Sweeney Attends 125th Annual Peter J. McGuire Labor Day Observance

Trenton – Senate President Steve Sweeney attended the 125th Annual Peter J. McGuire Labor Day Observance today. The event was hosted by the Southern New Jersey AFL-CIO Central Labor Council, a democratically elected body dedicated to representing the interests of working people at the state and local level and one of nearly 500 state and local labor councils of the AFL-CIO.

“When New Jersey made Labor Day a state holiday in 1887, workers – including children as young as 11 and 12 – were still working 10-hour days and six-day workweeks,” said Senator Sweeney (D-Gloucester/Salem/Cumberland). “Peter McGuire and the labor movement changed everything. They advocated for workers to band together in order to demand better wages, hours and working conditions. They made the eight-hour day and the five-day workweek a reality. They built the middle class and raised not only wages, but also expectations.

“I am proud New Jersey continues to be a place where workers and their rights are valued and respected. This is reflected upon with the recent establishment of earned sick leave, Secure Choice helping workers save for retirement, the passage of stiffer wage theft penalties and the strengthening of prevailing wage enforcement. We still have much to accomplish, but we are thankful for Peter McGuire’s commitment to worker’s rights because his work is what got us here today,” Senator Sweeney said.

Peter J. McGuire was the founder of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America. He was one of the most influential early leaders of the American Federation of Labor. He was a major voice in the fight for the five-day, 40-hour workweek, and was a driving force behind the adoption of Labor Day as a national holiday.

“It was an honor to have Senate President Steve Sweeney speak at the 125th Annual Peter J. McGuire Labor Day Observance. It’s incredibly important to have a voice like Senator Sweeney leading the Legislature and fighting for workers,” said Robert F. Schiavinato, President of Southern NJ AFL-CIO. “His background as a union iron worker resonates with laborers throughout the state and to see Senator Sweeney leading the Senate is a powerful testament to New Jersey’s strong union history.”