Labor Day revisited

September 6th, 2015 by Ken

A little over a century ago, on September 5, 1882, thousands of American workers paraded down the main street of New York City in an effort to convince the American public that labor unions were here to stay.

Their main struggle was for an eight-hour day, a good wage and decent working conditions.   It was the first Labor Day.

What followed was a struggle between owners of companies – – backed by the state and the federal government – – against the workers and their unions.   A brutal, vicious struggle followed that killed thousands and left this country bitterly divided.

It wasn’t until World War II and the great demand for American labor, that unions were able to make significant inroads and receive government support and blessing.

For decades following World War II labor saw its struggle for better and safer working conditions, shorter work weeks, and a living wage – bear fruit.   By the end of the 1960’s, these conditions had become so common place that the need for a union became secondary.

Unions began to see a decline in membership, accentuated as American corporations began to manufacture and produce overseas.   Blue collar unions were in a free fall.   The union movement was written off as old and out date.   It had become – –  unnecessary.

But, as all good organizers do, they took a look at new markets and found a new source to organize – – public employees, teachers, government workers.

Today those categories make up more than half of all union members.

Here in our own state the teacher unions have gone to court over and over and over again in an effort to force the taxpayers to pay more for education.  The result is a stronger union with more power.

Where once government was the enemy of the working man, government is now the friend of its employees.

Millions of dollars of union dues have gone into election campaigns.   All six women members of the Washington State Supreme Court have received money from teacher and government unions.    Recent court cases have all gone in favor of the unions, including most recently the repeal of state support for charter schools.

Labor Day celebrates the fact that labor has succeeded beyond its wildest dreams.   The other side of that dream is the nightmare that many former manufacturing jobs have gone overseas or to non-union states.

With nothing left to organize, unions are now taking over the government and forcing the taxpayers to pay.

Total control of the government is just an election away.

Posted in Business, Government, History, Informational, Local Politics, The Real News

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