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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, August 11, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesLAB0R DAY MESSAGE FROM LUIS A. TITO MORALES

LAB0R DAY MESSAGE FROM LUIS A. TITO MORALES

Greetings fellow brothers and sisters of' the labor movement. As we celebrate this last Labor Day of the century, I am moved to reflect on the significant accomplishments of the labor movement In the United States Virgin Islands.
As we look to the future with uncertainty and hope, anxiety and excitement, let us all pause a moment and give thanks for the some of the significant gains which have brought us this far.
Perhaps the best way to begin the chronicle and commemoration of our gains is to begin with homage and tribute to the father of the Virgin Islands' middle class and champion of the working man – the late Earle B. Ottley. Senator Ottley's life as senator and president of the Virgin Islands Labor Union was firmly guided by the principle of advancement for the average Virgin Islander.
His focus on the betterment of all in the Virgin Islands paved the way for the establishment of a strong middle class. Senator Ottley dedicated his life to making sure that all had opportunities to advance and that no one would ever again call this Virgin Islands an "effective poor house."
In addition to the determination and political skill of this true leader, there are very specific accomplishments which made the last 50 years of this millennium the time of the V I laborer Organized labor guaranteed the right of any employee to organize on their own behalf.
This organization led to the establishment of the forty-hour workweek, establishment of the minimum wage, association with the National Labor Relations Board, and most importantly the right to collective bargaining.
Government employees, who make up the single largest group of workers, are now able to organize and negotiate wages and other rights as set forth in the Public Employees Relationship Board (PERB). Public and private sector employees are guaranteed safe and sanitary working conditions by law and this law effectively moved many people from sweat shops to safe environments. Medical and retirement benefits are now the standard for government employees, guaranteeing a healthy present and secure future to tens of thousands of Virgin Islanders and their families.
These and many other small and large accomplishments, made possible through the tireless vigilance of the organized labor movement, has dramatically improved the quality of life for many Virgin Islanders.
If there is one lesson to be learned from the past as we move into the future, it is this, that constant vigilance and steadfast determination is demanded to maintain all that we have accomplished and secure new rights as globalization makes the world a. smaller, more fast paced place.
We commemorate and honor these hard won rights even as we are always on the lookout for areas where they may be threatened. We should look to duplicate our successes and strive to learn from and avoid the repetition of our mistakes. The memory of all those who served the Virgin Islands will be well served if we remember this simple truth. Perhaps this sentiment is best expressed by President Abraham Lincoln, who said, "Any man who does not like labor, does not like himself."
Editors' note: Morales is the president of the Central Labor Council.

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Greetings fellow brothers and sisters of' the labor movement. As we celebrate this last Labor Day of the century, I am moved to reflect on the significant accomplishments of the labor movement In the United States Virgin Islands.
As we look to the future with uncertainty and hope, anxiety and excitement, let us all pause a moment and give thanks for the some of the significant gains which have brought us this far.
Perhaps the best way to begin the chronicle and commemoration of our gains is to begin with homage and tribute to the father of the Virgin Islands' middle class and champion of the working man - the late Earle B. Ottley. Senator Ottley's life as senator and president of the Virgin Islands Labor Union was firmly guided by the principle of advancement for the average Virgin Islander.
His focus on the betterment of all in the Virgin Islands paved the way for the establishment of a strong middle class. Senator Ottley dedicated his life to making sure that all had opportunities to advance and that no one would ever again call this Virgin Islands an "effective poor house."
In addition to the determination and political skill of this true leader, there are very specific accomplishments which made the last 50 years of this millennium the time of the V I laborer Organized labor guaranteed the right of any employee to organize on their own behalf.
This organization led to the establishment of the forty-hour workweek, establishment of the minimum wage, association with the National Labor Relations Board, and most importantly the right to collective bargaining.
Government employees, who make up the single largest group of workers, are now able to organize and negotiate wages and other rights as set forth in the Public Employees Relationship Board (PERB). Public and private sector employees are guaranteed safe and sanitary working conditions by law and this law effectively moved many people from sweat shops to safe environments. Medical and retirement benefits are now the standard for government employees, guaranteeing a healthy present and secure future to tens of thousands of Virgin Islanders and their families.
These and many other small and large accomplishments, made possible through the tireless vigilance of the organized labor movement, has dramatically improved the quality of life for many Virgin Islanders.
If there is one lesson to be learned from the past as we move into the future, it is this, that constant vigilance and steadfast determination is demanded to maintain all that we have accomplished and secure new rights as globalization makes the world a. smaller, more fast paced place.
We commemorate and honor these hard won rights even as we are always on the lookout for areas where they may be threatened. We should look to duplicate our successes and strive to learn from and avoid the repetition of our mistakes. The memory of all those who served the Virgin Islands will be well served if we remember this simple truth. Perhaps this sentiment is best expressed by President Abraham Lincoln, who said, "Any man who does not like labor, does not like himself."
Editors' note: Morales is the president of the Central Labor Council.