Sunday, September 6, 2009

Labor Day 2009

I know I just wrote and told you I would be away, but I didn't leave yet and won't until Labor Day is behind us. I don't really want to rant about it, but the proclamation of labor Day and all it means these days has me depressed somewhat. In the past, when I was in the labor force as a Teamster, Labor day seemed to mean something. Maybe it's because I'm not working for wages any longer that I don't see the honor in being a working person. But maybe it's the way corporate America has taken the life away from so many, as those high on the food chain of American life use the backs of labor to make their millions.

There is a Labor Day sale at every major chain drive big box store. They are all open for business, with regular hours, and the workers are to be there and not home celebrating their position as labor in our great nation with some relaxing family time and the ceremonious Summers end BBQ. Travel for those that do have the day off and the long weekend see restaurants, motels, lodges, gas stations and gift shops open and staffed to get their money. Maybe those industries seeing the last vestiges of Tourist Season and the raking of profit dwindling after September 7th this year.

In the past, I remember thanking my dad on this day. I remember when I was a dad and my kids relaxing around the house. It was a day we specifically set aside to rest from our labor, our jobs. Stores were closed. Businesses were shut down for the long weekend. We actually took time out from it all on Labor day.

I promise you, I will honor labor. I will mention the working class in my prayers. I'll see the banks are closed, but the ATM's remain open. The Post Office is shut for the day, but you can still use the drop box. The bakeries won't be making and delivering fresh bread to the grocery. The buses will be on holiday schedule, that is, reduced number of runs on a usual Monday. I'll try my best not to shop. I'll take care of all my expected needs for tomorrow, today. Even that pains me somewhat as it is Sunday. I was taught it is the day of rest. Monday, Labor Day, was suppose to be a bonus.

At any rate, none of us would have what we have in any way shape or form without labor. All Labor. And in this day and age that means the part time clerks at numerous stores and shops open through the designated day to honor those same workers. If you do have to use the services of someone that must work today, say this, "Thanks for being here today." They might appreciate it. If you eat out, give an extra couple of percent or more as a tip. Try to get things done today so the folks at the shops can have an easy day tomorrow.

Remember the working class. Use your own definition of who that might be. I know it must vary as to when labor cuts off and management begins. Look at the fast food industry. Get hired as a manager and you have to work all the hours of every shift from time to time to cover the shifts of those that quit and call in, and that means weekends and holidays like Labor Day. In my book, the fast food manager is still labor, with a different moniker, a ploy, no doubt, dreamed up by those who will actually have the day off and profit from the fruits of that labor.

Today's meaning of Labor Day.

If you are working for wages today, I hope your day goes smoothly. I thank you for serving our nations industry and the people with your tax dollars, even if you don't have a say as to where your tax payments go, I still thank you for the portion that serves us with police and fire departments and such.

I will be leaving in a couple of days, headed west again. Stories to come upon my return, hopefully with pictures.



The Crow said...

Hey, buddy -- left a message for you at my blog.

Really appreciate the message in your post today, Joe.



Fran said...

Thanks for framing the topic. My workplace has published "holidays", but then they ask for volunteers to work & if they o not get enough, they pull names from reverse rank order & mandate some work "holidays".
Mind you this is *not* an essential service industry- like police, fire, emergency medical where the services are necessary.
Which makes it all the more insulting. How do they call it a holiday & not give you the time off.
My workplace is on a wage freeze, but they send flyers & memos about new business ventures in Brazil, Dubai, & buying 2 new acquisitions @ 2.4 billion cost.
Obviously there is money somewhere.... but not trickling down to me.
So we KNOW we are being exploited, but have no recourse to remedy the situation.
After putting off new hiring for a few years, they decided to hire 60 new people.
Even with the bad wage (they did not advertise the wage), crappy hours (weekends & evenings) they still got over 1000 applications.

I figured out if I built vacation time around the "holiday" they are forced to let you take the holiday .

All the corporate jobs I have been in have very little actual humanity... even though they do pitch in for community events, when it comes down to actual care about employees it is very much so a one way street.

I too appreciate stores that have the humanity to post a *CLOSED FOR THE HOLIDAY* sign & let everyone enjoy the day.

No doubt there is a class system, right here in the USA. And under the recession/depression we are in, it is an employers market... because as we are all reminded... you are lucky to have a job.
Even if it is unfair, unbalanced, and lacking in compassion.

Woman in a Window said...

Here by way of the Crow. Thanks for the thanks. I'll be working tomorrow. I can almost remember the good old days when everything remained closed...almost.

Mel said...

Things fall out of my brain--so I don't remember if I actually remember when businesses were closed, of if someone gave me the memory.

But I'll work today. Some places--those that are about service to other people--remain open year round, 24 hours a day. And that'd be me.
And since I don't ask my staff to do that which I won't do.....I'll be showing up for work myself, doing what needs done.

But you're right about the observation of the holiday as a whole.....which is kinda sad, given the purpose of the Holiday.

(((((((( Spadoman )))))))))

I'll give thought to you, on the bike, cruising through the area (hopefully the river route down will be gorgeous for you--trees are starting to turn, yaknow!)
Safe journey to you, sir.
Enjoy the ride!! (yup, pun intended!)

This Eclectic Life said...

Unfortunately, "holidays" don't exist for many in the working class --- especially that service industry. We as Americans have that "I want it now" mentality. Thanks for reminding me to thank the workers. I hope your trip is a joy!

Roderick Robinson said...

As a former trades unionist myself (National Union of Journalists - a decidedly leftwing and often suicidal bunch of scribblers) I have my own depressing thoughts about the state of organised labour at the moment. However, I suspect you could briefly cheer up yourself with a quick click of the mouse. Check out the world of difference between the Triumph you now ride and the one I once rode. Sorry I can't provide a direct link

Unknown said...

Powerful post Spado, thank you so much for writing it.