Labor Day

Labor Day, Honoring Workers, Totally Ignored By Donald Trump

Yesterday was Labor Day, which has been a federal holiday since 1894.

It honors the work, sacrifices, and contributions of American workers.

However, labor unions have been in rapid decline since the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, ironically himself the only President to be a labor union leader, as head of the Screen Actors Guild in the 1940s and early 1950s.

If it was not for workers in all fields of industry and business, plus public government workers, America would not have accomplished its economic greatness over the generations.

And yet, not one word from President Donald Trump, who has spent his life exploiting workers in his real estate businesses, and often not paying contractors or workers the pay they are due, and avoiding it in court cases.

Labor Unions have brought about the following (no special order):

Weekends off for most workers

Paid Vacations

Paid Sick Leave

Family and Medical Leave

Child Labor Laws

Social Security

Minimum Wage

8 Hour Work Day

Overtime Pay

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Health Care, Dental, and Vision Coverage

Collective Bargaining Rights

Work Breaks

Wrongful Termination Laws

Age Discrimination Laws

Raises in Wages

Sexual Harassment Laws

Americans With Disabilities Act

Holiday Pay

Military Leave

Equal Pay Act

Workers Compensation

Civil Rights Laws

Federal Holidays Off

Sadly, less than ten percent of all workers now have the benefits of being members of a labor union, while in the 1960s and 1970s, one out of three workers were labor union members. The Northeast and the Pacific Coast are the areas of most labor unions that are doing well, while so called “right to work” laws keep workers in the South and much of the center of the nation relatively poor by comparison, as we have a new “Gilded Age” of business running rampant over workers, reminding us of the late 19th century.

Labor Day: A Day To Recall Labor Unions And What They Have Done For America’s Workers

Today is Labor Day, and it is too often a day ignored for its true meaning, the celebration of American workers and the labor unions which brought about the middle class in America, now under direct attack and threat.

It was the hard work of labor unions and workers that brought about the reforms we accept as normal today, including wages and hours laws, the minimum wage, the end of child labor, promotion of equal pay for equal work, occupational safety laws, and the expansion of basic worker benefits, such as health care, sick leave, vacation time, and pension benefits for millions.

But in the age of corporate greed and concentration, the second Gilded Age that we are in since the Ronald Reagan Presidency, we have seen the rapid decline of labor rights and of union power, and many ignorant Americans actually believe somehow that this is all to the good.  People applaud the anti union record of the Republican Party, which has been consistent for a century, and some think the war on public union rights by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is to be applauded, when it is an outrage!

Many people do not seem to realize that their basic worker rights have been curbed dramatically, and then wonder what can be done about it, and the answer is to work to promote union rights, and stop seeing unions as somehow a negative, simply because of some examples in the past of union corruption.

Yes, there have been union violations at times, but nowhere near the corporate violations of the public trust, and the way to expand labor rights is to support union expansion to combat the power of the corporations that have too much power over the American economy!

Labor Day: A Day To Celebrate Workers And Unions Which Gave Us What We Have Today!

Today is Labor Day, first declared by President Grover Cleveland in 1894, to commemorate the contributions and sacrifices of American workers in the age of unbridled industrial capitalism in the Gilded Age.

Too many Americans are unaware or uninformed of what labor conditions were like in the Gilded Age, and how the formation of labor unions brought about the basic labor rights that we all have today, nearly 120 years later, due to the blood and sacrifices of workers who were brutalized by corporations and government in the process of bringing about reforms.

We do not appreciate how much better our work conditions are now than they were back then, although labor unions have declined, and corporations and state and local governments have done everything they can to stifle worker freedom and decent conditions, as the minimum wage has not gone up with the cost of living, and many millions of workers have no sick leave, overtime pay, and lack health insurance benefits, due to conservatives and Republicans who have always fought against working people and labor, in the name of big business monopoly, both then and continuing to this moment.

We cannot thank labor enough for having built up this nation to the greatness it has today, and we need to honor their sacrifices and contributions, and resist corporate encroachment, which would love to return America to the Gilded Age!

Labor Day: Its Meaning

Tomorrow is Labor Day, a moment to commemorate the role of America’s working people, and to mourn the rapid decline of American labor unions, under constant attack by corporations and the Republican Party.

If it were not for labor unions, the kinds of benefits that America’s workers have had—including minimum wage, maximum hours, holidays, sick leave, vacations, occupational safety and health, the end of child labor, promotion of equal pay for women—and others, would not have existed.

But it has become much more difficult for labor unions to overcome the ignorance and hate that has emerged since Ronald Reagan fired the air traffic control controllers who went on strike in 1981, and has continued to face attack by Republican Governors, including Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, and others, who have managed to propagandize that public labor unions are an evil that must be destroyed. It is extremely ironic that the only President to be the head of a labor union—The Screen Actors Guild—-was the one who started the rapid decline of labor organizations in America!

Despite all this, this is a time to reflect on and remember and honor the labor movement, which has had such an impact on America, and to understand that the labor movement is in trouble, but not ready to give up the struggle for America’s workforce over the coming years!

A Sobering Labor Day: Bad Times For Labor Unions And Workers!

As Labor Day 2011 comes on tomorrow, it is a sobering time for labor unions and workers, whether in unions or not.

Labor unions have been under sharp and sustained attack across America, continuing a 30 year decline beginning under Ronald Reagan.

Workers’ wages are stagnant or declining in purchasing power, and most employees know they are in a weak state, afraid of antagonizing management in a time of extremely high unemployment, where any problems created with employers can lead to quick unemployment lines.

