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The True Meaning of Labor Day

Business  (tags: Labor Day, workers, usa, americans, society, politics, labor )

- 1392 days ago -
For America's workers, Labor Day marks more than the end of summer. It's a reminder of the struggles we have won--and those that lie ahead.

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Anteater Ants (122)
Monday September 1, 2014, 9:21 am
noted, thank you

Roger G (154)
Monday September 1, 2014, 11:01 am
noted, thanks

Shirley H (49)
Monday September 1, 2014, 12:59 pm
Thanking all those who came before us.

Lois Jordan (63)
Monday September 1, 2014, 2:10 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Cal.

James Merit (144)
Monday September 1, 2014, 5:48 pm
Thank you for sharing.

Sheryl G (360)
Monday September 1, 2014, 6:01 pm
And there is much that lies ahead if we want to truly thank those who laid the ground work for a middle class to have existed in the first place. Claw back, make stronger, stand in Solidarity!

S J (130)
Monday September 1, 2014, 9:05 pm

Katie & Bill D (107)
Monday September 1, 2014, 9:28 pm
Look up Railroad Strikes of 1894 in Chicago, worker's were starving and had to work 16 hrs a day. This was when it all started, Grover Cleveland President Declared it to be Holiday! A , lot of History here and it has changed so much.
Thank you

Past Member (0)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 12:52 am
Thank you.

Maria Teresa Schollhorn (42)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 2:54 am
Thanks for sharing.

Sherry Coleman (71)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 3:09 am
Why celebrate this on September 1, when most countries do it on May 1st ?

Arild Gone for now (174)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 3:34 am
I believe 1st of May is too connected with Socialism/Communism for USA's taste.

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 4:46 am
Please take this opportunity to improve the lives of working people in the US! Act online (at least) to show that you know the real meaning of Labor Day, as Cal's post reminds us- See & Sign the petitions on the National Women's Law Center's online action page, including:

--> Tell Congress to Support the Fair Minimum Wage Act - "At just $7.25 an hour, today's federal minimum wage leaves a full-time working mom with two children thousands of dollars below the poverty line. The Fair Minimum Wage Act would give millions of workers a much-needed raise, including more than 1 in 5 working mothers, by gradually increasing the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 per hour. It would also increase the minimum cash wage for tipped workers — which has been stuck at $2.13 an hour for more than 20 years — to 70 percent of the regular minimum wage, and index both wages to inflation to keep up with the rising cost of living."

--> Urge Your Members of Congress to Co-sponsor the Schedules That Work Act / End Unfair, Unpredictable Work Schedules -
"This bill is an important step toward providing baseline labor protections from abusive scheduling practices and giving workers a say in their schedules. This bill would make our economy work better for everyone. Please urge your Members of Congress to sign on as a co-sponsor."

LucyKaleido ScopeEyes (82)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 5:47 am
Trying to make ends meet is still an ordeal for many working people. You don't have to go back to the 19th century to find people working 16 hours/day...or even more!

As Cal's post of this 'The Nation' article points out, "Half of all Americans now make less than $15 an hour. Of the ten fastest-growing jobs in America, eight are service-sector jobs that pay $15 an hour or less."

Whether it's in the retail or service sectors, including the notorious fast-food industry, it's mainly low-paying, part-time jobs that are now in the offing, jobs that don't provide a living wage and that compel people to take on additional jobs and/or work multiple shifts.

Just a week before Monday Labor Day, a young, New Jersey woman, wearing her Dunkin' Donuts uniform, was found dead in her car on a parking lot, where she'd been trying to catch a few hours sleep between shifts. The NY Daily News reported , "Maria Fernandes, 32, (who worked multiple jobs to support herself) died while snatching a few minutes of sleep in her car, succumbing to a deadly combination of carbon monoxide and fumes from an overturned gas container that she kept in her 2001 Kia Sportage, cops say.

The New Jersey woman worked shifts at Dunkin' Donuts shops in Harrison, Newark and Linden.

“She used to work like three shifts every day,” (a colleague) told “Sometimes she wouldn’t sleep for five days.”...

...The woman would sometimes finish an overnight shift at 6 a.m., sleep in her car for a few hours, and then move on to her next shift.

Despite the grueling schedule, Monday was the first time Fernandes missed a day of work. ../..."

I've just posted the Huffington Post's take on this tragic story, "Dunkin' Donuts Worker's Death Reveals The True Cost Of Our Low-Wage, Part-Time Economy". It was written just three days before Labor Day!

And it isn't an isolated incident: "Fernandes’ death is one of many recent examples of the extreme lengths to which low-income women must go to make a living these days."

It seems to me there is more to fight for (a living wage for all working people; full-time work with a regular salary & benefits) and to fight against (opposition to increasing the minimum wage & putting an end to unfair, unmanageable working schedules) than to celebrate on this Labor Day, when our economy is only able to offer low-wage, part-time work with erratic schedules that forces too many people, particularly women, to take on multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to get by & make ends meet!

7.5 million people getting by on part-time employment is not a footnote to the so-called economic recovery - it's enormous! And poor Maria Fernandes, whose grueling plight was ignored during her brief lifetime, is now in headlines, being called, "the face of the recession"!

Marija M (29)
Tuesday September 2, 2014, 11:25 am

Leanne B (46)
Wednesday September 3, 2014, 3:02 pm
Thanks Cal.
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