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Labor Day celebrates the struggle of working people

Labor Day has always been a day to celebrate and acknowledge the efforts and sacrifices of working people.

On this Labor Day in 2014, too many people are working harder and harder for less and less. From 1980 until 2013, the median wage for Florida's working people increased at an annual rate of about 3.4 percent and the income of top wage earners grew 2.8 times faster than that of lower wage earners during that time period. Salaries for the highest 25 percent of earners increased at a 5.7 percent pace, while pay for the lowest 25 percent grew by 2.1 percent, according to a research project conducted at Florida International University and contained in an article by William E. Gibson in the August 31 Sun Sentinel.

Many workers are expressing frustration at this disparity. "I think it is time for a change. I work two jobs, one at a restaurant and one at a store and I barely make enough to pay my basic cost of living. I think people who work hard should be paid better," said Ronald Tolbert.

"I know a lot of people want and expect more money but we are just come off a tough recession where many people lost their jobs. Things will improve for working people. And if those who want better jobs pursue more training and education, more job opportunities will open for them," said Rachel Epworth.

"The labor market is changing and a lot of unskilled jobs just aren't there any more. People need more training and education to get ahead in today's economy," said Brandy Owen

"It has always been hard for people in lower level jobs. I think more opportunities will come along for working people as the economy gets better," said Richard Boyce.