Happy(?) Labor Day

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This very Monday involves a Stateside national holiday known as Labor Day. Once-upon-a-time, it represented management’s respect for the very laborers who, in turning in each honest day’s work, had become the collective heart and backbone of a vibrant society.

Alas, as is true with most holidays, these days, commercialization, OR bastardization, OR whatever we choose to call it, has oft reduced an event, such as Labor Day, into booze fueled, mindless revelry.

Seeking such a state of mind is fully understandable, too, seeing how our hardcore, well-heeled conservative adversaries; i.e., the legislative, judicial and executive hack politicians and their corporate owners, have, from time immemorial, been doing their damnedest to collude; to totally bust up labor unions, keep wages low, benefits non-existent, and working conditions miserable. Worse yet, many a big boss’s notion of what constitutes a kick-ass retirement plan involves kicking out the asses of older workers; or even keeping them around to work ’em to death.

Yep, it’s easy to understand the reliance on Labor Day intoxicants. I mean what workers, in their right mind, would not find drinking themselves into a temporary state of obliviousness appealing; at times even necessary?

Let’s talk about my public school educator father for a moment.

Dad could not raise himself, his wife and two children out of poverty until the late 1960s when Michigan first allowed teachers to bargain collectively. Up to that point, we had rented a slumlord’s crawling with vermin hovel, complete with a coal furnace that came damn close to carbon monoxide gassing us all to death. As for the meals my Mom served up, they commonly consisted of unhealthy food; inclusive of gristly, cheap cuts of meat. Is it any wonder that our typical table talk was, “Please pass the salt shaker.”

Tho I did spend thirty of my work years within a no unions allowed, retail sales and management environment, fully capable of devolving into the literal sweatshop, it had been courtesy of my Dad’s wisdom, that I did learn how to hang tough as a labor union of one.

Even so, I could not always mitigate management abuse. Check out just three of the countless horror stories; representative of the type of crap they oft expected me to endure…

  • My big boss had ordered employees to model heavy, fall weight sweatshirts even when the store’s AC conked out during a stinkin’, in the dead of summer heatwave; all of which sent the store’s temps soaring to unbearable levels. Well, at least she hadn’t forced a pregnant employee to boil her fetus in its amniotic fluid.
  • An assistant manager violated company policy by punching out a dozen workers’ time cards just so he could key the biweekly payroll into the computer. In essence, he was forcing us to work for free. Every time I had pointed out that fact, he still flat out refused to offer any assurance that we’d ever get paid. I opted to take a walk. The two of us had a heated, stand-off at the back room’s service door, where he was mere seconds away from using his clenched fist to deck me; where I was oh so close to intentionally setting off a panic alarm to liberate myself from that slave driving bastard.
  • The management team got pissed off when I refused to interrupt my vacation plans to report to work to take an unexpected inventory. Their retribution was to reduce my 40 hour work week down to 4 and then, just to add insult to injury, an assistant manager tried to hit me up for a contribution to buy a birthday present for our big boss, the very one who had cut my hours. When I reminded the little boss of that; told her I couldn’t spare even one penny, she went totally berserk. In today’s vernacular, we’d call her a Karen. She assured me that I’d wind up in our big boss’s dog house; btw, that claim rapidly falling apart when, in hang tough mode, I requested a meeting with the birthday girl, herself.

This blog’s message to the masses…

Holidays, such as Labor Day, shall remain utterly meaningless until no nonsense, unionization becomes universal, spanning America and the entire globe. Hang tough! Even if you lose a shit job, alas, one can usually find another.

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Be humans Vaxxed OR Unvaxxed, We
can still shed and spread the batcrap
crazy contagious coronavirus which,
in turn, spawns new variants; which,
in turn, could, eventually, render the
available vaccines worthless; which,
in turn, will drag out the pandemic’s
needless suffering, illness and death!

HENCE… this easy as pie, cover your
nose and pie-hole/hole-up heads-up:

Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Butt Draggin’

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Preface: Having slaved away, for decades, in the workaday world, this now retiree doth speak from experience. Factoring in everything that my late father, a dedicated union man, had taught me; as well as my being well-read on most labor / management issues, I should be able to address whatever crap I’ve not seen, first hand.

