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Lend Labor Day Love to These 4 Striking Worker Groups

Lend Labor Day Love to These 4 Striking Worker Groups

The United States Department of Labor heralds Labor Day as a “dedica[tion] to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contribution of workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Funny how we still have a holiday devoted to the labor movement, while modern day politicians and media figures relentlessly try to vilify such organizations. Let’s refuse to buy into this propaganda and continue to support the unions that have pushed for better living and working conditions for all Americans.

Here are 4 labor groups that could use our support on this holiday:

1. Fast Food Workers

The labor dispute gaining the most attention currently is between fast food workers and their management. Unions have organized sporadic strikes at assorted restaurants across the country, including McDonalds, Taco Bells and KFCs, though there are currently mobilization efforts to turn the strike into a nationwide action.

Workers are demanding both the ability to unionize and a living wage. The $200 billion fast food industry is hardly short on profits to pay its employees fairly, but it may require the companies to stop paying their executives more than twice as much in a single day than their average worker makes in a year.

Show your support by signing this petition!

2. BART Employees

San Francisco’s popular public transit line is currently in a heated labor dispute. Though the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) continues to run during a 60-day “cooling off” time, it looks like the dispute might not get settled during this period on account of a $100 million discrepancy between union and management proposals.

BART workers haven’t received a raise in five years; their union representatives argue that pay needs to be adjusted to not only match inflation, but also the extraordinary cost of living around San Francisco.

The threat of a BART strike is frightening business for a city that has previously experienced the repercussions. With BART servicing nearly 375,000 passengers each weekday, buses and ferries were ill equipped to handle the sudden surplus, leaving many of the city’s commuters stranded.

3. The Minnesota Orchestra

Since last autumn, the Minnesota Orchestra has been in a prolonged labor dispute with its management. After having to cancel last year’s symphony season altogether, it looks similar action could occur this year if an agreement isn’t reached in the next couple of weeks. This time, however, if the two parties can’t successfully negotiate, the Minnesota Orchestra is likely to be permanently — apology for the pun — disbanded.

Thus far, the musicians are unimpressed with the management’s offer to cut their base pay by 32%. While the Minnesota Orchestra did agree to a mediator’s proposed compromise that would have the group rehearsed and ready for upcoming Carnegie Hall concerts, it was the management that declined this proposal.

4. Port Truck Drivers

Los Angeles and Long Beach port truck drivers are fighting the good fight for the ability to unionize. Comparing their jobs to “sweatshops on wheels,” the truckers complain that they are paid wages that leave them in poverty, are denied bathroom breaks and are forced to work overtime without compensation.

Thus far, the drivers’ parent company, Green Fleet, has intimidated the workers from trying to unionize, even going so far as to hire a law firm known for union-busting. Still, their threats were not enough to stop over one-third of the workforce from striking this past Monday, hindering the day’s shipping business.

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Photo Credit: Mtume Soul, Photo Credit: Chris Dilts, Photo Credit: Steve Rhodes, Photo Credit: meetminneapolis, Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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10:42PM PDT on Sep 27, 2013

We are being taxed to death. And this is one of the worst!

9:11PM PDT on Sep 12, 2013

signed fast food petition...couldn't find one for B.A.R.T. & TRUCKERS

1:51AM PDT on Sep 11, 2013

David F, you're an effin' moron without an ounce of human decency. A good example of why conservatives have to lie about everything.

11:31PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Someone mentioned the "fair tax" as being the best tax. The "fair tax" is on consumption and is grossly unfair to lower income people who have to spend every cent they earn just to stay alive.

4:55PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013


3:33PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

Nick A. this is the first paragraph from the Department of Labor’s page on Labor Day: “Labor Day the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

12:04PM PDT on Sep 10, 2013

John, As you may, perhaps, recall the previous president Bush43 took the nation with a budgetary surplus exceeding $800 Billion with a plan which would have paid off the nation’s debt by 2011! The country was in the best shape it had been in since JFK. Alas the nation he left for Obama was in the worst shape it had been in since the Great Depression. Our president was a bit involved trying to fix the mess Bush left him; however, the minimum wage was raised on July 24, 2009.

2:09AM PDT on Sep 7, 2013

Bravo, Elaine, but according to Cato, Heritage, Club for Growth, etc, you're not a conservative. You're a bleeding heart liberal and maybe even a commie!

David F: You really are pathetic. I've thrown fact after fact your way, and all I get in return is complaints about name calling, though I'd characterize myself as blunt - someone who calls a spade a spade, not a garden implement, and accusations that I've changed the subject, despite having done no such thing. A person of normal intelligence can understand examples brought up to make points. Of course, a person of normal intelligence knows how to spell his favorite thing.

Hey, Nick - what, no answers for me?

10:02PM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

Elaine, I got your very nice personal message, but I was unable to respond (I think you have me blocked, lol)

9:32PM PDT on Sep 6, 2013

Wow Elaine, what an outstanding comment. I am truly impressed. Your green star is en route.

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