Union Workers Gather for Labor Day Picnic
September 2, 2013, 2:27 pm
By Jeremy Scott
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Union members and several Oregon dignitaries including Governor John Kitzhaber attended the Labor Day picnic at Oaks Park. The annual event is sponsored by the Northwest Oregon Labor Council.
The governor is focused on the creation of living wage jobs that "give people the ability to actually make a living, take care of their basic needs, and leave their kids better off than they were. That's the American dream!"
Kitzhaber says education and retraining are a huge part of that.
Senator Ron Wyden is pushing his legislation to create incentives for employers that make jobs at home instead of sending them overseas.
"It takes away that tax break for doing business overseas and rewards those who create the high skill, high wage jobs, the ones that give people a better path for the future here in this country," said Sen. Wyden.
Speakers warned that Oregon is the target of the 'Right to Work' movement and the de-unionization of the state's workforce. The governor responded: "We are not going to let 'Right to Work' take root in Oregon. Not here, not now, not ever!"
Oregon was the first state in the country to pass legislation recognizing the first Monday in September as the "Workingman's Holiday" in 1887. It led to four other states that year making it law. With 23 states on board, Congress passed an act in 1894 declaring Labor Day a national holiday. The first such celebration was in New York in 1882.