Monday, September 1, 2014


Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice
(#1 3-8-07; #2 September 6, 2010; #3 August 30, 2011; #4 September 1, 2012; #5, Sept. 1, 2013).

What’s at stake:  Soon after WWII, reactionary groups and corporations renewed their opposition to the democratic, egalitarian, progressive accomplishments of the Roosevelt years, seeking to suppress Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms and related values.  Since the 1980s that campaign has grown more powerful, until today fewer than 10% of the people belong to unions, the minimum wage is not a living wage, and our political system is controlled by corporations and the wealthy. See: Harvey Kaye, The Fight for the Four Freedoms


My blog:
War Department/Peace Department

Earlier Newsletters at end

Contents Labor Day Newsletter #6, Sept. 1, 2014

Capitalism’s Not-So-Secret Weapon: Commodify
Lazboy’s Labor Day Sale
Juliet Schor, Born to Buy

Condition of US Labor Today in the Corporate Plutocracy
Working Overtime
Jim Hightower’s Lowdown on Amazon
Joseph Stiglitz, US Tax System Rigged for the Rich

Support for Workers
Credo Action Petition
US Department of Labor
AFL-CIO Google Search
Interfaith Worker Justice
NWA Workers’ Justice Center
In These Times Magazine
Bernie Sanders
Ron Wyden

History of Labor Day
History of International Workers’ Day, May 1, May Day

What the DAY means in Corporate USA
36 Months Special Financing
Stationary Sofa…Now Only $699!

Born to Buy:  The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture

Marketing targeted at kids is virtually everywhere -- in classrooms and textbooks, on the Internet, even at Girl Scout meetings, slumber parties, and the playground. Product placement and other innovations have introduced more subtle advertising to movies and television. Drawing on her own survey research and unprecedented access to the advertising industry, Juliet B. Schor, New York Times bestselling author of The Overworked American, examines how marketing efforts of vast size, scope, and effectiveness have created "commercialized children." Ads and their messages about sex, drugs, and food affect not just what children want to buy, but who they think they are. In this groundbreaking and crucial book, Schor looks at the consequences of the commercialization of childhood and provides guidelines for parents and teachers. What is at stake is the emotional and social well-being of our children.
Like Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed, Mary Pipher's Reviving Ophelia, and Malcolm Gladwell's The...


116 Million Full-Time Workers in America Doing the Work of 136 Million People
Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times, Reader Supported News, August 30, 2014
Puzzanghera writes: "Full-time American workers labor the equivalent of nearly an additional day each week, averaging 47 hours instead of the standard 40, according to Gallup poll results released Friday."

August 2014, Volume 16, Number 8
by Jim Hightower
It’s time to pay attention to what Jeff Bezos and his online retail colossus are doing
Like Walmart, only with supercomputers and drones: At "cheap" comes at a very hefty price

IN HIS CLASSIC 1936 COMEDY, Modern Times, silent filmmaker Charlie Chaplin depicted the trials and tribulations of a harried factory worker trying to cope with the sprockets, cogs, conveyor belts, and managerial "efficiencies" of the new industrial culture.  The poor fellow continuously finds himself caught up (almost literally) in the grinding tyranny of the machine. The movie is hilarious, but it's also a powerful and damning portrayal of the dehumanizing consequences of mass industrialization, including monotonous assembly-line work, ruthless bosses demanding more and faster output, mass unemployment, rank inequality, union busting, and police deployed to enforce the corporate order.

“The universe says No to us. We in answer fire a broadside of flesh at it and cry yes!" -- A line from a Ray Bradbury novel that Bezos adopted as his credo in the mid-1980's.
The ultimate indignity for Chaplin's everyman character came when he was put on an assembly line that included a mechanized contraption that force-fed workers as they worked. Not only did this time-management "innovation" eliminate the need for factory owners to provide a lunch break, but it also transformed humans into automatous components of the machine itself. Of course, worker-feeding machines were a comedic exaggeration by the filmmaker, not anything that actually existed in his day, and such an inhuman contrivance would not even be considered in our modern times. Right? Well... if you work for, Inc., you'd swear that Chaplin's masterpiece is Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' idea of a properly run workplace.

Brave new paradigm

Jeffrey Preston Bezos is the elfish, almost preternatural man of unbounded ambition who founded Amazon, the online retailing colossus that trumpets itself as "Earth's most customer-centric company." At first blush, you might wonder why the Lowdown is digging into a company that has built a strong reputation with millions of consumers and even has a rather hip vibe going for it.

