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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
AFL-CIO Labor Day Event with POTUS
Milwaukee, WI
Monday, September 6, 2010

Good afternoon everyone.

Thank you President Trumka for that warm introduction.

There is no more passionate or capable advocate for working people than Rich Trumka, and I'm proud to call him a friend.

Rich's leadership at the AFL-CIO has been phenomenal, and his work not only benefits his members, but all working families across the country.

So thank you Rich, for that introduction, and for everything you do each and every day.

I also want to thank your Congressional leaders — David Obey, Tammy Baldwin and Gwen Moore.

It was a pleasure to work with them when I was a member of the House and I can tell you that you have some of the most dedicated Congressional members and they are fighting for you everyday.

And I want to recognize your outstanding Governor — Jim Doyle as well. Thank you for being here.

It's a pleasure to be in the great state of Wisconsin and in the beautiful city of Milwaukee.

Like many of you, I have attended many Labor Day celebrations and marches in my lifetime.

Labor Day is a time to acknowledge and honor the men and women that do all of the work that makes America what it is today.

And it's a time to remember all of the hard work done by men and women before us that allowed for an increase in the minimum wage... for expanding overtime laws... for safe workplace rules... and for the opportunity for working people like my union parents to have big dreams for their children.

And we know that no one works harder, with more creativity and relentless drive than Americans.

But while we are enjoying barbecues and time with our families this Labor Day, we must also remind ourselves that many families in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and across this country are still facing difficult economic times.

I can tell you that President Obama knows that these aren't numbers, but that they're real people... real families... and that's why he's instructed all of us to do everything we can to get America back to work.

We started with the Recovery Act, which made unprecedented investments for a new clean energy economy, revitalized infrastructure and transportation, helped transform health information technology, and helped make America more competitive for generations to come.

And although the Republicans criticized him, the President stepped up and saved both Chrysler and GM, keeping manufacturing jobs in America.

When others told him to give up, he made clear that failure was not an option.

We cut taxes for middle class families, and made it easier for small businesses to hire new workers.

Over the last 18 months I have traveled the country, meeting with workers, employers, educators, union, and faith leaders.

I've seen first-hand what good jobs can mean for our nation, and I've seen the devastation that the loss of a job can mean for a family.

I've met plumbers, auto workers, engineers, teachers, and nurses who do not want a hand out, but a hand-up.

They are proud of their work and want the opportunity to contribute to our country and provide for their families.

And after 18 months, I have never been more confident that we are headed in the right direction, or more certain that our country must put creating jobs ahead of partisan roadblocks and petty political games.

On Labor Day, we celebrate the American worker.

That's why President Obama and I are so committed to creating jobs and getting Americans back to work.

I know your Governor... your senators... your members of Congress... your local leaders... your unions... and all of you are doing everything in your power to turn this economy around.

That's what this Labor Day should be about for us — Labor Day shouldn't be a day “off", but a day "on."

Let's use Labor Day as a day where we all personally commit to play a role in the recovery of our economy and our nation.

Let's use the day as an opportunity to mentor a young person, or volunteer at a Veteran's center... or just help a friend looking for a job.

Let's all do the work that will get America working.

To each and every one of you: YOUR Labor Secretary wishes you a safe and happy Labor Day.

Thank you very much. God bless you and God bless America.