Labor Day draws attention to lack of labor for unemployed - New York News

Labor Day draws attention to lack of labor for unemployed

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Over the years, Labor Day has become known as the last long weekend of summer -- but this year, the "labor" part of the holiday -- or lack thereof -- is getting more attention.

Jobs are at the heart of nearly every campaign across the country, and labor unions are often at the center of political debates.

At the Republican National Convention in Tampa last week, jobs were a theme that's expected to crop up this week too as Democrats gather for their convention in Charlotte, N.C. So, who's got the best plan to create jobs? Voters who spoke to FOX 9 News on Labor Day say they want to know.

Paul Trossen spent 30 years working at the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell, Minn., before an explosion tore through the plant on Memorial Day. The company later opted against repair and reopening. Now, on the day that celebrates the American worker, the 58-year-old has no work.

"It's tough," Trossen told FOX 9 News. "The job market's tough to begin with. My 25-year-old son -- it took him a year with a B.S. degree to get a job."

Still, he came to a union picnic in St. Cloud, where Labor Day's meaning is kept alive. Even though the number of union members has decreased nationwide in the past two decades, organizers say picnic attendance was up this year.

President Barack Obama spent his Labor Day speaking to union workers in Detroit, promising to protect unions and keep jobs here in the United States.

Republican rival Mitt Romney hit the jobs theme hard with his convention speech, and he released a statement about the American Worker on Labor Day, saying too many are unemployed while pointing the finger at Obama.

Both campaigns will be looking for more talking points when the newest job numbers come out on Friday. It's expected to show small gains.

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