THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary (Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts)
LABOR DAY, 1997
Warm greetings to all Americans as we commemorate our nation's 103rd Labor Day holiday.
This year, we have cause to celebrate on behalf of the men and women who toil to help secure our country's economic well-being, because on this Labor Day the minimum wage increases to $5.15 per hour. This raise will help nearly 10 million hard-working Americans build a better future. Thomas Jefferson once said, "In matters of principle, stand like a rock." This increase in the minimum wage affirms our commitment to "stand like a rock" for our working families and their right to jobs that provide fair compensation.
As we celebrate Labor Day, we should also give thanks to those who came before us and who strived to improve working conditions and create fair labor laws. Many risked their livelihoods and often their very lives to ensure that children, who once worked in mines and factories, could go to school; that laborers could work without risking injury; and that Americans who toiled throughout the week would be rewarded with a decent living and time to raise their families. These reformers brought dignity to the workplace and integrity to our society.
Workers are the heart and soul of our nation. Yet, we will only see wages grow and the number of jobs steadily increase for those workers if we emphasize education and training, partner-ship between labor and management, and responsibility by all for improving the quality of the goods and services we produce. In the twilight of this century, it is our responsibility to prepare our workers for the challenges of the next. As we pause today to celebrate the many contributions of the American worker, let us rededicate ourselves to this important effort.
Best wishes to all for a memorable Labor Day.
WILLIAM J. CLINTON
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