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Monday, September 7, 2015

keeping the "labor" in Labor Day...it's not just a day off and shopping the sales

"We don’t officially celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1 in this country, even though the worldwide holiday was originated to memorialize the Chicago Haymarket Square Riot of 1886 and the long and often bloody movement waged by American workers to establish the eight-hour workday. Instead, we hold a watered-down substitute, observing Labor Day on the first Monday of September. Each year, the commemoration grows more tepid and disconnected from the historical and current struggles of working people.
     
If the U.S. Supreme Court’s dominant Republican majority has its way when the panel’s new term commences in October, we might as well dispense with the holiday altogether, or at least drop the term “labor” from its title. Among the most important cases the court will consider when it reconvenes is Friedrichs v. California Teachers, which poses what some observers have called an “existential threat” to public unions and by extension to the entire labor movement. [..]
From the Haymarket Riot to the present, it’s been a bumpy ride for American workers. In the meantime, I’m sure that Justice Alito and his black-robed compatriots will join me in wishing you happy Labor Day. "