Archive for labor movement

"Labor Day: the red-headed stepchild of holidays... to honor not the dead, but the living. Our workforce."


unions labor day gop

Today’s guest post by the one, the only, Will Durst:


Hey, it’s Labor Day, everybody. Woo- hoo. Okay, we’re partying now. Throw your arms in the air and wave them like you just don’t care. Blow up some balloons. Tap a keg. Rip open a bag of chips. Because this isn’t a champagne and caviar kind of thing. This is the very definition of blue collar. If collars be worn at all.

It was 1894 when Labor Day first punched into work. Grover Cleveland signed it into law 6 days after the end of the Pullman Strike during which federal troops killed more than 30 strikers. Cynics saw it as a kind of make-up sex between the government and the American worker. Well, flowers and candy anyhow.

The first Monday of September was specifically picked to bridge the long holiday gap between 4th of July and Thanksgiving and to get as far away from May Day as possible. In the late 19th Century, labor unions were one thing, but Communists were a horse of a different color.

For 120 years, Labor Day has been the red-headed stepchild of holidays. As glamorous as the guy with a shovel following a mule in a parade. Something you roll out to get Child Protective Services off your butt. “Look, we gave you an entire day, now give it a rest, would you? What do you want, cake?”

Goldilocks would have loved Labor Day. Not too hot. Not too cold. Less incendiary than Easter and Christmas, but with a decidedly higher thermal print than the International Talk Like a Pirate Day; fast approaching on September 19. Hard to believe its time to dig out the eye patch, wooden leg and Jolly Roger. Again. Already.

Because of Labor Day’s peculiar calendar placement, it has morphed into not so much a celebration as a seasonal signal flag. Here lies the tired, dried- up body of summer. Time to roll up the garden hose and recharge the snow blower. Bury the swimsuits and exhume the parkas. Watermelon smoothies give way to pumpkin lattes. Weenie roasts on the back deck- no. Tailgating in a dirt parking lot- yes.

The lazy hazy days are over and school and football have kicked off. And this holiday Monday is but one final chance to party in the long light. Meanwhile, the significance of what we’re commemorating has gotten lost in a last gasp blast of beer, baseball and barbecue.

Labor Day is meant to be a day we set aside to honor not the dead, but the living. Our workforce. One single day off so the real nine to five heroes that keep this country humming can hang with their families and friends before squaring their shoulders and getting back to the job of earning a living and carving out the future. And maybe one day at a theme park on someone’s 10th birthday without having to take out a second mortgage.

It’s a day to catch our breath. To celebrate the contributions of all of America’s working folk. From the floor of the stock exchange to the stockroom of Amazon. To recognize the pistons that keep the engine of this country pumping along. And no need to bring gifts, although that whole flowers and candy thing is never a bad idea. And maybe some chips and beer and what the hell… cake. Who doesn’t like cake?

Catch 5 time Emmy nominee, Will Durst’s new one- man show “BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG” every Tuesday until November, at the Marsh, San Francisco. Go to… for more info. Or


What a difference a union can make!


unions right to work for less cartoon gopVia.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words, so these must be worth millions (keep scrolling to see who wants to destroy unions and why):

labor unions brought usunions gave usunions make more money infographic via moveon

We are also cross-posting this new graphic with permission:

union pay difference food industry

This is the union difference for our members working in the food service industry. Reblog if you agree food workers deserve a good wage AND paid sick days!

Of course Republicans are doing their level best to crush unions, because organized labor is a major source of support and donations to Democrats, although no match for big corporations:

chart maddow unions v corps campaign spending smaller

For example, Michigan Dictator, er, Gov. Snyder is no fan of unions, nor is Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. But at least, after “Right to Work”, Snyder’s popularity plummeted. By the way, Michigan’s “Right to Work” law contains verbatim language from an ALEC model bill.

And don't get me started on how they're trying to do away with the USPS. Psst! “It’s called the U.S. Postal Service because it is a service, not a corporation.”

Did I mention Sen. Rand Paul submitted a national “right to work” (for less) bill? Or how emails linked the Jeb Bush foundation, corporations, ALEC, and education officials? Guess who benefits? Corporate funders.

And then there's this post about Reince Priebus who thinks the Republican platform is just dandy, it's the way they talk about it that needs fixing. He'd love to see unions go away.

Oh, and “Right to work” is a lie.

