September 03, 2015
Why Can’t Every Day Be Like Labor Day
It is the first Monday in September. You slip out of bed while the family sleeps in. You reach in the closet and grab your “Union First Shirt” and your local union cap. Driving to the union hall you notice a nip in the air as Fall lies just around the corner.
Pulling into the parking lot at the union hall you jump out and start helping with the last minute decorating of the Labor Day Parade float. The parade begins and you walk alongside the float waving at the sparse crowd. Later standing in the crowd, you clap as the last Democrat in your state legislature gives a speech about the importance of raising the minimum wage. Heading back home, you switch shirts, grab your “born to grill” apron and spend the rest of the day stuffing yourself on ribs and potato salad. The plight of the poor bothers you as you watch football on your big screen TV and head off to bed.
But what if every day were Labor Day? What if our concern about the working man lasted 365 days a year? You can be sure the enemies of labor never take a day off. The Koch Brothers and their army of Tea Partiers never miss a day at war with America’s working families, playing their style of deception that has turned many Americans against their own self-interest.
Here are some things we would support if every day were Labor Day:
The minimum wage isn’t about teenage kids flipping burgers. According to the Department of Labor, 89% of workers who are paid the minimum wage are 20 years or older. Since 1938, the Federal Minimum Wage has been raised 22 times; but only three times in the past 30 years. Over 60 million United States citizens live in a household that depends on a minimum wage job, with 15 million of those being children. In addition, 35% of all minimum wage households have children living in them. In 2014, Wall Street bonuses were over $28 billion dollars but the total income for the 25 million minimum wage workers was $14 billion dollars. The big boys on Wall Street’s BONUSES were more than twice that of America’s minimum wage workers income. That in itself is criminal. All American workers need to join the call to give America a raise.
Conservative media has made health care out to be a terrible thing. The Affordable Care Act for the first time gave Americans who were uninsured an affordable way to obtain coverage. The Conservative Media has lied about the law and its impact on working class Americans who needed the coverage. Even people who have benefited from the law have hawked the lies they learned from those on the right. Defending the rights of all Americans to have health care is an everyday charge for the supporters of labor.
Right to Organize
Last year the citizens of Tennessee watched as State politicians interfered with an organizing drive at Volkswagen Assembly Operations in Chattanooga, Tennessee. United States Senator Bob Corker made a false public statement to impact the union election being held at the plant. The right to organize is a right for every worker and we need to stand united every day to protect that right. The Koch Brothers and their vast network continually work to undermine worker’s rights to organize. This includes public education workers; our teachers have been under attack by the conservatives for many years and all workers need to stand with teachers.
Supporting Striking Workers
Every day somewhere across the nation there are many union members on strike due to their employers refusing to bargain in good faith. The family of labor is one big family and we all must stand together. Take time to walk a picket line with some of your union brothers and sisters, contribute to striker relief funds, or simply stop and let them know you support them.
Many years ago, Elvis Presley sang “Why Can’t Every Day Be like Christmas”. Why can’t we in labor treat every day like Labor Day? Why can’t we take a stand with our brother and sisters each and every day? This Labor Day, devote yourself to standing for America’s workers; then carry that idea each day of the year. Those of us in labor have to defend our brothers and sisters because no one else will do it for us. Happy Labor Day each and every day, my working class friends.
Peace my Brothers and Sisters,
UAW Region 8 Webmaster and LUCA Advisory Council Chair