Monday, September 06, 2010
Labor Day—at least they don’t shoot workers anymore
by Larry Geller
Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 6 in 2010). From the Wikipedia:
The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City, by the Central Labor Union of New York, the nation's first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.
Thirteen workers were killed and about four times that number injured.
At least they don’t shoot workers anymore, in this country, anyway. But Fox News probably wouldn’t mind.
Conservatives celebrate Labor Day by attacking organized labor
Following Fox News' lead, conservative media outlets celebrated Labor Day by attacking labor unions, often smearing them as "socialist" and violent. [Media Matters for America, 9/6/2010]
As one commenter pointed out, if they hate Labor Day so much, how come they took the day off (with substitutes on the air, see the article). Another astutely asked if any of the Fox celebrities would work without a contract.
Union representation is on the decline. Fox News is simply the latest capitalist tool. The process began long ago. An interesting discussion today on KPFA’s Against the Grain noted that as individual human rights have gained ascendency, collective rights have declined. Check it out here.
[Speaking of human rights, a hot tweet just a couple of hours old: “George Soros donating 100 million bucks to Human Rights Watch, his biggest donation ever.” Great news.]
It's funny how many of today's working middle class look at unions as the cause of our economic problems. But don't blink an eye when it comes to taking a vacation, or have safe working conditions, or receive a living wage, or reasonable work hours etc. Many believe unions have out lived three usefulness. Of course those are the ones whose jobs have not been off shored yet. The way things are going they too will at some point appreciate the value of a strong union.