Monday, September 3, 2012

Labor Day In Fitzwalkerstan 2012

So today was Labor Day.

Not that you'd know it from the local paper. The only way one could tell it was Labor Day from the paper would be the Labor Day sales ads and one small blurb at the bottom of the entertainment section saying that Laborfest was today.

You wouldn't know it from the Republicans either, unless you count Paul Ryan using the holiday for shilling for his campaign swag. Like Romney's and the Koch's and Adelson's hundreds of millions of dollars weren't enough.

Well, you do have Lance Burri, Glenn Grothman's chief of staff, cracking jokes about Labor Day and women as well. (Grothman is a much better fit for the lying, misogynistic Burri than his previous boss, Mary Lazich, who is just stupid.)*

I'm not surprised that we have heard anything from Walker or the rest, since they've declared open war on the working men and women of Wisconsin and are poised to enact Right To Work But Not Get Paid For It legislation at the beginning of the new year. They also don't want to attract attention to the fact that Walker has lost more jobs than he has created since he's taken office and imposed his anti-Wisconsin agenda.

My colleague, Meg, did a very nice write up about the true meaning and importance of labor day. She listed just some of the many things that organized labor has brought into being:
Health insurance.
Paid vacations and sick leave.
Time off.
Workers Compensation.
Unionization of the workplace.
8 hour work days.
End of exploitative child labor.
Women's workplace rights.
End of workplace discrimination
I would add a few things to that.

One would be that unions also help prevent retaliation by the employers. The end result of losing this right will be one of two things.

One, the good workers will move on to other jobs, and other states, where they can be treated with respect and be allowed personal freedom to do what they want on their own time. You will be then left with the incompetent suck-ups, like most of Walker's cronies.

The other possibility is that these issues, will be resolved in the courts, costing the employers a lot more money than if they had a grievance procedure in place.

I would also point out that unions benefit everyone, whether they work in the public or the private sector and whether or not they are even union members. Unions, by negotiating with the employers, are able to set a prevailing wage. Non-union shops then will have to match those salaries and benefits or risk losing their best workers to the union shops.

This is why the so-called "right to work" states tend to have, on average, salaries that are $5,000 to $6,000 less than unionized states. I would also point out that with the higher salaries, people are able to buy more things and help stimulate and support the economy. That is exemplified here in Fitzwalkerstan. As Walker has taken money away from the workers, the economy has tanked and there are less businesses and jobs than when he took over as governor. In other words, it ain't working!

Jake at his Playhouse demonstrates how the unions have kept the middle class strong and that there is a direct correlation between the weakening of the unions and the lowering of wages and the diminishing of the middle class.

I would also point out, as I did last year, the US Department of Labor's explanation of the history of Labor Day (emphasis mine):
he form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations" of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.

The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation's strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

It is not shocking at all that as the country has moved more to a corporate nation status, thanks to the Republicans and corporate Democrats, that the economy has gone in the toilet and we are still mired in a recession, the second one in the past decade.

If Romney, Ryan, Walker, Chris Abele and the rest of them really wanted to go back to the good old days when jobs were much more plentiful and people were able to achieve the American dream, they'd be working with the unions and not against them.

*BTW, someone with more time and money than I might want to do an Open Record's request on Burri's state computer.

1 comment:

  1. My local media is teaching me that Labor Day parades may start to be co-opted by unions as a "rally".