President Barack Obama’s 2011 Labor Day Speech [Transcript]


Today, the President addressed crowds in Detroit, Michigan, where he discussed the economy, jobs, the middle class and especially those who made the possible — unions.† Plus, video of the pre-speech crowd.

From President Barack Obama’s speech:

I am honored, we are honored, to spend this day with you and your families — the working men and women of America. This day belongs to you. You deserve a little R&R, a little barbecue — (laughter) — little grilling — because youíve been working hard. Youíve been working hard to make ends meet. Youíve been working hard to build a better life for your kids. Youíve been working hard to build a better Detroit. But thatís not all Iím going to talk to you about.

I also want to talk about the work youíve been doing for decades: Work to make sure that folks get an honest dayís pay for an honest dayís work. Work to make sure that families get a fair shake. The work you’ve done that helped build the greatest middle class the world has ever known. Iím talking about the work that got us a 40-hour workweek and weekends, and paid leave and pensions, and the minimum wage and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare — (applause) — the cornerstones of middle-class security. That’s because of your work.

If you want to know who helped lay these cornerstones of an American middle class you just have to look for the union label.

Thatís the bedrock this country is built on. Hard work. Responsibility. Sacrifice. Looking out for one another. Giving everybody a shot, everybody a chance to share in Americaís prosperity, from the factory floor to the boardroom. Thatís what unions are all about.

And thatís something thatís worth keeping in mind today. Weíve come through a difficult decade in which those values were all too often given short shrift. Weíve gone through a decade where wealth was valued over work, and greed was valued over responsibility. And the decks were too often stacked against ordinary folks in favor of the special interests. And everywhere I went while I was running for this office, I met folks who felt their economic security slipping away, men and women who were fighting harder and harder just to stay afloat. And that was even before the economic crisis hit, and that just made things even harder.

So these are tough times for working Americans. Theyíre even tougher for Americans who are looking for work Ė- and a lot of them have been looking for work for a long time. A lot of folks have been looking for work for a long time here in Detroit, and all across Michigan, and all across the Midwest, and all across the country. So weíve got a lot more work to do to recover fully from this recession.

But Iím not satisfied just to get back to where we were before the recession; weíve got to fully restore the middle class in America. And America cannot have a strong, growing economy without a strong, growing middle class and without a strong labor movement.

Thatís the central challenge that we face in our country today. Thatís at the core of why I ran for President. Thatís what Iíve been fighting for since Iíve been President. Everything weíve done, itís been thinking about you.

Click here to read the full transcript of Obama’s speech, via the Detroit Press.

photo credit: Chuck Kennedy, White House Photostream


Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Up early I see, Roger, all done with your pablum and juice box?

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Linda C. Let see if you're as morally grounded as you think. Diane O. said Obama was "Kenyan-like" after the story about Perry being "Bush-like" and refuses to explain that, maybe you can.

I expect nothing but silence.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

Linda C What a load of self-righteous crap! Try giving your uppity advice to the people who start this garbage. I don't start it, I give it back. Before you take the high road, make sure you're not carrying too much baggage, Linda.

Roger B.
Roger Bird5 years ago

Addressing those who do not hate Fox News as a knee-jerk: Fox New's lying about Hoffa proves that Fox is not conservative in any other way than they realized that a conservative venue would garner them more money than if they competed with ABC, CBS, NBC, and the rest of the lamestream media. So Fox News fit themselves into their own little niche, but they are still all about money and sensationalism, and they are not above lying if that is what it takes to make a story sensational.

Diane O.
Diane O.5 years ago

LindaC, I always enjoy reading your common sense posts. These attacks from the left are's what they do best....personally attack rather than discuss the topic. It's always the same three or four liberals. I'm never surprised at their comments.

What the polls show us every week is that President Obama isn't the golden boy any longer. He has lost the independent vote, the women's vote, and a portion of the African American community's vote. I'd say he is dying on the vine, wouldn't you? We have to ask ourselves how this community organizer managed to go from 100 down to nearly 30 percent in the polls. Is it because he has failed at every opportunity to do something right for our country.

