Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Unions and Labor Day

Ever wonder why we are one of the few countries in the world that celebrates labor day in September? Well, you can thank the anti-Communist wave in this country. As noted in a previous May Day post, the real labor day, May 1, was started by unions as a movement throughout the world following the Haymarket massacre (brought to us by Chicago's finest and the Illinois criminal justice system). However, because of the Soviet Union and the Cold War, and the Soviet expropriation of May Day as a major holiday (after all, it was the worker's paradise [I always enjoyed watching those marching throngs of pipe fitters in uniforms, guns, and tanks]), the US Congress responded by turning May 1 into Law Day (yes, law day, so to make you complacent workers into obedient citizens who would never violate a court order against your union).

As a result of the aforementioned, our Labor Day was switched to the first Monday of September (this year, September 7), several months away from those May Day heathens, and more importantly dividing our unions and population from everyone else's. It is this mindset that has contributed to our 'exceptionalism' or as some would call it isolation from the outside world.

And just in time for the upcoming Labor Day festivities is the gutting of the Employee Free Choice Act. You may remember some of the news stories on it. Those rapscallions in Congress are trying to give employees the right to form unions, a difficult process currently, since employers get the first crack at browbeating and threatening their workers if they were ever so inclined to a union. And why would those workers want a union? Because in every industry where workers are in one, without exception, unionized workers have greater pay and benefits when compared to non-union workers in similar jobs. All of this is known to the employers, of course, which is why they so steadfastly hate unions.

Just how much do our anti-union friends in business hate this bill? Here was the response of Home Depot founder Bernie Marcus (who has never met an employee he didn't want to underpay): "If a retailer has not gotten involved with this, if he has not spent money on this election, if he has not sent money to Norm Coleman and these other guys," then those retailers "should be shot; should be thrown out of their goddamn jobs." I guess there will be no weekends at Bernie's for us. Nothing like an honest businessperson to remind you of why capitalism demands the division of labor and rationalized poverty (including murder when the owner does not get his way).

Low and behold, just in time to rescue the employers, like they are rescuing the insurance industry, some of our esteemed members of the Senate are holding out on the bill. They are the usual suspects. DLC/Blue Dog Democrats, who feel as though holding the water of employers and the financial interests who subsidize their campaigns is their primary mission in life--Senators Nelson, Lincoln, and the newly-minted Democrat Arlen Specter (all of whom have taken corporate PAC money, including those linked to the business interests lobbying against the legislation in question). Thanks to them, the part of the EFCA that would have allowed worker-initiated unionization with a single majority vote is going down to defeat. In other words, EFCA is dead, no matter what else they call it once the bastardized version is passed, assuming it is ever passed (the same kind of defeat the striker replacement bill went down to in the first year of Clinton's reign).

Mr. Marcus can rest easily. His returns and 6,000 square foot mansion will not be threatened by the thought of a cashier making $15.00/hour with full benefits. Naturally, Marcus thought nothing of the executives of his company getting a $240 million buyout. No, civilization is only for those considered more equal.

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