Ronald Reagan kicked off his 1980 campaign for the presidency on the banks of the Hudson River, overlooking the Statue of Liberty, on Labor Day in 1980 with a promise to “make America great again.”
Standing side-by-side with the father of Poland’s Solidarity movement, Lech Walesa, Reagan proclaimed that “where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”
The event was billed as an “ethnic picnic.” According to the New York Times, the flags of several eastern European countries flapped in the wind.
One year ago today on Labor Day George Meany told the American people, “As American workers and their families return from their summer vacations, they face growing unemployment and inflation, a climate of economic anxiety and uncertainty.” One year ago, George Meany predicted just exactly what has happened to us.
Well, I pledge to you in his memory, that the voice of the American worker will once again be heard and heeded in Washington and that the climate of fear that he spoke of will no longer threaten workers and their families.
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