Proclamation 6688—Labor History Month, 1994
By the President of the United States of America
For more than a century, the labor movement in the United States has served as a major force for our economic and social progress as a Nation.
American trade unionists have fought for and achieved benefits for all citizens. At the turn of the century, the average worker made about ten dollars for a 60-hour week, and more than 2 million children similarly worked long hours for even less pay. Prior to the formation of a national labor movement in 1881, safe working conditions, regular hours, decent living wages, paid holidays, and vacations were often mere dreams. Emergency and family leave were almost unimaginable.
The struggle of American workers against these appalling circumstances transformed our Nation. Disasters, like the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire and the 1991 Hamlet Poultry Fire, and triumphs, like the Sanitation Workers struggle for dignity and union representation in 1968, have played a significant role in shaping American life. By studying labor history, we find the foundations of work life in America—the 8-hour day, the 40-hour week, security in unemployment and old age, protection for the sick and injured, equal employment opportunity, protection for children, and health and safety standards. In addition, labor history shows that American workers were in the forefront of the effort to make public education available for every child.
As an American, I am proud of the accomplishments of our labor movement, through which we all enjoy better lives. In issuing this proclamation to observe Labor History Month, I recognize that our work for economic and social progress in America is not over. As we approach the 21st century, the next chapter of labor history must be characterized by a strong voice for America's workers. This will include establishing partnerships of employers and workers, cooperating to achieve safe, high-performance work environments, improving the skills of American workers and the competitiveness of American businesses, and enhancing human dignity in the American workplace.
Now, Therefore, I, William J. Clinton, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim the month of May 1994, as "Labor History Month." I call upon the people of the United States to observe this period with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this tenth day of May, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and ninety-four, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and eighteenth.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
William J. Clinton, Proclamation 6688—Labor History Month, 1994 Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/219708