Yesterday was Labor Day in America. That I’m weighing in one day late, in itself, should serve as a powerful op-ed. However, seeing how that could also, quite easily, be misconstrued as apathy, I shall now labor onward…

I do speak of a national holiday, which has been rendered utterly meaningless by “our” elected lethargic leaders, of all political stripes; they, who can be counted on for one thing:

Butt Draggin’

Year in year out, they do little to nothing to:

  • elevate minimum wage so it will always be a living wage
  • ensure a non-toxic, non-hostile, safe work environment
  • crush unreasonable demands for increased productivity
  • deep-six attempts to union bust, downsize and offshore

Soooooo… just how, pray tell, doth anyone ever motivate THEM to actually represent US?

You know, to serve the best interests of average Janes and Joes? To dig us all out from the bottomless pit of poverty? To see us all thru to those oft promised, yet, too elusive better days?

Needless to say, rarely, if ever, doth anything bode well whenever an issue gets distilled down to:

US v. THEM!

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Stay Publicly / Properly Masked!
Stay Safe at Home!
Stay Healthy!

-30-

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Fanfare for the Common (________ please fill in the blank)

 

Headline Options: male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

 

Throughout the United States and Canada, today is Labor Day. Spanning our world, we find a similar holiday… International Workers’ Day… which folks, typically, celebrate each May 1st.

Regardless of when / if we celebrate… Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man is appropriate music for this post.

Why a song about the common man?

Well… seeing how the wealthy get unduly mollycoddled, yearlong, that’s why I felt it vital to counteract this with a selection that’s working poor / middle class specific on Labor Day.

But, is not that song title simply, too damned sexist?

Yep, yer damned tootin’ it is! But, Copland did compose his masterpiece way back in the far more sexist days of 1942. I mean, what more could we expect… WELL… uh… other than his having scored (scored with) an empowering / rallying of the human spirit anthem. Hmm… all in all… not a bad trade off, right?

Anyway, this is why I now dedicate two versions of Fanfare… the symphonic blog topper AND rocked up blog ender… to the world of industrious, uncommon commoners. And let’s make no mistake about it… we are UNCOMMON in every positive connotation of that word. Be our status active worker, semiretired or retired… the vast majority of us know fully well what it’s like to toil away at low paying, bereft of benefits jobs… and far worse yet… oft while tirelessly offering our loyalty to unappreciative, tyrannical bosses.

GRANTED… the well heeled, high financiers do clutch (too tightly) at the purse-strings linked to commerce / job creation.

HOWEVER… were it not for the workers of the world, who REALLY DO MAKE IT ALL HAPPEN… the big biz high and mighty would, literally, be chowing down on their figurative dough… bread… LETTUCE!

On this Labor Day… be they our past or present bosses… to suitably honor the suits / remind ourselves of OUR importance… let’s offer up a rather nontraditional toast.

Before digging into our picnic / dining room table salad bowls, let’s hoist our salad dressing bottles / cruets skyward.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Down in the Dumps Labor Day – (1 Quick Limerick #093)

 

What’s there to “celebrate” on Labor Day?
When union busting denies us our say,
When mucked up workplace backdrops,
Involve slave-driven sweatshops,
NO contracts / pensions, NO living-wage pay.

 

 

 

 

There’s Still So Much More of Our Work to be Done

 

Once again, it’s Labor Day in America… a “holiday” which:

  1. Ushers in the unofficial end of summer.
  2. Reminds students it’s time to return to their classrooms.
  3. Supposedly honors all industrious workers who’ve ever opted in to the once upon a time, time honored, time for money trade-off.

Well, I suppose, two out of three ain’t bad. To elaborate…

Oh, what an inequitable trade off item #3 usually involves.

Oh, what an utterly meaningless holiday this has become. How so?

Well, workers (who can still think for themselves) have become painfully aware of how, typically, their big bosses wallow in their own astronomical, wildly disproportional salaries and perks… how management feels no obligation to pay a living wage, provide job security and offer a comprehensive benefits package (inclusive of health insurance, paid sick / vacation days and pension plans). In some cases, these big shots even shirk their responsibility of providing a hazard-free work environment.

