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Monday, September 05, 2011

Labor Day

I'm cooking up several blog posts, but I needed to stop for a minute to reflect on Labor Day.

In this day and age, it's easy to lose sight of the contributions of organized labor to our society. As the attack on the American worker continues, we need to remember our history and move forward as a nation, never losing sight on what others went through in order for us to have basic rights.

Child-labor laws. Health care. 40-hour work weeks. Safe work environments. Fair wages.

All of those things exist because organized labor stood up for all of us. Men and women lost their lives to organize their industries. And we take that for granted. Day by day, the rights of the worker are eroded. Companies have back-room plans to thwart labor efforts. Customers and workers cross picket lines. No one "looks for the union label" anymore.

9 percent of our workforce is unemployed. Every day, American workers train people in India to do their jobs. One-third of our population is uninsured.

Yet, we're buying cheap crap at Walmart. We're driving foreign cars made in non-union shops. We want everything cheaper, and we don't understand why we're losing our rights as workers.

Even if we're not in unions, we need to stand up for those who are. If the last few years have taught us nothing, we should know that we can't trust corporations to do the right thing. Labor unions hold them accountable. Without unions, those working today wouldn't be making holiday pay. No one would have health insurance at work. Those of us sitting at home wouldn't have a paid holiday. We wouldn't earn fair wages and our workplaces wouldn't be safe. Because big business doesn't give a shit about people, they want to make money and will do it at any cost. If that weren't the case, companies wouldn't have secret plans to stop union activity at their businesses.

Buy American. Look for the union label. Take a minute today, between your pool parties and barbecues, to thank organized labor for your holiday.

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