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President Speaks at Housing Project Dedication in NYC

May 19, 1962 - President Kennedy urged labor unions today to play a partner’s role with government and private groups in undertaking “the unfinished business of our society.” Speaking at the dedication of a union-sponsored housing project in New York City, the President declared that “the progress of this country will depend, in a great measure, on the sense of public responsibility of organized labor.” Squinting into a blazing sun that broke city heat records, Mr. Kennedy addressed 10,000 persons on the site of Penn Station South, a cooperative development of 2,820 apartments. The housing project was sponsored by the I.L.G.W.U. The President twitted his hosts about the temperature, which was in the nineties. “I want to register an official protest with the Union about the sweatshop conditions under which we’re working today,” he said, drawing laughter. With newspapers raised against the sun, the crowd applauded the President warmly and twice sang “Happy Birthday” to him. Mr. Kennedy, who will be 45 on May 29, was in the city to attend a Democratic fundraising rally at Madison Square Garden tonight that was billed as “New York’s Birthday Salute to the President.”

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