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crossposted from unbossed

Today there will be speeches and mentions of Labor Day. NPR had a piece by Clancy Sigal remembering his union organizer mother. link

This afternoon, I'm heading off to a Labor Day picnic for union members and their allies.

But, friends, we live in a country whose leaders declare that unions are anti-American. You don't buy that? Well, check this out. link

There has been a real war on unions by this administration. There was the attack on unions when the Department of Homeland Security was organized.  Remember the demand that they not be allowed to unionize? And Congress wrote it into law.


Because to them, unionization is not an American value and undermines our homeland security? But I ask: Is our security more endangered by poverty, lack of access to democratic institutions, disempowerment?

Last Labor Day I wrote a long piece about the state of labor and the vicious and almost unnoticed attack on public sector workers, the workers with the highest rate of unionization in the US.

Nothing has changed there. Nothing. The attack goes on.

Friends, it is two months - 60 days - till the showdown. So enjoy the picnic, the parades . . . and then gird your loins for battle.

So, let me leave you with this question from our rich tradition of labor activism - and please don't skip the last chorus:

Which Side Are You On?
by Florence Reese

Come all of you good workers
Good news to you I'll tell
Of how that good old union
Has come in here to dwell

      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?
      Which side are you on?

My daddy was a miner
And I'm a miner's son
And I'll stick with the union
Till every battle's won

They say in Harlan County
There are no neutrals there
You'll either be a union man
Or a thug for J.H. Blair

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can
Will you be a lousy scab
Or will you be a man?

Don't scab for the bosses
Don't listen to their lies
Us poor folks haven't got a chance
Unless we organize

Originally posted to shirah on Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 07:27 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sirota has posted his Op Ed and is on the Rec. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, shirah, joanneleon

    list.  Having said that, it can't hurt pointing out how much Republicans hate workers particularly on Labor Day.  

    The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity." - Harlan Ellison

    by dkmich on Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 07:15:59 AM PDT

  •  You are so right. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet, slatsg, dkmich

    In America, we are in the fight of our life.  The NLRB is threatening to take away the right to unionize for nurses and other workers.  No media is even talking about it. We are in serious trouble.

  •  What have unions done for us? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    You may ask: What have unions done for us? Here and here and [here] and more.

  •  Unions have done alot for us. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slatsg, shirah, joanneleon

    Historically, we'd all be chained in coal mines, still - if it wasn't for unions.  Having said that, they have some problems they need to fix.  Eliminating them is not the way to go.

    The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity." - Harlan Ellison

    by dkmich on Mon Sep 04, 2006 at 07:24:05 AM PDT

  •  What have unions done? (4+ / 0-)

    Consider how many of the basic rights and benefits we take for granted exist only as a result of the hard work and dedication of thousands of union men and women who struggled to win these rights for all people in the United States. The United States labor movement’s accomplishments include:

    Ending child labor
    Establishing the eight-hour work day and paid overtime
    Winning workers' comp benefits for workers injured on the job
    Securing unemployment insurance for workers who lose their jobs
    Securing a guaranteed minimum wage
    Improving workplace safety and reducing on-the-job fatalities
    Winning secured pensions for workers
    Winning health care insurance for workers
    Establishing paid sick leave, vacations, and holidays as standard benefits for most workers
    Winning passage of the Civil Right Acts, Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and many related state laws which outlaw job discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin
    Winning passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act
    Winning passage of the Family Medical Leave Act

  •  People should not use "terrorists" loosely. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    metal prophet

    The term should be used very selectively, e.g., reserved for the likes of bin Laden, Bush, Cheney, Rummy, the 19 hijackers, etc.

  •  Yesterday's Bird Diaper diary (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, yesterday was Science Sunday where I got to write about Bird Diapers and the use of balloons in teaching chemistry. link here.

  •  Where the rubber meets the road (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The history of organized labor shows us how things go when the rubber meets the road.  It's often not pretty and requires some real fight to protect the rights of working Americans.  We must be tough and smart, and never be fooled or intimidated by the tactics of those driven by greed who would toss our quality of life aside in a second for their own purposes.  

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