Monday, September 07, 2009

Labor Day

Quote of the day; "It is a curious thing...they creed promises a paradise which will be absolutely uninhabitable for anyone of civilized taste." Evelyn Waugh (1903-1966)

Song of the day: "Star Spangled Banner" Any version. My favorite is the actual poem by Francis Scott Key.

To post or not.

Our Country was built on dreams and dreamers. We owe a lot to our forefathers. And not just the ones who wrote or contributed to our independence from England. We owe a lot to people like Joe Hill (see Doc's post).

Early labor jobs were legal slavery. People worked long hard hours for little or no pay. Many lived in poor conditions (sub-standard for that time and worse then the homeless now) to pay for their boat trip over to America for freedom.

On September 5, 1882 was the marked first celebrated "Labor Day". Some 10,000 workers assembled and march past City Hall. Can you imagine that? In 1882 there were 10,000 people willing to loose their job and march for what they knew was right. (Today's parade would be a show of money from major corporations looking for the advertisement. And local yokels looking for a standing in their community.) Anyway, they were willing to risk it all. By marching in the parade they were putting their lives, their families, and their working future at risk. They were demanding a right to a better life. The goal was simple. To inspire better working conditions. Let me spell that out one more time. TEN THOUSAND WORKERS stood up at one time for their rights. WOW.

And yet the concept of labor unions never worked in any area of the United States but the East. It is interesting to say the least. Many (I think all) states have adapted to certain rules and regulations of fair labor but abhor the idea of union's settling in. Living in Georgia for ten years I had forgotten (yikes) about unions. When Doc and I went to his parents this Spring there were billboards supporting their local unions all over. I may not have commented on it then but I was impressed. And at the same time I was mad at myself for forgetting such an important thing.

Right now I am grateful that I don't have to work in a sweat shop (be it a legal factory now or a horrible condition from the industrial revolution). Right now life is good and it could be better if ... our country would draw together again and be the UNITED STATES we proudly claim.

Happy Labor Day to you and yours. I hope everyone takes a minute to celebrate and then another minute to reflect... oh and the rest of the day to have a good time!

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jeni said...

Well, one of the reasons that the unions took "hold" so to speak, in the east is that at the time when the unions sprang to life, the northeastern part of the country and some what to the midwest, was primarily industrial whereas the south and south west was still an agricultural society. People today are terrified of losing whatever job they may have -if they even in fact still have a job to lose. I'm the granddaughter of a UNION coal miner, and my great-grandfathers -three out of four of 'em -were coal miners as well as my ancestors further back in Scotland. People today may say they dislike the unions, that they are corrupt, no good for anything, etc., but if it hadn't been for the courage of those people over a hundred years ago to stand together, I don't even want to think about where we would be today! Trust me though, there are stil a whole lot of jobs in existence in this country today where a union would be a darned good thing to help those folks get at least a living wage. Around here, the only people who have jobs that pay a decent living wage, with benefits and such, are those who are lucky enough to get a job in a unionized setting.

9/7/09, 3:58 PM  
Blogger dr sardonicus said...

On the contrary, unions were not only strong in the East, but also in the industrial cities of the Midwest, and along the West Coast as well. Joe Hill did most of his organizing in the West. Today, Las Vegas is one of the most unionized cities in America - the casinos are almost all union. Of course, the South was and is the most resistant section of the country to organized labor. Nearly all the right-to-work laws in America were passed between 1946 and 1950, mostly in Southern states.

9/9/09, 3:34 PM  

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