On June 28, 1894, the 53rd Congress passed S.730, a bill introduced by Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota, which made the celebration of Labor Day a national holiday. The bill was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland.
What may not be remembered by many is an event that preceded the passage and signing of the legislation. It was during the Pullman Strike, just outside Chicago, that federal troops were called to restore order, and it ended with more than 30 workers killed. It was six days after the strike ended that Congress created Labor Day—a day to honor working men and women of America.
But that was not the end of the labor story for the Pullman Company, because while the workers who built Pullman's rail cars eventually went back to work and won new rights, the black porters who worked on the rail cars were not as fortunate. In 1925, a young man named A. Phillip Randolph told a packed room of porters, "What this is about is making you master of your economic fate," as he and others fought successfully to organize the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.
If you fast-forward, today the idea of workers becoming the masters of their economic fates is as important now as it ever was. In fact, the idea of workers investing in themselves was most recently invoked by Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton in her announcement speech, when she said, "There are union leaders who are investing their own pension funds in putting people to work to build tomorrow's economy."
At Ullico, that's exactly what we are doing with our J for Jobs, Infrastructure and other funds. We are putting union members and contractors to work, rebuilding communities, and spurring economic development, all while providing a solid rate of return for the union funds who invest in us.
In this issue of the newsletter, we highlight the latest project of our Infrastructure Fund, the Carroll County Energy Center, which will create 500 union jobs in northeastern Ohio. Other articles spotlight our new Private Exchange and Defined Contribution platforms, and our Experts' Corner focuses on claims, while reminding us that September is Life Insurance Awareness Month.
I want to recognize the retirement of two of our Ullico Board Members: Barbara Easterling, president of the Alliance for Retired Americans; and Joe Nigro, past general president of SMART. I want to thank Barbara and Joe for their many contributions to the success of Ullico, and for all their efforts on behalf of working men and women during their long and distinguished careers. Enjoy your well-earned retirements.
In closing, as we all enjoy the Labor Day holiday, take a minute to reflect on its history. I am reminded that labor's current struggles for fair wages and safe working conditions are nothing new. In fact, throughout history, it has always been the same fight. At Ullico, we are proud to join with the labor movement in honoring the working men and women of America.
Edward M. Smith
President and CEO