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Happy Labor Day

Today is Labor Day. A day to celebrate the hard work and brow sweat that goes into making our country what it is. It would appear that there are people out there that don’t get this.

This holiday originated as a conciliatory act on the part of the US Federal government. The Pullman Strike was put down by 12,000 Federal troops acting on the orders of President Grover Cleveland resulting in the death of 13 and the injury of 57. Cleveland made reconciliation with organized labor a priority in the aftermath of the event, especially after the constitutionality of the act was called into question.

Organized labor is a topic near and dear to my heart. My grandfather spent the better part of his adult life working on behalf of the working man as an organizer for UFCW. He even met my grandmother on a picket line. For as long as I can remember, I’ve heard about the good that unions do. While I realize that unions have something of a bad rep, especially in light of demands from UAW and the fallout from that in Detroit, but their time has not passed by a long shot.

If you enjoy 8 hour workdays/40 hour work weeks, in a safe environment, with health benefits and paid time off, you can almost certainly thank a labor union for that. If you don’t have that, you might be in an industry ripe for organization.

What most people don’t realize is that minimum wage, even after its recent hike, is not a living wage. Now, more than ever, workers need an advocate. Events in my own backyard remind me of this fact on an almost daily basis.

Happy Labor Day, everyone!

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