After all, isn't Amazon considered a model of tech wizardry, having totally reinvented retail marketing for our smart-phone, globally-linked age? Yes. And doesn't it peddle a cornucopia of goods through a convenient "1-click" ordering system, rapidly delivering the goods right to your doorstep? Yes, yes, and yes. Also, doesn't it offer irresistibly steep discounts on the price of nearly everything it sells (which is nearly everything)? Yes, again.

However, as an old saying puts it: The higher the monkey climbs the more you see of its ugly side. Amazon certainly has climbed high in a hurry. Not yet 20 years old, it's already a household brand name and America's 10th largest retailer.

Yet, mesmerized by its digital charm and explosive growth in sales, few have looked closely at the Amazon animal. Its media coverage has been more gee-whiz than questioning, generally attributing the retailers' phenomenal rise to Bezos' ceaseless search for ever-greater corporate efficiencies. The press marvels that his obsession with electronic streamlining and systems management allows him to sell everything from books to bicycles, barbeques to Barbies, at cheap-cheap-cheap prices, undercutting all competitors--even Walmart.

But what is the source of those "efficiencies" and the low prices that are so greatly admired by Wall Street and so gratefully accepted by customers? Are they achieved strictly by being a virtual store, selling everything through the World Wide Web, meaning that it doesn't have to build, staff, and maintain any retail outlets? Or is Amazon achieving market dominance the old-fashioned way--by squeezing the life out of its workers and suppliers, by crushing its competitors (from small shops on Main Street to big chain-store rivals) with monopolistic muscle, and by manipulating our national and state tax laws?

Voila! There's the ugly side.

As we've learned in recent years from exposes of the revolting business practices of Walmart, "cheap" can come at a very heavy price. And that price tag is no less revolting because it's asserted by a company that has a cachet of online cool and is based in cosmopolitan Seattle instead of rural Arkansas. Thus, in both this month's issue and September's, the Lowdown will take a hard look at what Amazon is doing to whom--and where that is leading our society.

We're focusing on Bezos/Amazon ("BeZon" would be a more appropriate corporate name, for the man is the corporation and vice-versa), not because this is yet another badly behaving behemoth. Rather, Amazon screams for scrutiny because it, more than any other single entity, has had the infinite hubris to envision a brave new, computer-driven oligarchic order for our society--then has proceeded to assemble it.

For some 30 years, corporate control has steadily (and stealthily) enveloped major elements of our society--workplaces, politics, education, media, upward mobility, etc. This encroachment has even been given a benign name: "The new normal." But it's not normal, and it's not the result of some immutable economic force, marching through history--it is the product of corporate money and power being relentlessly asserted by individuals.

No one has imagined corporate domination more expansively nor pushed it harder or further than Bezos, and his Amazon stands today as the most advanced and the most ambitious model of a future under oligarchic control, including control of markets, work, information, consumerism, media... and beyond. He doesn't merely see himself remaking commerce with his vast electronic networks, algorithms, and metrics--but rebooting America itself, including our society's concept of a job, the definition of community, and even our basic values of fairness and justice. It amounts to a breathtaking aspiration to transform our culture's democratic paradigm into a corporate imperium, led by Amazon.

The birth of Amazon

LEGEND HAS IT that Amazon is a classic story of pulling yourself up by your own bootstraps. In 1994, a bright, young fellow named Bezos heads off to the Seattle ... [read more]

Bezos, an admirer of Walmart's predatory business strategy, didn't just duplicate it--he wired it into his supercomputers, applied the Big Data techniques of the NSA to it, and routed it through the matrix of his own grandiose imagination. Walmart, the "Beast of Bentonville," is now yesterday's model of how far-reaching and destructive corporate power can be. Amazon is the new model, not just of tomorrow's corporate beast, but the day after tomorrow's. Only, it's already here.

Going inside Amazon

The establishment media are unabashedly infatuated with Bezos and have crowned him with numerous laurels, from "Person of the Year" to world's best living CEO. This May, however, the reigning God of TechWorld was awarded a less-coveted prize by the International Trade Union Confederation: "World's Worst Boss."

