Harry S. Truman photo

Statement by the President: Labor Day.

August 31, 1946

[Released August 31, 1946. Dated August 15, 1946]

THIS LABOR DAY is one of great importance. We can look into the future today with confidence, but not with tranquillity.

We still have a big job to do, and a long way to go, to assure the domestic prosperity and international understanding necessary to prevent depressions and war. But we can do it if we keep in our minds constantly that people are our most important asset. We must utilize them and conserve them.

The largest part of reconversion has been accomplished, and much of the credit for the job done goes to the workers of this great Union of states and free people.

Labor Day is a day set aside for labor by Act of Congress; a day to review the accomplishments of working men and women, and to restate the aims and ambitions and needs of all those who work with their hands and minds.

Since last Labor Day, these men and women have brought production to new peacetime highs. Their work has produced a flood of goods to meet the needs of the people who did without many essentials and most comforts during the war years. These consumers have upheld price and rent controls during the difficult postwar period of inflationary pressure, and at the same time, as industrial and farm and home workers, they have supported their stand with record production.

As a nation of working people, we can maintain and increase the large production and nearly full employment which we have attained, if we carry on together as we did during wartime.

Labor, management and farmers, with the help of government wherever it could be useful, have made this great start toward peacetime readjustment. If we continue to cooperate, to work, and to produce, we can attain a richness of life that will be a credit and a benefit to all of us now living, and a real hope and promise to those who come after us.

We must retain the safeguards against exploitation which labor won after the last depression. Labor must continue to have the opportunity, through free collective bargaining and free political action, to improve the lot of workers and to increase their participation in public affairs.

Labor, perhaps more than any other group, has consistently supported the objectives set forth in Franklin D. Roosevelt's memorable "Economic Bill of Rights." We must now move forward to full achievement of these objectives: useful and remunerative jobs for all; incomes high enough to provide adequate food, clothing and recreation; freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopoly; adequate health protection; more effective social security measures; and educational opportunity for all.

Labor, too, has been in the forefront of the battle to end intolerance and wipe out bigotries of race, creed and color.

I salute the hosts of labor for their magnificent job in wartime and in the beginnings of peace, and urge them on to further efforts in behalf of the rights and dignity of mankind.

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/232062

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