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Organized labor must be an active player in rebuilding the middle class

WASHINGTON - September 07, 2009 -

In a speech today at a Labor Day event, President Barack Obama recognized the critical role organized labor has played in achieving the most significant gains for working families throughout U.S. history. The leader of the nation’s largest labor union said organized labor must now rise to the challenge of helping to rebuild the middle class.

The following can be attributed to NEA President Dennis Van Roekel:

“Organized labor has been instrumental in securing historic victories for working families, including the 40 hour work week, ending child labor, and earning vacation time. Labor unions built the American middle class, and in these tough economic times this organizing is more important than ever. Without the pressure of strong labor unions, we have consistently seen industries fail to provide living wages and adequate health care. NEA and its allies are committed to securing health care and workplace protections for our 3.2 million members and for every American.  We must fight for the policies that will bring economic security to this country, while preparing a next generation of leaders to compete in a global economy. ”

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The National Education Association is the nation’s largest professional organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

CONTACT: Sara Robertson
(202) 822-8978,