It is Monday, Labor Day, in the year 2015. While Labor Day is seen by many as the unofficial end of summer and a grand excuse to barbecue, it represents, in fact, so much more. Almost every improvement in the lives of American workers over the past century and a half has come about through the direct involvement of labor unions. (The forty-hour work week, paid sick leave and vacations, worker safety requirements, compulsory education for young people - and so much more.) Now, sadly, one political party in the United States appears hellbent on rolling back all of those gains and returning workers to the subhuman degradations that they endured back in the dark ages of American manufacturing.
Scott Walker and his union-busting Republican colleagues don't have the intellect or or the common decency to be ashamed of themselves, so it falls upon the rest of us to be ashamed for them.
The following poem by Robert Pinsky references the infamous fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company in 1911 - a tragedy in which over one hundred and forty individuals -mostly women - working in an upper-story sweat shop lost their lives when fire swept through the building. They were locked in the workroom with no fire escapes - a time that modern Republican politicians regard fondly as "the good old days."
Unions are good things, they represent our humanity. Republican politicians, as a rule, represent our greed and our lesser selves. They are not good things.
Always look for the union label - and thank you Bernie Sanders for ensuring that every item in your campaign store is union made.
by Robert Pinsky