Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President: Labor Day.

September 04, 1948

THE FOURTH Labor Day since the war affords us an opportunity to pay tribute to the achievements of American labor in the tremendous task of reconverting our economy to a peacetime basis.

The skill and energy of American workers have played a major part in the national effort which has resulted in today's all-time high records in employment, production, income, and profits.

Despite great stresses and strains, in general we have succeeded in working as a team. Labor, agriculture, and business have all worked to boost our national production and our standard of living.

Free collective bargaining and our free enterprise economy have proved their strength during these trying years and the production of American workers has helped to make our Nation the cornerstone in international efforts to bring about world recovery and prosperity and a lasting peace. American labor has never wavered in its support of our bipartisan effort to win peace by aiding other nations in their effort toward industrial recovery.

Our goal now is to continue to increase our production and our standard of living.

Equally important, we must improve the fairness of the distribution of the fruits of our labor.

Our American way of life is the best way of life in the world. But we can and must improve it. Some workers see their actual earnings reduced, despite pay increases, by the rising tide of inflation. We must act to end this economic dislocation. We must curb inflation before it leads us to economic disaster.

Some workers lack the protection of a decent minimum wage. We must relieve such injustice and increase the minimum wage level from 40 cents an hour to at least

75 cents an hour.

Too many workers lack the protection of adequate social security and a national health insurance program. We must provide this security for them.

All American workers lack the services which should and could be provided by an integrated Department of Labor provided with adequate staff and adequate funds. This situation must be remedied.

Finally, there is at present on the statute books a law which unfairly restricts labor unions and their members. It should be repealed.

Better legislation on labor-management relations is an absolute necessity in the program to increase our economic strength and to improve our national standard of living.

This year labor, always interested in good government, is making great efforts to get out the vote in November. It is to be hoped that every eligible voter--not just the customary minority of those eligible--will go to the polls and register an opinion on what course the United States should take in the days ahead. Then, the outcome will be the decision of all America.

Labor was in the forefront when our democracy was challenged on the battlefield and in the factory. We all know that labor will be in the forefront in meeting the challenge of today's peacetime problems to that same democracy.

Harry S Truman, Statement by the President: Labor Day. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/232761

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