Happy Labor Day. This is the day, celebrated only in the United States, set aside to celebrate our working class. Those are the people who have made this country the strongest, richest, and most prosperous in the world. It is by the sweat of their backs that wealth has been created in this country. The day was created by the Unions.
You might remember them. In my fathers day, the Union made sure that my father made enough money to keep myself and my brother fed and in a private school. My parents owned their own house in a nice neighborhood. Every three years or so they bought a new car. Every year my dad took us on vacation, usually to an obscure fishing resort in Wisconsin or Minnesota. My mother did volunteer work for the Democratic Party. When my mother had cancer, she was taken care of by the generous health care insurance my dad had through his employer (and that had been secured by his Union).My dad worked at Sears. He belonged to the Union.
It was the Unions that invented the 5 day, 40 hour work week. It was the Unions that brought about the 10 minute break, and the 30 minute lunch hour. It was the Unions that brought about OSHA like safety measures before there even was an OSHA. Today we celebrate the Unions . But why today? Because the labor movement, like it or not, was started by Socialists.
In all other countries where Labor Day is celebrated it’s called “International Workers Day” and it’s celebrated on May 1st (yes, Beltaine). Because OUR country hated Socialism so much it was moved by an act of Congress to the first Monday in September in order to distance our labor movement away from the rest of the world.
Today I work in retail too. Ceridwen and I both work. We rent our house, and we drive a car that is 20 years old. My vacation will begin at the Druid Gathering, but the rest will be right here at home. At 53, we
have no health insurance. Oh, I could get it, but it would cost us (roughly) 1/4 of our income, and still wouldn’t pay for everything. I don’t belong to a Union. I did get today off though. I think that’s ironic. Happy Labor Day.
Monday September 4, 2006