Congresswoman Lee Marks Labor Day with Call for More Action to Support Working Americans

Oakland, CA – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee released this statement marking Labor Day:

“Today, we, as a nation, pause to remember the triumphs of the labor movement and the ongoing contributions of American workers to our nation.

America’s workers are the most productive in the history of the world. Breakthroughs in technology, manufacturing and the digital revolution had increased worker productivity and have help build our world-leading economy.

Yet, despite these advancements, wages have remained largely stagnant and growing income inequality threatens our long-term economic stability and growth.

Women, communities of color and veterans still face significant hurdles including higher than average unemployment, pay inequality, and a lack of economic mobility. That’s simply wrong.

A fair day’s work deserves a fair day’s pay.

One reason wages have remained frozen is because the minimum wage is far too low.

We need to stop talking about a bare minimum wage that keeps hardworking families trapped in poverty. Instead, we need to start working towards real, living wages that empowers families to pursue the American dream.

In addition to our domestic policies, we must re-evaluate our trade policies that have far too often disadvantaged American workers, especially in communities of color.

Over the past 20 years, unfair trade agreements have shipped American jobs overseas while depressing wage here at home.  In Congress, I’m committed to fighting for trade policies that empower Americans workers instead of shipping good-paying jobs abroad.

This Labor Day, I hope my colleagues will remember that America’s workers are the foundation of our economy. In order to have a strong and growing economy, we must invest in all workers, ensure equality of opportunity and create pathways into the middle class.” 


Congresswoman Lee is a member of the Appropriations and Budget Committees, the Steering and Policy Committee, is a Senior Democratic Whip, former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus and co-chair of the Progressive Caucus. She serves as chair of the Whip’s Task Force on Poverty and Opportunity.