Even high-rankers in the corporation's hierarchy describe him as a cold, remote, controlling, ungenerous, and often vengeful gnome of a man with no empathy for the people who work for him. As far back as the 1980s, when he was a Wall Street banker, he was perceived as lacking the human touch. "He was not warm," remembers one who knew him then. "It was like he could be a Martian for all I knew."

To witness the full Bezonian disregard for workers, however, one must look beyond the relative comfort of Amazon's expansive cam- pus headquarters and visit any of about 40 of its "fulfillment centers" spread across the country (and about 40 more around the world). These are gated, guarded, and secretive warehouses where most of the corporation's 100,000 employees are engaged in: (1) Unpacking the hundreds of millions of items that Amazon peddles;(2) Coding and storing the items on an immense array of shelves; (3) Picking individual items off the shelves to fill the consumer purchases made online; and (4) Packing and shipping the goods to Amazon's hundreds of millions of customers.

The warehouses are dehumanizing hives in which Bezos has produced his own Kafkaesque sequel to Modern Times.

Consider the job of "picker." In each warehouse, hundreds of them are simultaneously scrambling throughout a maze of shelves, grabbing products. This is hard, physically painful labor, for two reasons. First, pickers must speed-walk on concrete an average of a dozen miles a day, for an Amazon warehouse is shockingly big-- more than 16 football fields big, or eight city blocks--and pickers must constantly crisscross the expanse. Then, there are miles of seven-foot-high shelves running along the narrow aisles on each floor of the three-story buildings, requiring the swarm of pickers to stoop continuously. They are directed by handheld computers to each target. For example, "Electric Flour Sifters: Dallas sector, section yellow, row H34, bin 22, level D." Then they scan the pick and must put it on the right track of the seven miles of conveyor belts running through the facility, immediately after which they're dispatched by the computer to find the next product.

Secondly, the pace is hellish. The pickers' computers don't just dictate where they're to go next, but how many seconds Amazon's time-motion experts have calculated it should take them to get there. The scanners also record the time each worker actually takes--information that is fed directly into a central, all-knowing computer. The times of every picker are reviewed and scored by managers who have an unmerciful mandate to

Mac McClelland, a fine investigative reporter formerly with Mother Jones, took a job as a picker in an Amazon-contracted warehouse named Amalgamated Product Giant Shipping Worldwide, Inc. On her first day, her scanner told her she had 20 seconds to pick up an assigned product. As McClelland reported, she could cover the distance and locate the exact shelving unit in the allotted time only "if I don't hesitate for one second or get lost or take a drink of water before heading in the right direction as fast as I can walk or even jog. " She concedes that, "Often as not, I miss my time target."


BEZOS' COLD, MICROMANAGED, time-motion approach to the workplace is a direct descendant (and extreme extension) of a theory of "scientific management" developed in the 1880's by Frederick Winslow Taylor... [read more]

That's not good, for Amazon has a point system for rating everyone's time performance. Score a few demerits and you get "counseled." Score a few more, and you're out the door. And everything workers do is monitored, timed, and scored, beginning the moment they punch-in for their shift. Be one minute late, you'll be assessed half a penalty point; an hour late gets you a whole point; missing a shift is 1.5 points--and six points gets you fired.

Then there's lunch. McClelland was reminded again and again by ever-present time monitors that this feeding break is not 30 minutes and one second, but 29 minutes and 59 seconds, literally turning "eat and run" into a command. If you're not back at your next picking spot on the dot, you earn penalty points. Never mind that the half-hour lunch period, as she pointed out, "includes the time to get through the metal detector and use the disgustingly overcrowded bathroom... and stand in line to clock out and back in." Should you desire the luxury of a warm meal, there's another line to use the microwave. Likewise, the two 15-minute breaks awarded by the Amazonians include the mass of co-workers scampering a half mile or more to the break room, waiting in line to pass through the despised metal detector and another line if you need to pee. The fifteen-minute "break" is usually reduced to a harried hiatus of under seven minutes.

Having managers bark "Zoom Zoom! Pick it up! Picker's pace, guys!" as you dart around is dispiriting enough, but the corporation also assumes you're a thief. In addition to those time-sucking crawls through metal detectors, Amazon warns new initiates that there are 500 visible cameras in every nook of the warehouse and another 500 hidden cameras.

