Skip to Content

NEA President: Unions are necessary for democracy and a vibrant middle class

Van Roekel recognizes importance of Labor Day

WASHINGTON—August 31, 2012 -National Education Association (NEA) President Dennis Van Roekel issued the following statement today in recognition of Labor Day.

“This Labor Day I am reflecting on the story of America.  It is the story of its working people—a story of our struggles, our successes, and our hopes for a better future for us and our families. On Labor Day, we celebrate those struggles and successes, including those of public school workers.

“It’s only fitting that on Labor Day we remember the role that organized labor has played in our nation’s history—from securing victories for working families, including the 40-hour-work week, to ending child labor and earning vacation time.

“Labor unions continue to lead the way for the American working people to achieve economic security and progress by giving workers a bigger say in our economy and our political system. Organized labor—working families—built the middle class and, along the way, raised our standard of living and made democracy work for all. These are the people who teach our children, build our bridges and roads, and protect our communities and our country.

“Labor Day will also be the kick-off to the Democratic National Convention where Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination for President. President Obama understands that unions make democracy work and he respects and supports the rights of middle class workers.

“Together with President Obama this Labor Day, we must reaffirm our commitment to giving working American families a strong voice. We will continue to support policies that will bring economic security, prosperity, and social justice to middle class families, to our members and their families, and the students we serve.”

To mark Labor Day, NEA has compiled a list of resources for educators and parents. NEA’s resources include historical timelines of the labor movement, lesson plans and research pieces examining the need for continued work on behalf of the American worker.

To learn more about NEA’s Labor Day resources, click here.

Follow us on twitter at
To get involved, visit:

# # #

The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing more than 3 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.

 CONTACT:  Miguel A. Gonzalez (202) 822-7823,

NEA President: Unions are necessary for democracy and a vibrant middle class