The former North Carolina senator stopped in the river community of Hampton, Ill., as part of the 39th annual Quad Cities Salute to Labor Picnic, sponsored by the Rock Island County Democratic Party and Quad City Federation of Labor. It was Edwards' second stop of the day, coming from New Hampshire before heading to Springfield, Mo.
While there have been divisions among competing unions and a decline in the percentage of the work force that is organized, Edwards said there are 15 million service sector jobs in the nation and another 10 million likely to be added over the next few years.
While Edwards said there is potential for growth in the service sector, he admitted that the labor movement faces significant challenges because of strong resistance from employers.
"Whether those jobs pay the minimum wage or a strong middle-class salary depends on whether they are organized or not," he said.
The Des Moines Register.com