All this for $10-$12 an hour, which is under $25,000 a year, gross. But few make even that much, for they don't get year-round work. Rather, Amazon's warehouse employees are "contingent" hires, meaning they are temporary, seasonal, part-time laborers entirely subject to the employer's whim. Worker advocates refer to these jobs as "precarious"-- on the one hand, when sales slack off, you're let go; on the other hand, when sales perk up and managers demand you do a 12-hour shift with no notice (which might let you find a babysitter), you must do it or be fired. Christmas, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday (invented by Amazon), Election Day, July 4th, or (for God's sake) Labor Day--don't even think of taking off.

Also, technically, you don't actually work for BeZon. You're hired by temp agencies with Orwellian names like "Integrity Staffing Solutions," or by such warehouse operators as Amalgamated Giant Shipping that do the dirty work for the retailer. This gives Amazon plausible deniability about your treatment--and it means you have no labor rights, for you are an "independent contractor." No health care, no vacation time, no scheduled raises, no promotion track, no route to a full-time or permanent job, no regular schedule, no job protection, and--of course--no union. Bezos would rather get Ebola virus than be infected with a union in his realm, and he has gone all out with intimidation tactics, plus hiring a notorious union- busting firm to crush any whisper of worker organization.

In fact, when you toil for the man, don't even expect air conditioning. Three summers ago, a series of heat waves hit Pennsylvania's Lehigh Valley, and Amazon's cement warehouse there became literally a sweatshop. Yet, workers not only were expected to endure the heat that reportedly rose as high as 114 degrees, but also were prodded to maintain the usual relentless pace dictated by the corporate timers. Many couldn't make it... so Amazon had to adapt.

Slow the pace? Don't be ridiculous! Instead, the bosses hired paramedics to tend to workers who, in effect, melted down. As reported by The Morning Call in Allentown:
"Amazon arranged to have paramedics parked in ambulances outside, ready to treat any workers who dehydrated or suffered other forms of heat stress. Those who couldn't quickly cool off and return to work were sent home or taken out in stretchers and wheelchairs and transported to area hospitals."
After a wave of customer outrage rolled into headquarters, and after federal workplace safety inspectors arrived at the warehouse, Bezos had some temporary AC units installed, but the upper levels of the building were still unbearably hot. Amazon's initial fix for this was to hand out popsicles on hot days! And on extremely hot afternoons, workers could choose to leave early, but that meant their pay would be docked. Finally, nine months later, permanent air conditioning was installed--an inexpensive, cost-effective solution that ought to have been done before putting any people in these hot boxes.


Encore: How Tax Reform Can Save the Middle Class
August 28, 2014 | Moyers & Company
In part two of his interview, Joseph E. Stiglitz says corporate abuse of our tax system has helped make America unequal and undemocratic. But the Nobel Prize-winning economist has a plan to change that. Watch part one »
Dick’s Notes:
I.               US economic policies—especially tax policies—don’t serve the majority of the people, and the inequality is growing.
The tax code is rigged to the advantage of the 1%, who take but don’t give back fairly.  Median income is lower than qtr. Century ago; while econ soared, 90% of populace stagnated or declined.
II.             The policies are not necessary, not inevitable, but have been created by the machinations of the rich and powerful for their own interests
 by creation of laws that serve them, laws made by lawmakers controlled by the rich by campaign contributions, lobbyists, Supreme Court justices,
by control of information and myths; e.g., US the land of opportunity:  comparison with other developed nations shows US not land of opportunity; e.g., a tax code which enables the rich to pay their fair share actually serves the majority best, that is, tax evasion by the rich—by the code (numerous loopholes, special deductions, rate), by offshore tax havens-- serves democracy. 
But rich not paying their fair share.   All emphasis on rights of the rich without equal emphasis upon responsibility and accountability.  They are free to spend unlimited amounts to distort our politics in their favor, with little punishment for criminal or anti-social behavior.  Corporations pay fines as part of costs of doing business, and few corp execs and shareholders go to jail.
That is, the condition of the US today is not the result of economics but of politics, of choices dominated by the rich.  The rich today are protecting their wealth and transferring it to their children and class.  But we should and can transfer wealth to all by taxing the rich
III.             But will we choose to again pull back from the brink as we did in the 1930s?  Or has our politics been so changed, money power been so concentrated into permanent plutocracy (add recent Supreme Court rulings—Citizens United) that it is too late?
Read Stiglitz’ new essay, “Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity.”

