Labor Day

by James Glaser
September 1, 2002

As Samuel Gompers, founder of the American Federation of Labor said, "All other holidays are in a more or less degree connected with conflicts and battles of man's prowess over man, of strife and discord for greed and power, of glories achieved by one nation over another. Labor Day is devoted to no man, living or dead. To no sect, race, or nation."

Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American labor. It is a tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our nation.

Now I know that the American Labor movement has lost much of its power and membership over the last 30 some years, but the workers of America now have the fruits, from the struggle that the American Labor Movement went through.

Everyone says that in this day and age child labor, seven day work weeks, and job safety would be here now, without the labor movement and unions. Well that hasn't happened in countries that haven't gone through the trials and strife that the American labor movement went through to get all of us those rights in the work place.

All one has to do is look at the corruption that has been uncovered in the corporate world and then ask yourself if those men that would steal the pensions and "cook the books", would treat their workers fairly if it wasn't the law.

At one time I was in the Carpenters Union up in International Falls, Minnesota, where I worked for S J Groves at Boise Cascade. This was before Boise broke the construction labor unions. At that time I came to realize that I didn't need to be in a union, but many people did. I was assertive and could ask for a wage increase on my own, I could tell the company if some thing was unsafe, and I could ask for the time off to take my child to the doctor.

However there are many in this world that are not assertive, nothing wrong with that, it is just they way they are. Without unions and now workplace laws those people would be stepped on by large corporations and even with those laws on the books many Americans are not treated with the respect they deserve in their work place.

American workers are the most productive in the world because of what the labor movement worked so hard to get them, respect by their employers. Companies that value their employees have learned what a money maker that is for them. There are still companies in America that haven't learned that lesson and that is why we still need workplace laws.

Washington still is so out of touch with real America, that they don't know that tens of thousands of families are raised on minimum wage jobs and that some workers stay at near minimum wage their whole working lives. Congress just votes themselves higher pay, forgetting that workers can't do that. Those in Congress just can't believe that some one would stay in a low paying job and only high school kids work for minimum wage. Congress and those that perpetuate that belief are sick people who don't give a rats ass about the poor working people of this country.

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