September 2, 2013
Today, is Labor Day a holiday in the celebration of labor. Many will grill out and relax as this is a day off for non-essential personnel. Many essential employees will work such as, fire, police, emergency and hospitality. Moreover, this is big day for retail to produce sales to stimulate buying – a shop and spend day. What is of utmost importance this holiday is a tribute to the contributions of labor.
The history of Labor Day “In many countries, the working classes sought to make May Day an official holiday, and their efforts largely succeeded. In the United States and Canada, however, the official holiday for workers is Labor Day in September. This day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, US President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.”
As we fast forward to current-events Labor Day buttresses the 50 year anniversary of Civil Rights and the boycotts, as well as petitions for increasing minimum wage to $15.00 an hour. These protests are met with big business responding to the demands as not possible without increasing costs. The U.S. have lost 200,000 teachers. Many union workers are in threat of loosing pensions plus more. On this day we can ask if labor is fairing better today than twenty years ago?
This is a day to reflect on our society and support the betterment of labor. A radio interview shared a gentleman who worked in fast food (Burger King) for nine years and over that time has been given a $0.15 increase. He expressed his challenge to support his children and keep on the lights. What is today but a memorial and appreciation of labor that cannot be ignored in real world dealings. The act is to produce sustainability causing labor within small and big business to thrive.
The nexuses of labor is that women are still paid $0.77 to their male counterpart. Blacks are unemployed more than double that of Whites. Youth are graduating to few jobs as tuition increases. The middle class is shrinking to working poor. Energy profit soar as energy prices increase. Technology is relied upon within a digital divide.
This is not all gloom but a reflection today on the state of labor and what can be done to improve these outcomes for today and tomorrow. What we are in society is the amalgamation and collaboration of labor driving the possibilities of production and innovation everyday.
To all Happy Labor Day!