Encore: Joseph E. Stiglitz Calls for Fair Taxes for All
August 21, 2014 | Moyers & Company
The Nobel Prize-winning economist explains why America’s future prosperity depends on tax reform today.
Dick’s Notes:
President Obama, if you seriously care about THE PEOPLE of USA, appoint Stiglitz as your economic advisor, listen to his analysis and advice, and follow them.   His analysis simple, straightforward, coherent—the self-reinforcing circular movement of money and power in a plutocracy:  The corporations buy control of Congress to enable them to dodge taxes, make enormous profits, and  buy Congress.  All explained in his new pamphlet “Reforming Taxation to Promote Growth and Equity.


Tell Congress: Protect workers’ right to organize
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"Pass the Employee Empowerment Act, which would protect workers from unjust discrimination in their workplaces when they attempt to organize to fight for better wages and working conditions."

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Tell Congress: Protect workers’ right to organize
In recent years, in state capitols like Madison, Wisconsin, to the halls of Congress in Washington D.C., workers have been under relentless attack by big corporations and their powerful Republican allies.

At the same time, there’s been an inspiring nationwide groundswell of organizing for fair wages and better treatment at fast-food restaurants, Walmart and other low wage retailers. But workers still lack basic protections from employer discrimination and can be fired or harassed just for the simple act of speaking out.

Two progressive champions - Representatives Keith Ellison and John Lewis - have launched a “dramatic counter-offensive” by introducing legislation to defend the right of workers to organize unions.1 The Employee Empowerment Act would protect workers from employer discrimination by making labor organizing a civil right. Now more than ever, we need to show solidarity with workers and fight for their right to organize for better wages and working conditions.

Tell Congress: Protect our workers by voting for the Employee Empowerment Act.

Currently, if workers are discriminated against for trying to form a union, they have very limited legal options under the National Labor Relations Act. While they can file for grievances, the slow and lenient process leaves too many workers without pay and does not hold offending employers accountable.2

The Ellison-Lewis legislation would amend the National Labor Relations Act so that firing an employee “on the basis of seeking union membership” would be illegal -- just as it is now illegal to fire someone on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin.3

The struggle against economic inequality shares many of the same values from the civil rights movement. As Richard D. Kahlenberg and Moshe Z. Marvit recently articulated in a widely read New York Times op-ed:

The labor and civil rights movements have shared values (advancing human dignity), shared interests (people of color are disproportionately working-class), shared historic enemies (the Jim Crow South was also a bastion of right-to-work laws) and shared tactics (sit-ins, strikes and other forms of nonviolent protest). Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, it should be remembered, was gunned down in Memphis in 1968, where he was supporting striking black sanitation workers who marched carrying posters with the message “I Am a Man.”... 4 [emphasis added]
This is the first step in a long-term strategy to get Republicans in Congress on the record for supporting or opposing the rights of workers who are fighting to take care of their families’ basic needs and striving for a chance to succeed in today’s economy. This Labor Day weekend is an important time to show Congress that there is strong support for this crucial bill and elevate the discussion around the lack of protections for workers’ rights in our labor laws.

Tell Congress: Protect our workers by voting for the Employee Empowerment Act.

We need an economy that works for all of us—not one that undermines the rights of workers while giving corporations a free pass.

Thanks for speaking out in support of workers’ rights.

“A Bill to get the Labor Movement Back on Offense,” The Nation, July 28, 2014.
“A Civil Right to Unionize,” The New York Times, February 29, 2012.ibid.

What it Means: UNITED STATES
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Labor Day 2014
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This month: Silica, TAACCCT, and USERRA.
Need summer reading ideas?
Titles for Your Beach Bag...
The "Books that Shaped Work in America" list is a perfect departure point for your literary travels this summer.
Labor Day 2014
Secretary Perez on the Road
Leading up to Labor Day, Secretary Perez is traveling across the country to talk with Americans about how we can help more people succeed in the workplace and at home.


