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Biden heads to Philadelphia for a Labor Day parade and is expected to speak on the importance of unions

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden, who often says he is the most pro-labor president in history, heads to Philadelphia Monday for the annual Tri-State Labor Day Parade.

The Democratic president is expected to speak about the importance of unions in the United States and how the economy is recovering from the crippling coronavirus pandemic.

Labor Day, a holiday honoring workers, comes as the U.S. has added jobs and more people have started looking for work, most since January, all news Biden is keen to highlight as he seeks re-election in 2024.

“As we enter Labor Day, we need to step back and take note that America is now in one of the strongest job-creating periods in our history,” Biden said Friday from the Rose Garden, speaking after news that US employers added 187,000 jobs in August, evidence of a slowing but still resilient labor market despite high interest rates imposed by the Federal Reserve.

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Friday’s report from the Department of Labor also found that the unemployment rate rose from 3.5% to 3.8%, the highest level since February 2022, but still low by historical standards. But the figure rose for an encouraging reason: 736,000 people started looking for work last month, the most since January, and not everyone found a job right away. Only people who are actively looking for a job are counted as unemployed.

“People are coming off the sidelines and returning to their workplaces,” Biden said.

Biden has used executive action to promote worker organization, personally applauded labor union efforts at corporate giants like Amazon, and authorized federal funding to support union members’ pensions. Just last week, the Biden administration proposed a new rule that would make an additional 3.6 million American workers eligible for overtime, the most generous increase in decades.

Biden has also toured the country announcing how unionized workers are building bridges and improving train tunnels as part of the bipartisan $1.1 trillion public works package that Congress passed in 2021.

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“Unions are raising standards for the workforce and industries, raising wages and amplifying benefits for all,” Biden said Friday. You’ve often heard me say, Wall Street didn’t build America. The middle class built America, and the unions built the middle class.”

The Tri-State Labor Day Parade and Family Celebration is organized by the Philadelphia AFL-CIO, which its website says includes more than 100 local unions representing more than 150,000 workers.

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