And finally, courtesy of Daily Kos’s TheNewDeal00Follow, Thank a Union: 36 Ways Unions Have Improved Your Life:

36 Reasons Why You Should Thank a Union

All Breaks at Work, including your Lunch Breaks
Paid Vacation
Sick Leave
Social Security
Minimum Wage
Civil Rights Act/Title VII (Prohibits Employer Discrimination)
8-Hour Work Day
Overtime Pay
Child Labor Laws
Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA)
40 Hour Work Week
Worker’s Compensation (Worker’s Comp)
Unemployment Insurance
Workplace Safety Standards and Regulations
Employer Health Care Insurance
Collective Bargaining Rights for Employees
Wrongful Termination Laws
Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967
Whistleblower Protection Laws
Employee Polygraph Protect Act (Prohibits Employer from using a lie detector test on an employee)
Veteran’s Employment and Training Services (VETS)
Compensation increases and Evaluations (Raises)
Sexual Harassment Laws
Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA)
Holiday Pay
Employer Dental, Life, and Vision Insurance
Privacy Rights
Pregnancy and Parental Leave
Military Leave
The Right to Strike
Public Education for Children
Equal Pay Acts of 1963 & 2011 (Requires employers pay men and women equally for the same amount of work)
Laws Ending Sweatshops in the United States

I could go on about union busting, but I'm trying to keep my lunch down. I knew you'd understand.


VIDEO: "We worked hard to fight for queer youth."


Randi Weingarten equality

Earlier this month The Center for Excellence in School Counseling and Leadership held it's 4th annual national educator conference focusing on LGBTQIA youth. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers, released this powerful message for the CESCaL educators and counselors at the conference:


She covers a lot of vitally important topics. Please watch the whole video. It's incredibly important to see leaders like Randi standing up for these issues.

The labor movement has done a lot for the LGBT community. We need to see more leaders like Weingarten reaching out and making statements like these:

"We worked hard to fight for queer youth. We believe that all schools should be safe spaces for every child to grow and express themselves."

"We've even led the way with bullying campaigns..."

"Today, I could get married in the United States."

"[But] we still live in a country that tells us that our love is unequal."


Repeal Effort Against Ohio’s Anti-Union Law Collects 1 Million More Signatures Than Needed


I was driving on the amazingly not-gridlocked L.A. freeways today, my radio tuned to KTLK Progressive radio, as it always is... when whose voice did I hear on the Thom Hartmann Show? Why, none other than our own Cliff Schecter's.

But that's not surprising, considering he's a regular on that show now.

No, what was surprising is that he reported that (and I'm also quoting Think Progress here) "activists delivered nearly 1.3 million signatures to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office today to put a repeal of the state’s anti-union SB 5 law on the ballot next Election Day."

According to Cliff, they only needed about 231,000.

1.3 million people, give or take, are pissed off at John Kasich and Co's Scott Walker-like union-busting efforts, and are making themselves heard. This is what democracy looks like.

Oh, and it also looks like this:


Teachers union leader to Gov. Walker: “Attacks” have strengthened us. "We are not going away."


The annual fall convention for Wisconsin's largest teacher's union has been discontinued, thanks to one of the country's worst governors, Scott Walker and his anti-union bill.  Now WEAC may have to lay off staff because of dropping membership numbers.

But that's not dampening their spirits.

WEAC President Mary Bell, via WisPolitics:

“It (layoffs) certainly is an implication we know would be there with budget reductions; we just don’t know what those are going to be yet until we get a better idea of membership numbers and the discussion we have tomorrow about budget... WEAC will remain the collective voice of educators and as strong an advocate for schools and communities as we ever have been. There is in the commitment to that in each of our delegates today... Given the direction and the passion of the educators that gathered here today, while the governor’s attack on our union will undoubtedly impact our organization our focus and our commitment to engage members on issues that impact the profession and Wisconsin’s public school has never been stronger... We will survive this and adjust accordingly. One thing is clear: we are not going to go away. We are stronger, we are louder and we are more united than ever.”


And the New Civil Rights Movement continues...


Opponents of Ohio's collective bargaining law cleared to move forward


Today's Quickie:

John Kasich, take note, a group called We Are Ohio can start collecting signatures to get this measure to the voters. Via the Kennebec Journal:

Opponents of Ohio's new collective bargaining law have been cleared to move forward with their effort to get a referendum on the ballot this November.

It takes 231,000 valid signatures, and they have until June 30. The New Civil Rights Movement is on a roll.

That was today's Quickie. Was it good for you?


Ohio Lawmakers To Introduce Bill To Recall Gov. John Kasich


See, John, this is what happens when you call cops "idiots" and kiss Mitch Daniels' hiney... among other things, including an assault on labor unions.

Via Think Progress:

Kasich has repeatedly balked at transparency, reneged on his own promises to vulnerable constituents, insulted law enforcement and minorities, and muscled through a highly unpopular anti-union bill that dramatically restricts 350,000 workers’ rights.

In response to Kasich’s disastrous reign, Democratic state Reps. Mike Foley and Bob Hagan will introduce legislation this week to make Ohio the 20th state to allow voters to remove and replace state officials, including the governor and legislators.

The bill will probably not get passed since there's a Republican majority in the legislature.

Should Ohio’s recall bill fail, the state’s citizenry does have a “fall back option” to write the power of recall into the Ohio Constitution by collecting almost 400,000 signatures of registered voters.

It's more than the simply the thought that counts. It's the signatures.