain that spans the past and reaches into the future. It is up to us to pass along the gains our parents fought to secure and to build upon that foundation as best we can. It is up to us to pass along the lessons we have learned-our collective heritage-so the next generation of working Americans may benefits from our successes and learn from our mistakes.

 That's what Labor Day is all about. It's about honoring the working men and women who built the most advanced, the most powerful, the world's most successful experiment in Democracy. It's about freedom and justice.

Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave and great abolitionist leader said this about another noble cause, but his words ring true today: "We are one, our cause is one, and we must help each other if we are to succeed."