With 9.1 percent official unemployment in August, and absolutely no job growth at all, for the first time since February 1945, there is great fear among the unemployed, as well as those who have jobs, that the labor situation is going to get worse before it gets better.

African Americans have an unemployment rate nearing 17 percent, and Hispanics and Latinos have over 12 percent, and people without a college degree have about 9.5 percent, while college graduates actually have only about a 4.5 percent unemployment rate.

So race and ethnicity and lack of adequate education are key factors in unemployment. But also, alarmingly, many people between 50-60 years of age are experiencing long term unemployment for the first time in their adult lives, with little opportunity to retrieve an equivalent job and salary anytime, and with Social Security and Medicare still years away from occurring.

Also, while the unemployment rate remains stagnant at 9.1 percent, the REAL unemployment rate of those with only part time hours added to those who have no work, is closer to 18 percent, an unacceptable and dangerous number!

We must not forget that it is young people, plus discontented older people, who have led for change in the “Arab Spring”, and also now are demanding major change in government policies in our Mideast ally, Israel.

How much longer can labor conditions continue the way they are going without a reaction which might include radical action, some of it violent or incendiary?

So the urgency of a serious jobs program by Barack Obama, and cooperation by Congress is needed, but not likely due to the divided Congress, and the power of the Tea Party Movement, which wants no government involvement in creating jobs!

So crisis conditions and divisions are bound to get worse very soon, a troubling scenario!

A Moment Of Reckoning For Barack Obama: Acting Aggressively, But Realistically!

As we reach Labor Day next Monday, the economy is the number one issue, and it is only 14 months to Election Day.

The economy has stalled in relation to job growth, the first time to have no job growth since February 1945. We are likely going into a deep recession, although one could argue that we have never left the Great Recession, which supposedly ended in 2009.

This is an extremely tough time for President Obama and the nation, and he MUST act aggressively, but also realistically about the economic situation.

People have been speculating in the news media about the “What Ifs”, if Hillary Clinton had won the Presidency, or of John McCain had defeated Obama in 2008.

This is pointless, as we must live with reality, but to believe that Hillary Clinton, who had already gained the hatred of Republicans and the Right Wing conservatives, would somehow have magically produced a better economy and more support from the opposition party is to dwell in fantasizing on a major scale!

And to believe that John McCain, who had reportedly had plans to select former Texas Senator Phil Gramm, one of the architects of the financial disaster through his corrupt connections, to be his Treasury Secretary, tells legions about what he would have done regarding the economy. And having Sarah Palin, rather than Joe Biden, as an adviser on foreign policy, is enough to make anyone have nightmares!

So, as Michael Beschloss, the historian, told Obama at a retreat recently, he must make it clear to the American people that he is fighting difficult forces, not all of which can be controlled, and that things are going to get better, and that a lot of the responsibility for the mess we are in is due, not only to the Republicans led by the Bush Administration, which put us in the financial crisis, but also by Republicans now who are willing to sacrifice high unemployment as a way to convince voters that they should switch back to the failed policies of the past!

So, as Beschloss told Obama, fight like hell like Franklin D. Roosevelt, who faced much higher unemployment rates, but was reelected, by making it clear that the GOP hates him, and he accepted their hate and would fight them tooth and nail for what must be done! Obama can no longer be “Mr. Nice Guy”, but must instead “give them hell”, as Harry Truman did in 1948!

So therefore, a very bold, aggressive jobs plan MUST be offered by Obama next Thursday, even if it seems likely that nothing will be done by the Republican House of Representatives! Use the plan against them in the upcoming Presidential campaign as an issue if they will not budge, and make it clear to voters that it is because of the Republicans that nothing can be done! Emphasize education, health care, infrastructure projects, and energy programs, making it clear these are the future of America, now, or after the Election of 2012, with a rejuvenated Democratic majority, at least in the House of Representatives, if not the Senate!

And as part of this strategy, Obama has already, through his Justice Department, decided to pursue those corrupt, evil banks that helped to cause the housing crisis, and have been continuing their harm in the mortgage market by their dirty, corrupt tactics even up to the present! These banks include Deutsche Bank, J P Morgan Chase, and Bank of America. The executives who run these banks, and others that have proved to be greedy and selfish, having no concern for the American people, need to be prosecuted and sent to prison, held accountable for their evil actions, and finally, it looks as if the administration is starting to show its muscle in this regard!

And the unpopular decision today to delay the smog standards proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency to 2013, while highly regrettable, seem reasonable now with the high unemployment rate and the stagnant economy. But it should be seen only as a DELAY, not an abandonment, of higher environmental standards for business and industry, and hopefully, with a Democratic President and Congress in 2013, the crackdown on the pollution standards can be revisited!

Is Barack Obama Becoming Harry Truman? It Is About Time!

President Barack Obama has just finished a rousing Labor Day speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, stirring a crowd with a strong, inspirational speech, which included strong attacks on the Republican opposition, while calling for a major investment in infrastructure repair and expansion to create an economic revival!

He said that the opposition was “talking about me like a dog!”, and made it clear that he did not appreciate that and would not tolerate it!

It is about time, Mr. President, for you to get out there and denounce the opposition which has contributed to the slow revival of the economy because they preferred to see you fail, rather than help the American people! 🙁

It is hoped that this speech, with its fiery delivery and passion, is the beginning of a two month campaign matching the level of Harry Truman in 1948, giving that revered President the title “Give Them Hell Harry!”

Enough of trying to work with people who don’t wish to cooperate, and enough of being a gentleman! Time to become “Give Them Hell Barack!”