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Unemployment Insurance Initial Claims: 298,000 as of August 16, 2014
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Rasing Wages Works
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Raising wages would increase living standards for working families and have a positive effect on local economies. Get involved: download materials, find an event or text LABOR to 235246 and tell us how raising the minimum wage would help you or someone you know.
This Labor Day, we take a day to recognize and celebrate the incredible achievements of the people who make this country run: America’s workers. But despite our sweat, sacrifice and innovations, too many families are struggling to make ends meet.
This is not an accident. The rise in political and corporate attacks on working people has meant that wages have declined or remained stagnant. Good jobs are scarce, unemployment still is unacceptably high and the greedy few have rigged the game to reap the gains in productivity at the expense of the working people who made those gains possible.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little.”
—Franklin D. Roosevelt
Labor Movement and Raising Wages
This year, the labor movement has followed the lead of working families across the nation and launched a campaign to raise wages to create a more equal economy, to counteract our nation’s rising inequality and halt the decade-long erosion of our middle class. And we have witnessed workers, community organizers, faith leaders, civil rights activists and many others come together to achieve incredible victories across the country.
The labor movement continues to be at the forefront of pushing for real and lasting change for working families. This year, propelled by public pressure, dozens of municipalities and 10 states, notably Seattle, New York and Massachusetts, passed minimum wage increases. And thanks to volunteers and organizers who worked tirelessly collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, four more states will vote on whether to raise the minimum wage this fall.
This video, from Time, tracks how the value of the minimum wage has changed since the minimum wage was established in 1937.
“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”
—U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis
Improving the Lives of Working Families
America’s workers continue to stand united and fight for an economy of shared prosperity that works for all workers, not just the wealthy. Just as workers fought for the National Labor Relations Act in 1935 to protect their rights to organize and bargain collectively for improved working conditions and wages and for the Equal Pay Act of 1963 that, by law if not in practice, banned wage discrimination based on gender, workers continue to fight for those who work for a living, yet struggle to support a family.
Working families are not only pushing to raise the federal minimum wage, we are:
  • Seeking to expand basic labor protections for domestic workers, an industry in which workers are vulnerable to wage theft, harassment and abuse;
  • Working on campaigns to give all workers access to earned sick leave; and
  • Standing with low-wage workers, such as those at fast-food establishments and Walmart, for wage increases and to demand an end to illegal retaliation.
This Labor Day, be a voice for working families: share information about how raising wages would increase living standards and have a positive effect on your local economy as a whole.
President Barack Obama, March 8, 2014, Weekly Address
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Labor Day 2014 · Action Center · Find a State or Local AFL-CIO · Join Working ... Surprise the people you depend upon every day with these greeting cards ... That Barbecue Didn't Make Itself Labor Day, brought to you by hard-working people.
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Celebrate the legacy of the labor movement by subscribing to a publication that is dedicated to covering the struggle for workers' rights.

FOCUS: Bernie Sanders | Labor Day
Reader Supported News, Sept. 1, 2014
Sanders writes: "On this Labor Day, we salute the trade union movement and all Americans who are fighting for the needs of working families."

 It’s another gorgeous Labor Day here in Oregon. I hope you’re out there enjoying it!

As you do, take a moment to acknowledge the working men and women who are leading the fight to support and rebuild the middle class.

Without the work of previous generations of labor organizers, we wouldn’t have the weekend, the 40 hour work week, bans on child labor or the minimum wage. These things we take for granted today were won by the struggle and determination of organized workers.

There’s a lot left to do. For starters, we need to raise the minimum wage, and make sure it keeps up with inflation.  We need to reform the tax code so that we're promoting American jobs and not creating incentives to ship jobs overseas. By sticking together and standing up for working families, we can get it done.

Thank you for all of your support. Have a great Labor Day!

