Labor Day Charade

Posted by | Filed under Economy | Sep 5, 2011 | Tags: , , |
Workers of the world Unite!

Workers of the world unite!

Every first Monday of September we celebrate an extra day off with barbeque and parades. We hail the beginning of autumn. We gear up for Football season. We celebrate the oppressed proletarian classes’ struggle for ownership of the means of production from the bourgeoisie capitalists.

Oh. You forgot why we celebrate Labor Day? Okay, perhaps the above was a bit of a mischaracterization.  Labor Day is a time to recognize the laborer, specifically the organized laborer, or more specifically, unionized laborers. Is that why you’re having a barbeque this weekend?

Statistically speaking, if the readership of this text is a representative cross section of the US, then according to a recent Gallup poll, you most likely prefer unions to have less influence. The majority of Americans believe that labor unions hurt the US economy [1]. Furthermore, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the union membership rate is at 11.9% [2].

This year, Americans are celebrating 11.9% of the population, who they believe should have less influence, and are actively hurting the economy.

How did that happen? Let us take a step back. Part of the argument against unionized labor is that they will fight for their own agenda, despite what is best for the company, or economy [3][4].

Consider that President Grover Cleveland and congress, at the threat of union retaliation, were coerced into signing Labor Day into law.

“It affords me pleasure to be able to report that the demand made by A. F. of L. for making the first Monday in September of each year a legal holiday passed congress and was made a law on June 29, 1894.” – Samuel Gompers [5]

Labor Day is  a concession by the US government to the labor unions. To put that in context, in 1894, when Labor Day was signed into law, union membership in the United States was under 2% [6]. Two percent of the population were dictating to the president that we have a new national holiday; doesn’t sound very American. Here we see a very small minority forcing their will on the majority–literally “demand[ing]” it, and receiving it.

If you are like the majority of Americans who believe unions are hurting the economy–if you do not support unions–you should protest. This year should be the year that concerned citizens stand up for their rights, and not be forced to celebrate a holiday that goes counter to the ideals that America stands for.

Things can and do change, but not without action. Spread the word. Talk to your neighbors, or coworkers. Start a small group and demonstrate. Go outside and carry signs that make your message loud and clear. Stand up for what you believe in, even if not everyone agrees. Make yourself heard. Refuse to go back to work until collective bargaining rights in your state are abolished. Sometimes it is the only way to get those in positions of power to listen.

Tea Party Protest

Tea Party Protest

If enough people get together and stand up for what they believe, changes can be made. This has been demonstrated time and time again. The tea party movement, for instance, has gone from nothing, to a fairly powerful force in US politics in very short order. They accomplished this, in part, through picketing, and protests.

Those that affiliate with the Tea Party, for instance, are commonly in favor of abolishing the federal minimum wage [7][8]. This is a perfect example of ordinary citizens uniting together to achieve a common goal: voicing to leadership that they are not happy with wages.

It is no coincidence, then, that the Tea Party supports Governor Scott Walker in his pursuit of reducing the influence of unions in Wisconson [9]. Tea Party factions have formed all over to collectively voice their opinion that they are unhappy with the status quo, and that includes Unions. They organize in churches, restaurants, and hotels, almost anywhere you can imagine. One Tea Party group, “Tea Party Union” even organizes on Facebook [10].

There are no excuses. Stand up for what you believe this Labor Day. Make America Fair.

[1]http://www.gallup.com/poll/149300/New-High-Americans-Foresee-Labor-Unions-Weakening.aspx
[2]http://www.bls.gov/news.release/union2.toc.htm
[3]http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123853988781575499.html
[4]http://www.cnsnews.com/node/40775
[5]http://books.google.com/books?id=bIFIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA443
[6]http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0014498311000271
[7]http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/alaskas-joe-miller-abolish-federal-minimum-wage/story?id=11790828
[8]http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2011/04/11/157619/senate-candidate-jamie-radtke-proposes-eliminating-minimum-wage/
[9]http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/15/AR2011021506022.html
[10]http://www.facebook.com/teapartyunion

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