Sunday, September 5, 2010

We're Celebrating Labor Day - By NOT Laboring

For those of you who stuck at work today (or still chained to their desks, like our web guru) we're republishing a revised version of our commentary from last Thursday - with an all new Daily Felltoon cartoon.

We hope this Labor Day it truly is a day off from work for you - and not just another day without work.

Rest, relax, and enjoy.

What Labor Day is for in America is to celebrate working class Americans, and those who stand with them.

There are those who deride the labor movement as ineffectual and nearly dead, or attempt to write it off as merely the mirror image monster twin of the evil corporate greed monster. Another common - and wrong - attitude often expressed is that those who support the labor movement lean exclusively to the political left.

If that's what you think, then you obviously need a refresher in the facts.

Two of the Republican Party's biggest heros, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt, were both big supporters of labor. Roosevelt was also highly in favor of keeping corporate power limited, with his well-known record of trust-busting and effective regulation.

It was the labor movement that brought American workers the forty hour work week (with weekends), and the eight hour working day. It was also the labor movement that secured the minimum wage, and pushed to move children out of factory work and into schools - far more often than they should have, paying the price of progress with their own lives.

There are entire schools of thought, with large stacks of charts and numbers that prove - historically - when the working class is doing well, Americans as a whole fare better economically. The converse has, unfortunately, also been proven to be true. That is, when organizations that support working class people are weak, workers of all kinds - union and non-union alike - fare worse. Maybe this resonates with those of you out there who are currently being jerked around by your employers and treated like disposable parts - or those of you who've lost your job, while your former company took federal bailout dollars at the same time the executives at your former company received raises.

Like any holiday, the real meaning of the Labor Day holiday is what each of us make it.

We hope that today, you make it a celebration of those who've truly fought for all workers.

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