Ron Wyden

Labor Day USA
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the holiday in the United States. For labor days in other parts of the world, see Labour Day. For the workers' holiday held on May 1, see International Workers' Day. For the 2013 American film, see Labor Day (film).
Labor Day
Labor Day New York 1882.jpg
Labor Day Parade, Union SquareNew York, 1882
Observed by
United States
Federal Holiday (federal government, DC and U.S. Territories); and State Holiday (in all 50 U.S. States)
2013 date
September 2
2014 date
September 1
2015 date
September 7
2016 date
September 5
Related to
Labor Day in the United States is a holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It is a celebration of the American labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of their country.
Labor Day was promoted by the Central Labor Union and the Knights of Labor, who organized the first parade in New York City. After the Haymarket Massacre, which occurred in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the affair. Thus, in 1887, it was established as an official holiday in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.[1]
The equivalent holiday in Canada, Labour Day, is also celebrated on the first Monday of September. In many other countries (more than 80 worldwide), "Labour Day" is synonymous with, or linked with, International Workers' Day, which occurs on May 1.
In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed the holiday while serving as secretary of the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York.[2] Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in May 1882,[3] after witnessing the annual labour festival held in TorontoCanada.[4] Oregon was the first state to make it a holiday on February 21, 1887. By the time it became a federal holiday in 1894, thirty states officially celebrated Labor Day.[3]
Following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, the United States Congress unanimously voted to approve rush legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday; President Grover Cleveland signed it into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.[5] The September date originally chosen by the CLU of New York and observed by many of the nation's trade unions for the past several years was selected rather than the more widespread International Workers' Day because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent CommunistSyndicalist and Anarchist movements that, though distinct from one another, had rallied to commemorate the Haymarket Affair in International Workers' Day.[6] All U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and the territories have made it a statutory holiday.
Pattern of celebration[edit]
The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations",[2] followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the Labor movement.[2]
The holiday often marks the return to school, although school starting times now vary.
Retail Sale Day[edit]
To take advantage of large numbers of potential customers free to shop, Labor Day has become an important sale weekend for many retailers in the United States. Some retailers claim it is one of the largest sale dates of the year, second only to the Christmas season's Black Friday.[7]
Ironically, because of the importance of the sale weekend, some of those who are employed in the retail sector not only work on Labor Day, but work longer hours. More Americans work in the retail industry than any other, with retail employment making up 24% of all jobs in the United States.[8] As of 2012, only 3% of those employed in the retail sector were members of a labor union.[8]
End of summer[edit]
Labor Day has come to be celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. In high society, Labor Day is (or was) considered the last day of the year when it is fashionable to wear white[9] or seersucker.[10][11]
In U.S. sports, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. NCAA teams usually play their first games the weekend of Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day. TheSouthern 500 NASCAR auto race was held that day from 1950 to 1983 in Darlington, South Carolina. At Indianapolis Raceway Park, the National Hot Rod Association hold their finals to the U.S. Nationals drag race. Labor Day is the middle point between weeks 1 and 2 of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships held in Flushing Meadows, New York.
In the United States, most school districts resume classes around the Labor Day holiday weekend (see First Day of School). Most begin the week before, making Labor Day weekend the first three-day weekend of the school calendar. While others return the Tuesday following Labor Day, allowing families one final get away before the school year begins. Many districts across the Midwest are opting to begin school after Labor Day. [12]
See also[edit]
  1. Jump up^ Knights of Labor at the Wayback Machine (archived September 30, 2007). Progressive Historians (2007-09-03).
  2. Jump up to:a b c "United States Department of Labor: The History of Labor Day". Retrieved 2011-09-02.
  3. Jump up to:a b The Bridgemen's magazine. International Association of Bridge. Structural and Ornamental Iron Workers. 1921. pp. 443–44. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  4. Jump up^ "Origins of Labour Day"The Canadian Encyclopedia: Origins of Labour Day. Retrieved 2011-09-05.
  5. Jump up^ "Online NewsHour: Origins of Labor Day - September 2, 1996". PBS. Retrieved 2011-07-25.
  6. Jump up^ Brendan I. Koerner. "Why do we get Labor Day off". Slate Magazine.
  7. Jump up^ "Labor Day Intention Still Holds Meaning"Tri Parish Times. August 30, 2012. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  8. Jump up to:a b "Bureau of Labor Statistics News Release, Page 2". Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  9. Jump up^ Laura FitzPatrick (September 8, 2009). "Why We Can't Wear White After Labor Day"Time Magazine. Retrieved February 25, 2011.
  10. Jump up^ Bell, Johnathan (May 9, 2011). "An Introduction to Seersucker for Men"Guy Style Guide. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  11. Jump up^ O'Brien, Glenn. "Daytime wedding after Labor Day: Is it OK to wear a light beige suit to a daytime wedding after Labor Day?"GQ. The Style Guy. Retrieved 2 May 2012.
  12. Jump up^ Charles, C. M.; Senter, Gail W. (2008). Elementary classroom management. Pearson/Allyn and Bacon. p. 20. ISBN 978-0-205-51071-9. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  • Green, James (2007). Death In the Haymarket: A Story of Chicago, the First Labor Movement and the Bombing that Divided Gilded Age America. Anchor. ISBN 1-4000-3322-5.i like pancakes
External links[edit]
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Labor Day in the United States.
Links to related articles

