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!

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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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Big Turn Off

Steadfast workers slave away
Know no perks and score scant pay
Can neither save for rainy day
Nor for life’s phase; where hair turns gray

Boss cuts their hours to display,
His iron fist / control freak sway
Human rights he will betray
He’ll union bust; then bleat,”Hooray!”

Grunts’ top notch work, it’s safe to say
Turns profit for blah boss, blasé
Who, in turn, will dare to bray,
“I did that! It was not they!”

To flesh out boss’s exposé
Workplace welts, unseen, are not okay
His verbal whip cracks spur dismay
More apt for a rap sheet; not résumé

He’ll turn back oft on worksite prey
Turn deaf ear to plebes who stay
Turn up nose at peeved who stray
Turn up in Hell come Judgement Day?

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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.

 

 

 

 

Is anyone seeing red yet?

 

In theory… the nine judges of the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) are supposed to be politically neutral… i.e., prior to donning their black robes, they should be checking their red, blue and purple “party hats” at the door.

In practice… nothing could be further from the truth. Prior to Anthony Kennedy’s retirement last week, he had been the one moderate judge seated alongside four lefties and four righties. For many years, he had been the tie breaker within that deep political divide… part of the “5” in a slew of 5 / 4 court decisions… the judge who, at times, sided with the righties.

Case in point is how Kennedy, once again last week, had donned his red “party hat” in the case of Janus v. AFSCME… helped his righty pals legislate from the bench… conspired with them to do the dirty work “on behalf” of the individual 22 state legislatures, which have yet to legislate their own labor union busting, “right to work”, flawed laws.

Of course, phraseology such as “right to work”, on the surface, does tend to conjure up images of mom, apple pie and something liberating and uniquely American Dreamish. BUT, in reality, this is nothing other than cleverly branded, spin-doctored, conservative hogwash. In practice, “right to work” “liberates” hardworking average Janes and Joes of their living wage jobs and, in the end, morphs their existences into the American Nightmare.

Getting into the nuts and bolts of “right to work”, such flawed laws forbid labor unions from collecting dues from any workers who don’t want to pay them… in spite of the fact that such scofflaws are still benefiting from union negotiated contracts, which secure pay raises and benefits for all workers. From that point forward… no strike that… from that step backward… sans strong financial backing, labor unions die. And along with them go average, everyday workers’ hopes to live the American Dream.

For any doubting Thomases, out there, this Thomas asks: What do you suppose an oinking CEO would do with the corporate mega-profits when there are no labor unions to contend with? When there’s no collective bargaining on behalf of the time clock punchers of our world? You can bet your bottom dollar that that fat cat would fatten his own, already fat wallet at the expense of those already struggling to make ends meet. Eventually… the middle class will plunge into poverty… the already impoverished class will descend into squalor.

I now ask, who did the Supreme Court help other than those wallowing in obscene wealth? How could such a ruling ever help make America great again?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got nothing against people being successful in life. But, you won’t find me feeling charitable towards CEOs, who already wallow in immeasurable corporate/personal wealth, yet, flat-out refuse to pay living wages to their employees. Folks, that’s when I start seeing red… in more ways than one… and feel similarly each and every time the U.S. Supreme Court aids and abets corporate arrogance and greed. And I’d hope that I’m not alone in feeling this way.

The tragedy here: The LURID RED of the U.S. Supreme Court! Truth be told…

Today’s typical conservative mindset does not represent where most Americans’ heads are at… and thank God for that! Most of us cannot stomach righties’ insatiable greed, unquenchable thirst for power and perverse penchants for war, torture, assault weapons, domestic / sexual violence, misogyny, child abuse and all other forms of human suffering! So then, why is it that within our system of representative government, we cannot automatically expect to find a Supreme Court bench more sensitive to and representative of WE the decent people?

At the very least…

We should expect to find three moderate, three liberal and three conservative judges seated at that Supreme Court bench.

Wait a minute! I do seem to recall some blogger saying…

In theory… the nine judges of the Supreme Court Of The United States (SCOTUS) are supposed to be politically neutral… i.e., prior to donning their black robes, they should be checking their red, blue and purple “party hats” at the door.”

Hmmm… come to think of it… I was that blogger! Allow me, now, to briefly expand on that.

At the very most…

No President should ever appoint anyone to the Supreme Court who harbors hidden, wicked political agendas. The goal should be winding up with nine decent folks representative of a complete cross-section of America’s finest. When we hold up a mirror to them we should see a reflection of diversity! Be they able bodied or disabled… they must be representative of of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, age groups, classes and creeds (inclusive of agnostics and atheists)*. ONLY then can Americans ever expect respectable Supreme Court decisions… rulings that all can live with.

* As well as any other decent folks I may’ve unintentionally omitted here.

At the very extreme…

Long sigh… we now have little choice but to face down the cold, stark, harsh reality:

In filling the Anthony Kennedy vacancy, the “prez’s first… perhaps only… question to vet each wannabe will be…

Do you pledge 100 percent loyalty to me and to always rule in my favor… no matter what?

Whoever the “prez” handpicks will accomplish one and only one thing… namely… his successfully loading up the bench with yet another out of touch with decent America, rightwing, wingnut ideologue. His U.S. Extreme Court will never be representative of anyone other than Donald Trump and his icky ilk.