Sunday, September 05, 2010

Let's quit pretending. Just abolish Labor Day!

America 2010: There'll always be a need for custodial services jobs
 if you're not fortunate enough to have one in the defense industry.

Of all U.S. holidays celebrated, Labor Day is the one I find most offensive.  Not because it celebrates the hard fought for (and many won) concessions by America's organized labor forces, sometimes at extreme sacrifices to include lives, but precisely because of  the exact opposite -- the total vilification and decimation of the American labor movement that fought for such benefits as higher wages, employer-provided health insurance, pensions, holidays and paid sick leave. In its heyday, the gains made by unionized labor pressured non-union shops to increase same for their workers, resulting in a strong, secure middle class. A middle class now in a state of putrefaction.

Deliciously ironic is many, many of those Americans celebrating Labor Day with friends and family in backyard gatherings or at parks, waterfronts and mountains around barbeques and mini beer kegs this weekend are folks who agree with such polls as a 2007 one conducted by Gallup that ranked Ronald Reagan as the 2nd greatest president in U.S. History -- just behind Abraham Lincoln! Ironic because Reagan himself, twice president of the  Screen Actor's Guild union and supporter of Poland's Solidarity union led by Lech Wałęsa, was big Kahuna as buster of the U.S. Air Traffic Controller's union, firing 13,000 of its members in 1981 and giving encouragement to all industries struggling under the yoke of American middle class enhancing unions to follow his example.

From the heyday of organized labor that once represented 1/3 of all private workers in the U.S. in the mid-20th Century, unions today represent less than 8% of those workers. Unions are dead and the middle class is following them in growing numbers in a grand march to graveyards across America.

So as we celebrate another holiday this coming Monday, let's cancel once and for all the hypocrisy of hoisting a tall cool one before that second game of family beach volleyball played amidst wafting aromas of burgers and ribs in some phony pretense of honoring labor. The Labor movement  is dead!

Call it by its rightful name, whatever you decide,  be it a tribute to deregulation, free markets, free trade, "Wall Street Day," or a  recognition of tax cuts to the rich that supposedly benefit their less fortunate underlings with the trickle down jobs that still remain after those that have fled offshore; jobs for lower pay and less benefits. But please, please (!), don't call it Labor Day.

Oh, and  by the way, it'll be a holiday without pay! It's what we've earned. It's what we deserve.

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