On this day in 1886, the American Federation of Labor, the first long term successful national labor union, was founded by Samuel Gompers and others, with Gompers being its leader for nearly four decades.
The battle for labor rights was a tormenting, and often bloody, struggle, and despite many victories and contributions to the lives of working people in and out of labor unions, the struggle of workers for justice and human rights in America is a never ending battle, with major losses since the administration of Ronald Reagan, and facing new challenges from the “Bully” Republican Governors, many elected in 2010, who have declared war on workers and their basic rights to collective bargaining, and decent pay, benefits, and working conditions.
And we have seen the rise of new monopolies, best personified by Walmart as a symbol, who have reneged their responsibilities to their work force, and used their power and influence to leave it to taxpayers to support underpaid workers on food stamps and Medicaid.
And the Tea Party radicals, and their corporate backers, best personified by the Koch Brothers and other billionaires, have tried to gain control over Congress and the White House through their spending and lobbying, with success in Congress, but thankfully, failing to defeat President Barack Obama!
This is a day to celebrate about organized labor, but also a day to recommit ourselves to revive the labor movement which has made so many lives much better than they might have been, by leaving all power to corporate influences and the Republican Party, which has been anti labor for many decades!