WASHINGTON– President Joe Biden, who often calls himself the most pro-union president in history, heads to Philadelphia on Monday for the annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade.
The Democratic president is expected to speak about the importance of unions in the United States and how the economy is recovering from the crippling coronavirus pandemic.
Labor Day, a holiday honoring working people, comes as the United States has created jobs and more people have started looking for work, the most since January, all news Biden is eager to point out as he seeks re-election in 2024.
“As we head into Labor Day, we should step back and take note that America is currently in one of the strongest periods of job creation in our history,” said Biden on Friday from the Rose Garden, where he spoke. after news that US employers added 187,000 jobs in August, evidence of a slowing but still resilient labor market despite high interest rates imposed by the Federal Reserve.
The Department of Labor report released on Friday also showed that the unemployment rate fell from 3.5% to 3.8%, the highest level since February 2022 although it remains low by historical standards. But that rate has increased for an encouraging reason: 736,000 people started looking for work last month, the highest number since January, and not all of them found jobs immediately. Only people who are actively looking for a job are counted as unemployed.
“People are leaving the field and going back to their place of work,” Biden said.
Biden has used executive actions to promote worker organizing, personally praised the organizing efforts of industry giants like Amazon, and authorized federal funding to help union pensions. Last week, the Biden administration proposed a new rule to make 3.6 million more American workers eligible for overtime pay, the most generous increase in decades.
Biden has also traveled the country, trumpeting how unions are building bridges and improving rail tunnels as part of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion public works program passed by Congress in 2021.
“Unions are raising standards within the workforce and sectors, raising wages and strengthening benefits for all,” Biden said Friday. “You’ve heard me say over and over: Wall Street didn’t build America. The middle class built America and unions built the middle class.
The 36th annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration is hosted by the AFL-CIO of Philadelphia, whose website says it includes more than 100 local unions representing more than 150,000 workers.