Labor Day – Discussion Topic

Labor Day Meaning:

The United States Department of Labor gives the following explanation.

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.


Labor rights in the states are a shaky thing. Sure, we have a holiday and I believe that’s meant to make us feel appreciated and respected. Truth is, we are neither. 

You often hear people discussing job growth in relation to politics. What most people don’t mention is the quality of these so-called new jobs. Most of the jobs available are minimum wage jobs that don’t pay enough to live. 

But, we’re supposed to be appreciative of those new businesses and new jobs. Even though they contribute to the overwhelmingly large number of people who try to survive below the poverty line. 

Quality of new job creation is key. Obviously. 

Let’s talk about workers for a minute. Let’s say you are being treated poorly at your job and the lot of you want change. Say you strike. Say you stand outside with signs and refuse to work until your demands are at the very least acknowledged. Very few workers are part of a union anymore so that protection is gone. Most states are “at will” states. This means that an employer can fire you from your job without reason or notice at any time. 

So, you strike. As protesters, you will most likely be arrested. Now, not only are you most likely out of a job, you also have fines to pay for protesting. The company who is treating you unfairly; yeah, no fines for them.

Oh yeah, and now you have a criminal record. Which you have to now list on any resume you fill out.

This day pisses me off. My husband works in a shop that in the summer regularly hits over 130 degrees. Because he is commission, they can require him to be at work even if they aren’t paying him to be there. As long as his total weekly wages equal at least minimum wage….that’s all that matters. He also doesn’t get overtime pay. At all.

This holiday is meant to make workers feel like they still have rights and power to make change.

Truth is, you don’t. In this Oligarchy we exist within, only those who have money have power. 

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What are your thoughts?

 

 

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One thought on “Labor Day – Discussion Topic

  1. To me, Labor Day serves as a reminder of the people in the past whose sacrifices spurred changes in labor laws and safety regulations (Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, child miners, etc…).

    It also reminds me of the changes that still need to be made to grant workers more rights. We have companies that follow the bare minimum of labor laws to avoid being sued or fined; there are still plenty of companies that offer health benefits for an exorbitant rate and then fire workers for “excessive absenteeism,” even when the workers have doctors notes; companies are still allowed to implement policies that are covertly discriminatory; and I don’t know about you, but the unions in my area are ineffective at working with companies to establish fair and equitable policies and helping their workers find jobs after being laid off. We won’t even go into how minimum wage is so low that it is next to impossible for full-time employees to support their families.

    So, yeah… I have a big problem with “celebrating” Labor Day too. It shouldn’t be about barbecues and sales, it should be about reminding voters that this country as a very long way to go in passing laws that provide workers with more rights and protections.

    Liked by 1 person

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