I reprint here a portion of an excellent article written by my friend, Rick Patelunas, of Myrtle Beach, SC. I believe it captures the importance of Labor Day in current times.
This Labor Day
There are signs of hope.
Earlier this year, teachers showed what can be done when there is solidarity at a grassroots level. Teachers were fighting for more than better pay. They were fighting for respectability, for school funding and most importantly, for the students.
The fight was for schools that don’t leak in the rain and textbooks that are not older than the students. Even during their strike, teachers worked with the community to organize soup kitchens and lunches for students whose only decent meal was the subsidized lunch at school.
This summer, members of the Teamsters union representing a quarter of a million workers at UPS voted to go on strike. The strike was averted with a tentative agreement, but its final approval is not certain.
The Fight for Fifteen continues its struggle for workers’ issues like a livable wage and child care. Other workers struggling as Independent Contractors in the so-called Gig Economy are beginning to organize.
Public or private, unionized or not, without workers, there is no Labor Day. More importantly, without workers, there are no brains or backbones to keep economy going.
Over two-thirds of the economy is consumer driven and by and large, workers are the consumers - and taxpayers.
The wealthy can only buy so many mansions and yachts before they have to stash their money in some investment, oftentimes offshore to avoid taxes.
This Labor Day, think about the reason for Labor Day and its history. Think about it when you go to the store for those Labor Day specials or when you check into the hotel for the holiday. Someone is working to make the specials possible and someone cleaned the hotel room for your holiday weekend.
Celebrate workers on Labor Day and support them throughout the rest of the year.