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Labor Day

Labor Day 2021: Creeping Austerity Has Arrived

Today, September 6, 2021, Labor Day in the USA, brings nothing to celebrate for American workers. As the most recent Labor Department monthly job report a few days ago revealed, job recovery has hit a wall. After averaging 750,000 jobs over each of the preceding three months, from May to July, job recovery this past August fell by more than two-thirds, to only 235,000. The jobs numbers were particularly weak for job recovery in the service occupations, which were hit hard by Covid resurgence. Jobs in hotels, bars, and restaurants in late July-early August–i.e. the period covered by the latest government jobs reports–began contracting once again following three months of recovery May to mid-July. Moreover, due to the Covid delta variant intensifying during August, the numbers will likely worsen further through August and into September, given that only 53% of Americans are vaccinated.

The Labor Day Dreams Of Black Workers

As our second pandemic Labor Day approaches, Black worker leaders are determined to never again bear the brunt of a national crisis as they have under Covid-19. How can we make the recovery more equitable — and improve conditions for Black workers before the next crisis hits? We asked nine leading Black labor organizers and policy advocates for their views.

Labor Day Reflection: Time For Americans To Participate In Power

The Roman philosopher and statesman, Marcus Tullius Cicero said: “Freedom is participation in power.”  By that standard Americans are not free.  We do not participate in power. We do not even have power over our own economic lives, our elected “representatives” ignore us and listen to the moneyed interests sending the United States in the wrong direction on issue after issue.  The American people know better, would govern better and need to participate in power. When you dispassionately review the reality of the U.S. economy, it is a depressing state of affairs that screams out for Americans to get up, stand up and shout: “we can do better than the political and economic elites.”

What Labor Day Means To My South Side And Black Union Family

By Dorian Warren for Chicago Sun Times - My grandparents were janitors in Chicago, the children of sharecroppers who fled the racist violence and oppression of the South for new opportunities in the North. They began their working lives in the 1940s when jobs did not have benefits like pensions and health care. They lived in public housing because black people could not move wherever they wanted. But my grandparents made a fateful decision one day to join the union. That single decision influenced the opportunities for all the subsequent generations in my family. My family’s union story is that of black American families who joined the middle class with good-paying jobs, benefits and better working conditions. My janitor grandparents were members of the Janitors’ Union, SEIU Local 1. The union ensured they had jobs that helped them save money and eventually buy a home on the South Side. The union ensured my grandparents could send the first person in our family to college – my mother. In the 1950s, only two avenues were available to smart, young black women like my mom. She could be a nurse or a teacher. She chose teaching and taught in public school for more than 40 years.

Labor Day: Lots Of Worker Victories This Summer

By Michael Arria for AlterNet. Labor Day is regarded as "the unofficial end of summer" for many Americans, a time for one last cookout party and back-to-school discounts. Its history is all but forgotten but it remains crucial. The holiday was signed into law by President Grover Cleveland in 1894, days after members of the United States Army and the United States Marshall Service had killed 30 workers during the Pullman Strike. The legislation was something of an attempt to win hearts and minds: unions were justifiably skeptical of the government and the holiday was seen as a way to win some support. May 1st was floated out, but people already celebrated International Workers' Day on that day, commemorating the workers killed during the Haymarket Affair. Cleveland thought celebrating Labor Day on May 1st would encourage more protests, strikes and riots. The first Monday of September was selected to avoid further unrest. This Labor Day is a particularly great opportunity to remember the holiday's history as 2016 has featured some major victories for workers.

Newsletter: Labor Day Time To Build Worker Power

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Private-sector workers who are members of a union have fallen from 1 in 3 workers in the 1950s to about 1 in 20 today. Politics is about power and the loss of organized worker power has meant a loss in political power for all workers and a loss of wealth, income and benefits. In recent years, there have been strong signs that labor is getting more organized and militant in fighting for worker rights. They have linked worker issues to other issues, e.g. racial injustice, climate change and creating stronger communities; and are showing signs of resurrection. Recent years have seen aggressive attacks against workers: pension funds are raided, health benefits are cut or ended, the right to collective bargaining is destroyed and social services are cut. This is dramatic and needs to be reversed.

Newsletter: Economy Of The Future-Economic Democracy

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance - This Labor Day weekend rather than looking at the history and current struggles of workers, we look to the future and imagine what will work be like in 2025 or 2050. What will the overall economy look like? What is our vision for an economy that works for the people? There are some major trends that indicate we are in the midst of a radical transformation of what work means and how people will have income. There will never be enough jobs in the future so we need a new way to ensure people have money on which to live and to keep the economy going. It is time to figure out how to provide people with a basic income where everyone receives a single basic income to provide for a comfortable living whether they work or not. To create wealth among workers, worker ownership through worker cooperatives or worker self-directed enterprises need to be encouraged. It takes roots to weather a storm, and the storm is here.
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