Sunday, September 02, 2007

Labor Day

It is late Sunday as I sit to write this post. Many of us in the US have spent today with friends and relatives celebrating the last holiday of summer. Tomorrow, banks and government offices will be closed, schools will dismiss classes and many other American workers will have the day off. I'm not sure that there is another country that has a holiday quite like Labor Day.

Labor Day is a day set aside to honor the accomplishments of the American Worker. Growing up as the son of a self-employed businessman, Labor Day was a day that wasn't alot different from most other days. As an air traffic controller, tomorrow will be a pretty typical Monday and I'll work my normal Monday 3pm to 11pm shift. But I do think that it is a holiday worth mentioning and wish that more Americans realized that the great gains in employee benefits, wages and working conditions came at a cost.

In today's USA, the perception of Labor Unions has diminished to that of a nuisance to employers and a drain on the economy. The Unions and the working people of the United States are being sold out as companies continue to ship our jobs overseas and across our southern border where they can pay a fraction of the cost for labor. Today's workforce in the US is becoming more and more service oriented and we are much less of a manufacturing workforce. It is a rare product that bears the label, "Made in the USA."

Though my father was never a Union member, I'm thankful for the hard work and the example of a good work ethic that he set for me. As a past member of the International Assciation of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 9 (AFL-CIO), and a present member of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (AFL-CIO) I am proud to be an American Worker and a part of Organized Labor in the US.

I hope that you have an extended weekend and can enjoy the day off on Monday. And if your country celebrates a day like our Labor Day, I'd love to hear about it.

John Hill (SGF)
National Constitution Committee
National Air Traffic Controllers Association


Bilbo said...

John, you beat me to the post I thought about writing for Labor Day. You are correct about the diminished role of labor unions in America, but I think it's fair to say that the unions played a major role in the development of their perception of being sidelined. While they have played a major role in improving the lot of the working man and woman in America, they have also undermined their authority and responsibility by getting in bed with gangsters and often insisting on the continuation of policies that once made sense, but have since been overtaken by time and technology. The unions need to redefine their role and their relevance for the 21st century to regain their former stature and greatness. NOTE: while neither my father nor I have ever been members of a union, I come from a large family of Pennsylvania steel workers (back when we had a steel industry) and coal miners to whom the unions were an important part of life. Enjoy your Labor Day, and thanks for keeping us safe in the air! Best wishes, Bilbo.

John said...

I agree. Both sides are responsible for the decline in the perception of labor unions.

Company officials salaries have climbed at alarming rates while cutting or outsourcing workers jobs to maintain profits. Workers demand higher pay packages and then go out and buy less expensive foreign made products, putting their own jobs at risk.

Much like your own Labor Day post, we use (or misuse) words to spin the perception to our favor. Why not just be honest and call a pointy shovel a pointy shovel?


texas_sweetie said...

HI John,happy labor hopping here through yatot's page.i myself is a filipina and married to american.

how far are u now in ur tagalog? wink!

John said...

Hey texas sweetie,
thanks for stopping by. I'm not too far along with the tagalog--you know; good morning, good afternoon, good evening, how are you, thank you, you're welcome, etc.
I know of a Filipino church in the St. Louis area that I would like to do some work at so I guess I'd better get busy!

Amanda said...

We have Labour Day holidays in Malaysia every 1st May. Although, I have to admit that I can't give you any history about it at all. Everybody just enjoys it because its a day off.

I know in China, Labour day is actually called Golden WEEK and they have a week's holiday. I believe its a whole week to allow for workers to travel the long distances back to their home towns.