Buyer's remorse presents itself in different ways as we witness here every day. If Glenn Beck called it buyer's remorse he isn't the only one. If Glenn Beck talked about The Cloward-Piven Strategy he isn't the only one. Both are true. One has to be blind not to see that Obama used it as his blueprint when campaigning and when he first took office. The American people stood up and stopped him. End of story.

Linda Clark
Linda C.5 years ago

Patrick F, coming from Washington State, very familiar with BC. That is where my family did a lot of vacationing as I was growing up. Even though I have been to Victoria and Vancouver, my favorite places are Kelowna (where a very close friend lives), Trail, Nelson, Kootenay Lake, and Kamloops. I have friends that live on Upper Arrow Lake (as you know is part of the Columbia River) at Nakusp. I have also spent a lot of time around Penticton. You live in a beautiful part of the World. I appreciate your passion for you beliefs, but I would rather focus on this than your constant need to attack those that don't share your view. Can't you agree that it is fine to disagree and remain respectful of those with differing views; they are not hurting you or your views and your name calling has the affect of hiding your views and opinions and gives people something completely different on which to focus. Please, let us see the your views not your disdainful and hateful comments.

Linda Clark
Linda C.5 years ago

Elizabeth K, one more thing, I have no idea what I have ever done to you; I don't know you and have never engaged in anything other than to post my thoughts and views; you attacked me with no provocation and that, of course is your choice if that is the way you chose to treat people. Your personal attacks do not bother me, bigger people have done so and quite frankly, I am comfortable with who I am and in my own life. Since you know nothing about me whatsoever, you can't do anything that would hurt me in any way. You just continue to attack and that is fine, good people see through it and I appreciate all their green stars. You can continue to think that I operate like you and your friends, changing identity to play dirty little games, but that is not my style. For anyone else wondering, I am exactly what my bio says, nothing more and nothing less and I have not been around Care2 that long, but for the most part there are few people, regardless of political views, that I can say I don't like. Just no time for the trolls that have nothing useful to do but personally attack and they are pathetic and don't bother me or my views one bit. And further, I have absolutely no fear of Democrats; been there and done that and, as my grandson would say, the only think that they "are all that and a bag of chips", and it is time to concentrate on the issues which they seem to be having a great deal of trouble doing.

Linda Clark
Linda C.5 years ago

Elizabeth K, as I said, cutting and pasting is not meant to be an original thought. It is taking the thoughts of someone else and evaluating those thoughts and also determining if they make one's own thoughts credible; but then since you never seem to have an original or new thought you probably would not have a clue as to that. That is precisely why, when cutting and pasting we give the source of our paste (title of article, author of article and web site address), very simple, really. The purpose is to learn, to seek facts, and to share our own experiences to substantiate or disprove the article, nothing more. That way we can avoid what you seem to have so much trouble with, spouting the same old rhetoric over and over. It also allows us to stay on topic rather than resorting to becoming a pathetic troll that does nothing more than bashing people for having a differing view. It is amazing that some people prefer to have mature debate rather than immature people bashing; you might try the meaningful debate sometime, you might find it much more enjoyable, but I don't hold out much hope for that. By the way, I am exactly who I say I am, are you? I strive for honesty, do you? I sincerely hope that you can come to terms with your hatred of the world and learn to enjoy life and people; it if isn't too late.

Don Isaksen
Don I.5 years ago

Obama didn,t say anything new at all. Same old load of horse puckey he tried to sell the country before, without any job growth. Virtually NO infrastructure in the US was repaired with the money that was supposed to be allocated from that stimulus. Almost three years after Seattle was given over $20 Million for refurbishing 2000 homes and create 2000 new jobs. A year later, only 14 jobs were created (almost all of them beurocrats monitoring the $20 Million, and only 3 houses have been refurbished. What an impressive record in LACK OF Fulfillment of stimlus funding.

We need to concentrate on creating PRIVATE sector jobs that are created by the private business owners money. We can't afforc to spend more money on Obama's losing causes. That's already been done, and it failed miserably.

Patrick F.
Patrick f.5 years ago

or copying and pasting Beck,hhaha