Labor Day

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I normally don’t post on holidays- but this is an exception I will make.  Because I think this holiday needs a lot more “oomph”.

The first Monday in September.  And, since 1882, with its first celebration in New York City, it’s grown to be a national holiday.  (New York State should have been the first state to make it a state holiday- but they dawdled passing the bill, giving Oregon that honor.)

We still don’t know who thought the idea up.  Some say it was Peter McGuire (co-founder of the American Federation of Labor- the AFL in the AFL-CIO), but it probably was the homonym- Mathew Maguire (of the Machinists Union) who should be honored with the production of the idea.

I have been labor and I have been the “man”.  (To be honest, I spent a lot more time in my life as the “man”, but, hopefully, I was an enlightened version of a boss.)  I’ve written before about my first real job- working in a dry cleaning store… for about a year, before I became management.

And, then I worked as a waiter for a catering hall.   It was a union gig.  (To be honest, the union wasn’t an omnipresent focus on the job.) After a few years (I think it was three), I became shop steward (Local 923) and eventually an officer (Treasurer)- a position I resigned almost immediately upon election, since I joined the management team of the catering hall.

As an employer, I never paid minimum wage.  There were a few reasons for that. For starters, most folks can’t make ends meet getting paid that little.  (I do admit, it was easier to do so some 30 years ago, but…)  I also never hired the “just adequate”, but searched for those with a little bit more.  (One of my eMail signatures give truth to this thought- The difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is just that little bit “extra”. Let’s aim for the extraordinary!).  And, we always shared our profits with our employees- those that were around for at least 18 months.

Given this holiday- and given the state of the economy in the US and the rest of the world, I’ll be writing about labor, the middle class, and business over the next few days.

Stay tuned.

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4 thoughts on “Labor Day”

  1. Has lower middle class become the new upper middle class. I look forward to reading your take on just where we are going with labor, middle class and business. It is much easier to question now that I have stepped back from it and don’t really work for anyone (other than my wife and she pays very little) I do have concerns as to just where the economy is headed. I think this old world is in a lot worse shape that those in power will have us believe. I hope the thoughts you are about to share with us have a little ray of sunshine around the edges.
    Chef William Chaney recently posted..Questions about Wheat Free Living

    1. There can only be rays of sunshine if we- the citizens and the shareholders- exert the rights we think we have.
      As citizens, our rights have been usurped by the lobbyists and the 0.1% with tons of money who have total access (and control) of our politicians.
      As shareholders, many are slowly recognizing (due to their belief in fables) that they no longer OWN the company- but serve as shills for the management of the firm and the very few oligarchs who control those enterprises. Profits are not distributed to the shareholders or invested in the firm; profits upon which taxes are due are hidden and moved around to avoid paying their fair obligations; executive compensation reaches 100’s of multiples of the average employees’ pay- like the entire success of the company is solely due to the efforts of one man (and, yes, it usually is a man) or two- and not those making the widgets, serving the customers, etc.f

      I believe in capitalism. I believe in democracy. However, we no longer have capitalism- we have oligarchies with no responsibilities to their shareholders or employees. We no longer have democracy- we have entrenched politicians sucking at the tits of lobbyists and rich donors with no responsibility to the citizens of their district. (Another reason why the citizen’s right to vote is being abridged- the goal is to have the landed aristocracy have control. As it was when the USA was first founded- and from which we determined, an enlightened citizenry and an entitled voter was a much better choice. Until recently…)

      Oh, sorry. Let me put away my soap box…

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