President Barack Obama called health insurance a ‘cornerstone’ of middle-class security in speech praising the work of labor unions, as he previewed his speech later this week to increase jobs and jumpstart the economy.

Obama spoke in Detroit, Michigan on Monday at a General Motors parking lot before government officials, labor leaders and thousands of union members.

Obama congratulated the “working men and women of America” on Labor Day for the hard work.

“I also want to talk about the work you’ve been doing for decades,” Obama said.

He said working men and women had sought to make ensure people: received “an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work,” “families get a fair shake” and build the “greatest middle class the world has ever known.”

“I’m talking about the work that got us a 40-hour workweek and weekends, and paid leave and pensions, and the minimum wage and health insurance, and Social Security and Medicare -- (applause) -- the cornerstones of middle-class security. That's because of your work,” he said.

“If you want to know who helped lay these cornerstones of an American middle class you just have to look for the union label.”

Obama said the U.S. could not have a strong, growing economy without strong, growing middle class and without a strong labor movement.

He touted efforts to change the nation’s finance rules to avoid taxpayer bailouts and “hidden” credit card fees and rate hikes, as well as a consumer protection agency.

He also recounted efforts to improve the nation’s educational system by helping “keep teachers on the job,” reforming public schools and investing in community colleges and job-training programs.

“We said that every family in America should have affordable, accessible health care. We said you shouldn’t discriminated against because you’ve got a preexisting condition. We said young adults without insurance should be able to stay on their parents’ plans. We got that done -- for you,” he said.

He also recalled efforts to keep the auto industry afloat by making “tough choices.”

Along with jobs and “good wages,” he said he and his team were “fighting for health care when you get sick.”

Jobs Package Preview

Obama’s effort to increase the number of U.S. jobs will include efforts to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure through construction work and said an extension of a payroll tax cut was needed that has already given the average family “an extra $1000.”

“We’re going to see if congressional Republicans will put country before party,” he said, noting he was looking for some “straight shooters” among the federal lawmakers.

He also said he would seek to “open up new markets” for companies and tax cuts for both the middle class and more affluent Americans.

Obama also said he would continue to “stand up for collective bargaining” as states across the country seek to pass “right to work” laws for private sector workers.