Labor Day 2020

It’s Labor Day 2020 today and like seemingly everything else this year it feels strange. Let’s explore.

Labor Day is the day Americans set aside to honor the efforts of the working men and women of this country. It is a huge union holiday and if any of my regular readers haven’t figured out that I’m pro-union by now they have a reading comprehension problem.

My degree is in management and I was taught several causes of unions. In my mind they were all malarkey! (I have forgotten them all. They were just answers I put down on a test in order to get a passing grade.) The real cause of unions was bad management that exploited workers forcing them to bargain collectively.

While unions didn’t solve this particular problem keep in mind that the White House and much of physical infrastructure of America were built by slaves. While it never could have happened, do you think unions might have made a difference? I certainly do.

Labor Day is traditionally the point at which the baseball races get super serious. In 2020 who knows? I will admit I am surprised that the major leagues are still playing. With three games of consequence still to be played between this writing and Labor Day morning I’m pleasantly surprised that my Tampa Bay Rays will be sitting atop the American League East with only the margin to be determined.

Politically Labor Day is the beginning of the end of the campaign. When people get back from their last fling of the summer and the kids are all back in school the casual most Americans start making their choices. This year it looks more like the top of the seventh inning to me. (The eight being Election Day with the ninth being what seem at this point the inevitable fights to follow.)

The Labor movement in the form of unions made the American middle class and significantly raised the standard of living for all American households, union and non-union alike. It gave the working class dignity.

If you asked most Americans to pick the darkest day in American history the leading candidates would be December 7, 1941 (Pearl Harbor Day) and September 11, 2001 (9/11).  I would advance January 21, 1981 (Ronald Reagan’s first inauguration) and August 5, 1981 (the day Reagan fired the union air traffic controllers of PATCO) as my nominees. That firing was the beginning of the end of the union movement in America. Is it any wonder that since the Reagan administration working class buying power has remained stagnant (and declined in the cases of many individuals) while the top 1% has gotten magnificently more wealthy?

The South was the leader in slavery and has been the leader in the anti-union movement. It has also been the core of the Republican electorate since the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  (You don’t have to be a racist to be a Republican or anti-union but there is a large overlap in that Venn diagram.) So-called Right to Work laws would more accurately be termed “right to be exploited”. Until and unless we rid our government legislatures and executive offices of anti-unionist (today almost exclusively calling themselves Republicans and conservatives) the lot of the average working family will not improve. You have what may be your last chance to preserve America as a baby boomer like me remembers it this fall. VOTE!!!!!! Unfortunately if Trump and/or enough of his sycophants are returned to office there may not be another opportunity.

One final word: Enjoy the holiday but please do it safely while practicing social distancing and wearing a mask in the presence of other which should never include large groups especially indoors.

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