International Workers’ Day, May 1, MAY DAY

International Workers' Day
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This article is about the May Day (labor commemoration) or International Workers' Day celebrated on May 1—for more information on the traditional spring holiday also held on or around May 1 see May Day. It is distinct from the official American holiday Labor Day, and from Labour Day.
International Workers' Day
Official name
International Workers' Day
Also called
May Day
Organized street demonstrations and street marches
Related to
May DayLabor Day, various other Labour Days
International Workers' Day, also known as Labor Day in some places, is a celebration of laborers and the working classes that is promoted by the international labor movementSocialists, and Communists and occurs every year on May Day, May 1, an ancient European spring holiday.[1][2] May 1 was chosen as the date for International Workers' Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affairin Chicago that occurred on May 4, 1886.[2]
Being a traditional European spring celebration, May Day is a national public holiday in many countries, but in only some of those countries is it celebrated specifically as "Labor Day" or "International Workers' Day". Some countries celebrate a Labor Day on other dates significant to them, such as the United States which celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September.
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Related topics[show]
Beginning in the late 19th Century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, a variety of days were chosen by trade unionists as a day to celebrate labor. In the United States and Canada, a September holiday, called Labor or Labour Day, was first proposed in the 1880s. In 1882, Matthew Maguire, a machinist, first proposed a Labor Day holiday while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union (CLU)) of New York.[3]Others argue that it was first proposed by Peter J. McGuire of theAmerican Federation of Labor in May 1882,[4] after witnessing the annual labour festival held in TorontoCanada.[5] In 1887, Oregonwas the first state of the United States to make it an official public holiday. By the time it became an official federal holiday in 1894, thirty U.S. states officially celebrated Labor Day.[4] Thus by 1887 in North America, Labor Day was an established, official holiday but in September,[6] not on May 1.
May 1 was chosen to be International Workers' Day in order to commemorate the May 4, 1886 Haymarket affair in Chicago. The police were trying to disperse a public assembly during a general strike for the eight-hour workday, when an unidentified person threw a bomb at the police. The police responded by firing on the workers, killing four demonstrators.[7][8]
In 1889, a meeting in Paris was held by the first congress of theSecond International, following a proposal by Raymond Lavigne which called for international demonstrations on the 1890 anniversary of the Chicago protests.[2] May Day was formally recognized as an annual event at the International's second congress in 1891.[citation needed] Subsequently, the May Day Riots of 1894 occurred. In 1904, the International Socialist Conference meeting in Amsterdam called on "all Social Democratic Party organizations and trade unions of all countries to demonstrate energetically on May First for the legal establishment of the 8-hour day, for the class demands of the proletariat, and for universal peace." The congress made it "mandatory upon the proletarian organizations of all countries to stop work on May 1, wherever it is possible without injury to the workers."[9] Across the globe, labor activists sought to make May Day an official holiday to honor labor and many countries have done so.
Khrushchev and Poliburo members atop Lenin's Tomb, May Day, 1957
May Day has long been a focal point fordemonstrations by various socialist,communist andanarchist groups. May Day has been an important official holiday in countries such as the People's Republic of ChinaNorth KoreaCuba and the formerSoviet Union. May Day celebrations typically feature elaborate popular and military parades in these countries[citation needed].
In 1955, the Catholic Church dedicated May 1 to "Saint Joseph The Worker". Saint Joseph is for the Church the patron saintof workers and craftsmen (among others).[10]
During the Cold War, May Day became the occasional for large military parades in Red Square by the Soviet Union and attended by the top leaders of the Kremlin, especially the Politburo, atop Lenin's Tomb. It became an enduring symbol of that period.
Africa. . . .

Contents of #3 2011
NWA Workers Justice Center
14 Advocates for Working People
Robert Reich: March in Protest
Senator Sanders at Vermont Workers Center

Contents of #4 2012
Winkler Labor Day Sept. 3 Picnic
Mayor Jordan at UUF Sept. 2
AFL-CIO Richard Trumka 2011 Message
OMNI’s Labor Day Open Mic 2011
Best Labor Songs
Analysis of ADG Editorial
Middle Class and Unions
Robert Reich on Inequality

Contents #5 2013
Workers Justice Center Labor Day Breakfast
Winkler Picnic
Arkansas AFL/CIO Labor Day 2013
Labor Day 2013 Google Search
International Workers Day May 1 Google Search 2013
Labor, Union Songs


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