“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.”

Why on Labor Day does no one work? I didn’t understand that when I was a kid. But when I was older, I understood the day is a celebration, a day, “…to honor and recognize the American labor movement and the works and contributions of laborers to the development and achievements of the United States.” A single day, however, seems a trifle, a jot. Every day should be Labor Day.

Today was the end of summer, not by the calendar but by the start of school. All those days of freedom came crashing down. My life became regimented. Every morning my mother would wake us up, give us breakfast, make sure we were neatly dressed in our uniforms, hand us our lunches and send us on the way. The walk was the same every day. I sat at the same desk. I had lessons in the same order every day. The lunch bell time never varied. We’d run home at the end of the school day not wanting to miss any daylight before the streets lamps sent us all home. Bedtime was the same. The only saving grace was the weekend, especially Saturday. That was, like the Ray Bradbury short story, All Summer in a Day.

Today is back to summer. It is 80°, just about the high for the day. Tonight, though, will be in the 60’s, great for sleeping. My dance card for the week has plenty of empty days. Tuesday and Wednesday are my uke days, practice and a lesson, and that’s it for the week, no concerts. I may have to wash that kitchen floor as busy is no longer an excuse. Perhaps my being a sloth will have to suffice.

Don’t forget: no white after Labor Day!! As if…

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2 Comments on ““All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    I didn’t have to ask why we don’t work on Labor Day because my father was involved in unionizing the wholesale shoe industry in NYC right before WWII. His union was in the CIO, (Congress of Industrial Organizations). They were separate from the AFL, (American Federation of Labor), which were the skilled workers. After the war they merged into the AFLCIO.

    The death of labor unions in this country lead directly to the rise of Donald Trump. His most fervent supporters are men without college degrees. Before Reagan, and the Republican Party helping to kill unions, most men without college educations could find good paying middle class jobs in union factories all over this country. However, the big change came when men like Jack Welch, (Former CEO of GE), and others like him that placed only shareholder value above all other stakeholders. They either moved most union jobs overseas, or to “Right to Work”states in the sunbelt. That’s a misnomer term. These states, such as Texas and Georgia don’t require workers to join a union or to pay union dues. Jack Welch reduced GE’s workforce by over 10,000 workers, earning him the title, “Neutron Jack”. In the years after WWII, top corporate executives had many stakeholders to satisfy. These included, the cities where their factories were located, their workers, their customers, and their shareholders. Since the 1980s all corporate executives care about is the stockholders since they are now paid mostly in stock options plus salaries.

    A good example is Boeing. They moved all Boeing 787 production out of Washington State to South Carolina to escape the higher union wages in the Seattle area. Almost immediately after opening the plant, the airline customers began complaining about defects in workmanship. You can’t transfer 75 years of assembly experience building airplanes to new workers in South Caroline in a couple of weeks. Now in places like Texas, the Republican politicians celebrate Labor Day for the business owners as well as the workers which was never the intent of the holiday.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      When I was young, I didn’t understand Labor Day. My father wasn’t part of a union. When I was a teacher, I was part of the teachers’ union, president of it at one point . We didn’t have much power. It is illegal for teachers to strike. We did work to rule which meant no extra-curricular or coaching, nothing beyond the school day. Later, when I was an administrator, there were no unions for principals, only assistant principals but that union was thwarted by the law.

      Trump worked to endear himself to the moneyed, and that meant not promulgating unions whose sole purpose is to protect workers, their jobs and livelihood. Keep salaries down, deny sick days and insurance. Trump said he was bringing back companies from overseas. That, of course, never happened. Trump makes promises he figures will garner him votes, and once he was in, he didn’t need to keep his promises. The herd didn’t hold him responsible.

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