Morgan Griffith: Thoughts on Labor Day, grant workshops announcement

morgan griffithWe dedicate Labor Day each year to the social and economic contributions American workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

While the first Labor Day was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, it would not become a nationally recognized holiday until 1894. On June 28, 1894, Congress passed an act designating the first Monday of September the legal holiday we observe today.

More than a century later, the jury is still out on which Mr. McGuire founded Labor Day – Peter McGuire, the cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, or Matthew McGuire, a secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York City, which is credited with executing that first celebration in 1882.

During the late 1800s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the United States, the average American worked 12-hour days and seven-day weeks in order to make ends meet.

On Labor Day, it is important to reflect on the hard work of the men and women of our local communities.

Whether you make tires, furniture, paper, work for heavy machinery manufacturers, truck manufacturers, conveyor belt manufacturers, or if you work in an office, at a university, if you are a farmer, or at any other job, this day is to honor you.

One of the industries that is important to our region is coal mining. On this Labor Day, we must remember that as a country, we must take care of our miners, who have worked so hard to provide the energy necessary to power America’s factories, schools, and businesses for close to a century and a half. Further, coal miners have made it possible for Americans to construct buildings that scrape the skies and all sorts of machines that use steel made with our metallurgical coal.

This is why I have worked hard to secure an additional $2.7 million for a total of $10 million in funding this year for black lung clinics. This is the first time in history the federal government has provided the maximum amount allowed by authorized funding.

I have also introduced H.R. 323, which protects coal miners’ presumption for black lung benefits after years of working tirelessly underground.

Coal jobs have undoubtedly taken a hit in recent years. Some of those jobs are not likely to return, but we are now witnessing an uptick in the number of coal jobs in Southwest Virginia. This increase is partly because of the change in the regulatory environment in Washington that I have helped to bring about.

You can’t look out for the interests of coal miners if you do not support the use of coal.

I am dedicated to serving the needs of our coal miners, who have worked so hard to contribute so much to our country’s economy in the past. They continue to do so now and will continue to be an important part of our economy well into the future.

Just like with the coal miners, I work to limit burdensome regulations and policies that hurt jobs across the board. That is why I am proud when I was recently presented with the Spirit of Enterprise Award by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for my efforts to protect jobs and fight against regulatory and administrative overreach. Members of Congress who consistently vote to promote free enterprise and economic growth are recognized with this award.

Ninth District Public Safety Grants Workshops

I will be holding Public Safety Grant Workshops for Ninth District residents. Federal and state grants are available for local police, fire, and EMS departments in order to help upgrade equipment and facilities. Workshop presenters will be representatives from a variety of Federal and State Agencies, including FEMA and USDA, and will provide information on the different types of public safety grants you can apply for and share effective grant writing strategies. There will be one workshop on September 11 in Christiansburg at the Montgomery County Government Center, located at 755 Roanoke Street, from 9:00am until 1:00pm. A second workshop will also take place on September 11 from 3:00pm until 7:00pm in Abingdon at the Southwest Virginia Higher Ed Center located at One Partnership Circle.

If you have questions, concerns, or comments, feel free to contact my office. You can call my Abingdon office at (276) 525-1405 or my Christiansburg office at (540) 381-5671. To reach my office via email, please visit my website at

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