September 3, 2013 By Jack Jodell
HAPPY LABOR DAY to all who labor in America and across the globe, from the bakers to the bank tellers; from the warehouse workers to the salespeople; from the carpenters to the bricklayers to the package deliverers to the mail carriers; from the house cleaners to the seamstresses to the servers, from the pilots to the baggage handlers; and to all other shades of worker everywhere else and in-between! This Monday marks the one holiday we in the United States have set aside to honor those who toil to build our roads, bridges, and buildings; to those who teach, coach, and nurse us; to those who sell, clerk, and cook for us; to those craftspersons who help make our lives more beautiful and simpler; to all who help produce the goods and services we sell to provide profit for our businesses and stockholders. Though our middle class is currently under assault by those greedy few who are perched at the very top of our income scale (and their bought-out cohorts in Congress), let us NEVER FORGET what truly brought about the broad expansion of our great middle class and caused us to become, for many years, the wealthiest nation per capita in history: LABOR UNIONS. And also remember: it was our FEDERAL GOVERNMENT which enabled these labor unions to start and which protected their development in their crucial early years! That’s right, far-right and anti-labor Republican Party: it was the bargaining power from COLLECTIVE bargaining that labor unions provided which gave previously underpaid and exploited workers the power to obtain a good wage so they could actually BUY what they produced! This, of course, led to a great upswing in demand for new and better products, powered a great upswing in job creation, and created greater opportunities for businesses and a huge and sustained rise in profit!
Now, before any of you start pooh-poohing labor unions; think you are too good to belong to one; or start talking nonsense like “unions were needed long ago but have now outlived their usefulness”, consider what they created for you which lasts mostly to this very day: better working conditions, livable wages, pension plans, a meaningful voice in how your company conducted its business toward you, as well as time and a half for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. THEY PREVENTED YOU FROM BEING A THROW-AWAY SLAVE TO YOUR EMPLOYER! Not only that, but they have also secureed job protection against unfair dismissal as well as providing consumers with the certainty that union-made products were safe to use and well built! Union police and firefighters have kept us safe, sometimes even at the cost of their own lives. Union truckers have delivered millions of tons of our merchandise and supplies, and have done so safely and efficiently. Even today, unions are the only thing which enables workers in depressed areas, likr our own coal-mining Appalachia region, to receive a decent, livable wage. Without the strength of the unions behind them, these poor workers would be hopelessly underpaid and forced to work in a very dangerous environment without adequate safety standards. Without union protection, cave-ins due to neglect by greedy mine owners would be even more frequent than they are now.
So don’t let today’s short-sighted and greedy 1%-ers like Mitt Romney, his running mate Paul RUIN, or other stuffy, hateful, reactionary Republicans like
Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, or Eric Cantor buffalo you into hating unions or their employees, or into believing that it was these unions who are responsible for your difficulties in getting a good job. All these politicians are trying to do is increase our already far too great disparity in wealth by pitting one worker against another for an ever-shrinking slice of the available income pie! Instead, be grateful for all that unions have attained for you so far either directly or indirectly, and be determined to fight to restore all that has been taken from you! Also, realize how much better off our country would be if ALL workers were unionized and could force these greedy 1%-ers into sharing the vast wealth YOU provided for them with YOUR labor and are currently withholding frpm you and hanging onto themselves by forcing down YOUR wages!
MOST of all, though, DON’T VOTE for these 1%-ers, NOR their apologists, NOR their enablers in the
upcoming November elections! You’ll know who these people to avoid voting for are by the language they’ll use. They’ll praise “free enterprise” and “free
markets” and “free trade” even as they scheme to export YOUR job to some slave-labor market overseas, and demonize labor unions and those who believe the very richest among us should pay a higher tax rate, much as they pay in every other westrern, industrialized, CIVILIZED country!
Contrary to what most of today’s far-right, extremist Republicans will tell you, businesses did
NOT spring up all by themselves or simply because one entrepreneur had a good idea and worked by him-or-herself to make that business grow. Rather, the undeniable TRUTH is that these businesses came about as a direct result of JOINT efforts between the business originator, the
GOVERNMENT, and LABOR, all working TOGETHER!
Again, Happy Labor Day to all. Now stand tall and be proud this week, those of you who DON’T own your own business, and please remember these thoughts
all of this week and beyond. For YOU are every bit as mportant, if not even MORE so, than those who DO own businesses. For it is YOU, through the many goods and services YOU produce, and with the money YOU spend to buy the groceries, cars, and
houses which YOU make, who are the REAL JOB CREATORS!