Still Fighting for a Better Quality of Life for Working Families

At its founding in the late 1800’s, the intent of Labor Day was to provide a holiday that would be an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. It also provided a day of respite for factory workers, bricklayers, miners, railroad workers, and countless others who were toiling in the height of America’s Industrial Revolution, a time when fighting for a 40-hour workweek was still a battle long from being won.

Here in the Hawaii, the labor battles continued well into the second half of the 20th Century, with unions and the territory’s Democratic Party still working hard to secure better rights, wages, and benefits for plantation workers, government employees, dock and shipyard workers, construction laborers, technicians and tradesmen, hospital and hotel workers, and others.

We celebrate their achievements on this day. But we recognize there is still progress to be made.
Today, too many in Hawai‘i face a new struggle for a 40-hour workweek, when they have to put in overtime or hold multiple jobs just to make ends meet.

When families in Central, West and Leeward O‘ahu endure 10, 15 or even 20 hours of commuting each week to their jobs and back home again.

When small business owners – tens of thousands of them in Honolulu – work tirelessly to do whatever it takes everyday to stay in business and succeed.

And, of course, our 24/7 visitor economy means thousands of men and women are always at work nights, weekends and holidays, as are our First Responders … even on Labor Day.

The fact is, people work really, really hard in Hawai‘i.

So today, we honor all of Hawai‘i’s working people, and commit ourselves to bettering their lives, for today and for generations to come.

As Mayor, I commit to continue doing everything in my power to improve the overall quality of life for all working families here on O‘ahu. To put people first, before process, profit or political ideology.
Mahalo, and enjoy your holiday!