Obama Marks Labor Day With Shout Out to Unions

Says organized labor can help bring back economy

Monday, Sep 7, 2009  |  Updated 2:15 PM EDT
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Obama Marks Labor Day With Shout Out to Unions

AP

President Obama greets the crowd as he arrives at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport for his Labor day speech.

President Obama marked Labor day with a call to union men and women to help him revive the struggling economy, saying "a strong labor movement is part of a strong economy."

In Cincinnati Monday to speak to thousands of union members at a picnic, Obama thank organized labor for its strong support and pledged to re-energize the Labor Department on behalf of working people. Noting the 9.7% unemployment rate, Obama said "we've still got a long way to go. So we will not rest. We will not let up."

He also said the "public option" of a federally run health care program should be part of U.S. health care reform, saying government involvement will bring prices down.

"I want a health insurance system that works as well for the American people as it does for the insurance industry. They should be free to make a profit. But they also have to be fair," the president added before asking the crowd of 5,000 people to support reform.

Obama chose the Labor Day union picnic in Cincinnati as the backdrop to announce his selection of Ron Bloom as senior counselor for manufacturing policy. Bloom planned to travel there with the president for an afternoon announcement at the AFL-CIO event.

Obama's speech to union members was the first of at least three speeches this week. Obama's remarks were expected to touch on health care in advance of a Wednesday evening address to Congress on his proposed overhaul. On Tuesday, Obama will speak to American children as they begin the school year. On Wednesday, he plans to address Congress on his health care plan.

Get more: MSNBC

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