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Sep 05 2011

On This Labor Day

On your (maybe) holiday, don’t forget:

  • In the middle of appalling un- and underemployment, our government is still clinging to fiscal policies that were largely designed to keep unemployment at their preferred rate, resulting in a semi-permanent group of the unemployed.
  • Despite coming into office in the middle of an employment crisis, Obama abandoned any kind of job plan after his initial stimulus, to the point where we don’t really know what he intends to say today when he “rededicates” himself to U.S. jobs, though we can be pretty sure that another direct stimulus is not on the table, no matter how successful the first was.
  • Many governments are using this opportunity to reduce employee wages and benefits and even to decide that unions may be denied any bargaining position.
  • In private industry, companies are posting record profits, but they’re mostly doing it by using fewer workers and paying them less in wages and benefits. Some of those profits come from mismanaged industries that forced concessions from their unions when times were bad and are improving life for management only now that profits are high.
  • Even this holiday was a tiny concession to the forces of labor, and holding it in September instead of May, when the rest of the world celebrates the power of labor, was a way of separating labor from the political movements that formally recognized their worth and rights.

But hey, enjoy your (maybe) day off with (maybe) pay.

Then it’s time to realize that the only way to get properly paid for our labor requires yet more labor. The president is making a speech, but he can’t enact legislation. Make sure your representative and senators know you want them to enact the policies. Tell them and the White House that you support the recent actions by the National Labor Relations Board. And tell them all that it’s time to get EFCA enacted, without waiting until we have nothing left to lose and so we’re not all fighting alone.

If enough of us do all of that, maybe we’ll have something to celebrate by next Labor Day.