Monday, September 3, 2018

Why We Should Never Forget Why We Celebrate Labor Day

Metamora Herald unions labor day

It is that time of year again. Back to school, falling leaves, chillier winds, and celebrating many holidays. To end the summer festivities and begin the holiday season we kick it all off with Labor Day. Which became an official federal holiday in 1894. It is called the "unofficial end of summer" because it marks the end of the cultural summer season. A lot of people take their two-week vacations during the two weeks ending Labor Day weekend. A vacation many would not be able to enjoy without Unions.

[1] Labor Day in the United States is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. Labor Day is celebrated in honor of all workers past, present, and future. The fact that unions are being broke up and the supreme court sided with big businesses should be startling to everyone. Does modern day society realize the importance of unions/collective bargaining?

Without Unions, there would be no 8 hour work days. During a nonviolent 8 hour work day protest in Haymarket Square in Chicago, IL many suffered injuries and some people died from a bomb thrown into the crowd. Protesters, policemen, and innocent bystanders literally died for an 8 hour work day. Seems unbelievable now, but many people have had to suffer throughout the years just to get little things like 15-minute breaks, feminine hygiene products made available, and Paid Time Off.

Business owners did not want to pay a decent wage. A $1.50 a day was considered a decent wage to the employers. The meager wages and unsafe/sanitary work environment was hard to live with every day. Workers started realizing they were worth more and deserved better treatment. This is when they began to band together in unity. Business owners were shocked at the mighty pressure they were reckoned with. The unions faced much adversity and the struggle became very real.

Locked out of their jobs for months, beaten by police & civilians, with the media painting a picture of ungrateful and Un-American troublemakers taking the side of the rich elites. The Haymarket Affair was a large turning point in the Union movement. After many years of negotiations and compromises, conditions have improved, but Americans still have a ways to go in this battle.

Did you know that we work more hours daily, weekly, monthly, yearly than most countries? We have less vacation time, minimal breaks during the workday, and employees making "salary" while working way over 40 hours a week. In some companies, managers are required to work 50 or more hours but part-time employees aren't' allowed to get 30 hours because the company would have to offer benefits. It is sad to see all the hard work diminished and people taking what they can get to make ends meet. Inflation keeps rising, but wages do not increase to keep up or get ahead of it. The United States is quickly becoming a two class society, the rich and the rest of us.

America can and will move forward. The time for better treatment of employees is now, NOT a thing of the past. Collective bargaining is a very good practice. Ten voices are louder than one voice and you shouldn't be fooled into thinking that "Right to Work" means anything, but a right to work for less and be treated like you don't matter. Although there is always room for improvement in all aspects of business, we must not backslide any further and muck up the future.

Peoria, IL will have their annual Labor Day Parade and Picnic today at one block NE on Monroe St. to Main St. then straight down Main St. 6 blocks to the riverfront. Then it's a picnic at the riverfront until 2pm. All are welcome at the parade and picnic. HAPPY LABOR DAY TO ALL!


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