Monday, September 01, 2014

1377 September

It seems like it was only yesterday it was August.  Come to think of it, it was only yesterday.

Yes, here we are on the first of September, but for much of August we were getting a preview.  You can hardly tell the difference. Great September weather. Early.  The kind of weather about which people say “I could do with these conditions all year.”

Some hot days here in the northeast, but not Arizona-hot.  Some cool days, but not Yukon-cold.

Maybe the heavens are rewarding us for good behavior.

You have been behaving well lately, right?

No.  Me, neither.  So it’s probably not that.

They forget to read the calendar up there?  

Probably not.  Even if there is an “up there” and even if they read and have calendars.

Floods in the midwest and north of us.  Drought in the west and to the south of us?  Yet, here we are enjoying something like six weeks of really nice conditions, punctuated by an occasional downpour… the kind that comes and goes pretty fast.

But, of course, there’s more to September than just the August weather.

The kids are either back in school or soon will be. The nominal adult college students are back in class.  Well… back on campus and in the frat houses, private apartments and dorms.

And though reasonably modest up until now, the political campaigns will move into third gear.  That’s always a thrill.

But the big question remains: if August was September weatherwise, what will September be?

Today also is Labor Day, or Salute to the forgotten man or woman day.

The holiday is a salute to the American worker, to the men and women who built this country, to the men and women who fought for their rights as human beings in an era when they were considered farm animals or machines, who organized and then told capital "you can't do this to us.  We're doing the work.  We want our share, no more, but no less."

Recalling the good organized labor has done for disorganized labor:  the 40 hour week, paid holidays, paid vacations, a living wage, health benefits, a retirement plan.  All stuff your boss wouldn’t give thought to were it not for unions, even if there isn’t one in your shop.

Today, unions have become the enemy and are losing the battle to represent workers.  The ranks have been diminishing, the existing contracts have become law school examples of how to not get what you need or want or deserve.  Organizing efforts?  WHAT organizing efforts?  Handing out handbills at Wal-Mart is not what we used to call “organizing.”

You can summarize the reason for the labor movement in two words “bad bosses.”  American workers often don’t want unions as they clearly demonstrate these days.  But they needed them back then and they need them now, maybe now more than ever.  If you’re in a union shop, just think of how things would be without a wall between you and the Simon Legree or Torquemada who supervises you.  If you’re NOT in a union, you don’t need to think about it... you know better than the rest of us.

(Portions of this appeared previously in posts about Labor Day in 2010 and 2011.)

I’m Wes Richards.  My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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© WJR 2014, 2011, 2010.

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