Tim Kaine and Joe Biden attended the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade in downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and spoke on behalf of the American worker and the need for strong labor unions, in Tim Kaine’s words, for “an economy that’s about fairness…an economy that works for everybody,” Joe Biden told the crowd flat out, in contrast to the GOP’s celebration of corporations and CEOs, that “Unions have built this country.”
Tim Kaine’s remarks:
“Labor Day is personal to me. It’s personal to me. I grew up in a family where my dad ran an ironworker-organized welding shop in the stockyards of Kansas City, Missouri. My dad was the owner; he was management. He had five employees in a tough year and 12 employees in a good year, plus my two brothers and me and my mom. That was the business. My dad always taught us, as my brothers and I worked in that plant, that his business acumen would put his workers’ kids through school, but that it was the skill and artistry of union ironworkers that would put my brothers and me through school. It was about a partnership. It was about shared prosperity. It wasn’t about a CEO disconnected from the workers. It was a CEO connected to the workers because we’ve got to be about shared prosperity. And we know we don’t have to have a society where it’s union against management, where it’s worker against employer. Things work better when we work as a team and we work in partnership. That’s how I came up. That’s what I believe. That’s what Hillary Clinton believes.
“Hillary was born also to a family that had a small business – a drapery manufacturing business in the suburbs of Chicago. Just like my brothers and I would go down on weekends and summers to help my dad when he had to put an order out, Hillary would go help her dad and her brothers would do it too when they had to get some drapes printed to sell to the hotels that were their customers of their small family business.”
In a pointed reference to Donald Trump, Kaine said,
“This stuff about growing an economy that works for everybody, we haven’t been sitting in an ivory tower looking out at the world; we’ve not ever been sitting in penthouses looking out at the world.”
Trump says American workers are overpaid. Kaine, as President Obama did in his Labor Day open letter, set him straight, telling the crowd,
“We’ve got to have an economy that’s about fairness – the right to organize, the right to be paid equal pay for equal work. An increased minimum wage so that nobody who works full-time in this country is below the poverty level. Childcare tax credits so that people can do the work that they need to do without worrying about how their children will be taken care of. So basic equity investments.
“Last week a study confirmed what we knew all along, that in a nation when fewer workers are in unions, wages are lower, and when more workers are in unions, wages are higher. That’s one of the values that we celebrate in the pledges that we make on Labor Day.”
Joe Biden followed with a rousing endorsement of Tim Kaine, saying of the vice presidential nominee that “he has more experience in every branch of government than anybody who’s ever stepped into this job as vice president.”
“So folks, let me get to it. No one has to tell Tim who built this state. And I mean this sincerely. No one has to tell Tim who built this country. No one has to educate him to why, why non-union workers have a decent wage, why non-union workers are not discriminated against, why non-union workers have safe working places. It’s all because of you. Unions. Unions. And this guy understands. He knows how to pronounce the word ‘union.’ Remember for a while there, we had old Democrats who’d talk about ‘organized labor.’ Union. Union. Union. Not a joke. Unions have built this country, Congressman. Nobody knows it better than you. They have literally, not figuratively, built this country.
“The sacrifices unions have made, all the dues you’ve paid, all the picket lines you’ve marched in, all of that has benefitted not only you, it’s benefitted every American worker. Every American worker. You’ve done more for non-union labor than any other entity in the world, and that’s not hyperbole. Non-union workers have all the benefits they have because you have taken risks for them. Does anybody think there’d be a minimum wage without union workers?”
The Democratic Party stood up for the American worker today, while Donald Trump was complaining about how he might be treated by foreign leaders, about creating jobs President Obama has already created, and pretending he actually cares about anyone but his own inflated ego.
These two men, our current vice president and the man we hope will follow him into that office, spoke as Americans, to their fellow Americans, not from some ivory tower, secure in their inherited wealth, but from the place where they once stood, working to get ahead, to improve themselves, working class Americans who achieved the American dream through their own efforts.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.