We built that: thank the labor movement


Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

Labor movement
Credit: The Other 98%

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a "workingmen's holiday" on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

The first governmental recognition came through municipal ordinances
passed during 1885 and 1886. From these, a movement developed to secure
state legislation. The first state bill was introduced into the New York
legislature, but the first to become law was passed by Oregon on
February 21, 1887. During the year four more states — Colorado,
Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York — created the Labor Day holiday
by legislative enactment. By the end of the decade Connecticut,
Nebraska, and Pennsylvania had followed suit. By 1894, 23 other states
had adopted the holiday in honor of workers, and on June 28 of that
year, Congress passed an act making the first Monday in September of
each year a legal holiday in the District of Columbia and the

Screenshot from 2013-09-02 07:34:39On March 4, 1913, President William Howard Taft — on his last day in office —
reluctantly signed legislation creating the U.S. Department of Labor
and giving workers a direct seat in the President's Cabinet for the
first time.The Department of labor delbrated its centennial earlier this year with the production of a centennial video, an interactive timeline, a series of historical posters and collection a of historical vignettes in our DOL newsletter — all designed to educate, inform and inspire the public about our rich history.

Thomas Perez, the newly confirmed Labor Secretary, is interviewed in the Washington Post today. Conversations: Labor Secretary Thomas Perez.

Linda Hatfield, President of CWA Local 7000, penned a guest opinion for Inside Tiucson Business Weekly for Labor Day. 36
reasons to thank the labor movement this weekend

Labor Day, which this year we’ll celebrate on Monday, 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.

It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker. It is also important to note that virtually all the benefits you have at work, whether you work in the public or private sector, all of the benefits and rights you enjoy every day are there because unions fought hard and long for them against big business that did everything it could to prevent giving you your rights.

Many union leaders and members even lost their lives for things we take for granted today. If certain groups would rather support corporations instead of organized groups of workers working to secure a fair work environment i.e. a union, I ask them to walk the walk as well. Give up every benefit and right that you use that unions are responsible for.

Here are 36 reasons why you should thank a union:

1. Weekends

2. All breaks at work, including your lunch breaks

3. Paid vacation

4. Family and Medical Leave Act

5. Sick leave

6. Social Security

7. Minimum wage

8. Civil Rights Act, Title VII prohibitng employer discrimination

9. Eight-hour work day

10. Overtime pay

11. Child labor laws

12. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)

13. 40-hour work week

14. Worker’s compensation

15. Unemployment insurance

16. Pensions

17. Workplace safety standards and regulations

18. Employer health care insurance

19. Collective bargaining rights for employees

20. Wrongful termination laws

21. Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967

22. Whistleblower protection laws

23. Employee Polygraph Protection Act prohibiting employers from using a lie detector test on an employee

24. Veterans Employment and Training Services (VETS)

25. Compensation increases and evaluations, or pay raises

26. Sexual harassment laws

27. Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)

28. Holiday pay

29. Employer dental, life, and vision insurance

30. Privacy rights

31. Pregnancy and parental leave

32. Military leave

33. The right to strike

34. Public education for children

35. Equal Pay Acts of 1963 and 2011 requiring employers to pay men and women equally for the same amount of work

36. Laws ending sweatshops in the United States

So will conservatives give up all 36 of these union fought rights? Will they stand by their rhetoric that unions are thugs and refuse to take benefits from these “thugs” or will they hypocritically carry on the diatribe that unions are ruining this country while enjoying their weekends and paid vacations?

Or maybe conservatives could just acknowledge that unions are not demons spawned from hell and admit the fact that they have improved people’s lives, incuding theirs, in more ways than one.

Labor Day is dedicated to appreciating the contributions of the working class and how they help build our country’s strength and prosperity.

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AZ BlueMeanie
The Blue Meanie is an Arizona citizen who wishes, for professional reasons, to remain anonymous when blogging about politics. Armed with a deep knowledge of the law, politics and public policy, as well as pen filled with all the colors stolen from Pepperland, the Blue Meanie’s mission is to pursue and prosecute the hypocrites, liars, and fools of politics and the media – which, in practical terms, is nearly all of them. Don’t even try to unmask him or he’ll seal you in a music-proof bubble and rendition you to Pepperland for a good face-stomping. Read blog posts by the infamous and prolific AZ Blue Meanie here.