Without a doubt, such woes are closely related to that bloodsucker, who fronts the present-day DC régime (a foul, fetid, festering government / corporate mash-up). Throughout his pathetic, parasitic career, he has, personally, screwed over labor… e.g., stiffed them on paydays, outsourced their jobs and engaged in union busting.

Yet, hypocritically, he feigns outrage over his very own deplorable business tactics… has successfully suckered in his low information, gullible supporters into bogusly believing he’s the “good guy” who will fight to prevent immigrants from “stealing” their jobs.

To emphasize here, he does ALL OF THAT in spite of the fact that immigrants are NOT actually displacing all that many American workers.

You see, what he has failed to mention is how these jobs oft involve FIELDS most Americans would find unappealing. In fact, these jobs LITERALLY CAN INVOLVE FIELDS… the harvesting of fruit and vegetable crops (oft under horrific working conditions). Similar workplace hellholes shackle slave labor to sweatshop sewing machines. Either way, workers toil overtime and work their fingers to the bone while beastly taskmasters (literally?) crack the whip.

SO folks, unless you view these as attractive career opportunities, don’t ever blame immigrants for your having a tough time finding a new job. We should not be envious OF them… we should feel sorrow FOR them. If our society’s priorities weren’t so totally F’d up, instead of ICE agents rounding up and deporting immigrants, federal agents would be driving the reprehensible, slave driver bosses out of America.

I’m sure many of my international readers would concur that my abovementioned woes are hardly unique to America.

I’m sure we, the readers of John Steinbeck’s literary masterpiece, The Grapes of Wrath, would agree his plot presages the horrific, present-day dismal working conditions, crappy wages, workplace violence and societal upheaval.

So what’s a working stiff to do, huh?

Well, the problem solving must begin with a truly enlightened president / world leader, who would NEVER embrace wretched, low road tactics such as fanning the flames of racism. To get totally real here… most joblessness is actually caused by corporate greed, union busting, outsourcing, automation and workers’ lack of training / marketable skills.

No learned leader would ever fight to preserve the abysmal status quo of today’s undereducated and unskilled workforce. Allocating tax dollars to pay unemployed workers, of course, would be still be a necessity BUT how much better life would eventually get were he to also funnel additional funds into programs designed to educate and train his out of work compatriots. Education also must be ongoing… i.e., keep up with each and every new technological advance. In other words, our education does not end until the day each of us dies. For all we know, it doesn’t end even then.

Folks, I saw, first hand, how President Lyndon B. Johnson’s progressively minded government functioned. For four summers (spanning 1963 – 66) my own father, a public school teacher, had applied for and received a generous U.S. government stipend to attend college classes and wound up earning his Masters Degree in Chemistry. Bettering himself resulted in his earning a substantially bigger paycheck… of course, not before teachers had also won the rights to organize labor unions… to collectively bargain for a living wage, benefits and smaller class sizes… to go on strike whenever necessary.

Folks, a strong, healthy, happy, unionized productive workforce plays a major role in making America… indeed, every other nation… great!

This Labor Day… and for as many future Labor Days as it may take… we must remind ourselves that there’s still so much more of our work to be done… and that begins with educating / changing attitudes of governments, management and labor.

Meaningful work, which fully enriches our lives, cannot be ours until governments… not only in America but worldwide… cease and desist from devastating workers’ pay and rights.

Labor Day must, once again, become a true holiday… one, where the powers-that-be wholeheartedly honor each and every trainable person in possession of a strong work ethic… ensure every one of them a living wage, comprehensive benefits package, job security and a hazard free workplace.

 

 

99 Word Blog (#033) Labor Day?

Labor Day actually honors nobody. Labor unions are dying. Management flips off industrious workers. Minimum wage earners cannot afford life’s bare necessities, save for a rainy day and retirement and pay for an education. Even modest vacations just don’t happen.

Minimum wage must become a living wage. If not pay raises, how about lowering prices? However, with such economic restructuring being highly unlikely, why even celebrate Labor Day?

Instead, let’s set aside September’s second Monday to honor victims, worldwide, who perished or sustained injuries in terrorist attacks. In that calendar position, the 11th would occasionally fall on Mondays, too.