And since it’s Labor Day, I want to take a moment to think nice thoughts about labor unions.
They’re not just the people who brought you Labor Day weekend. They’re the people who brought you the weekend. Period.
They’re the people who brought you the eight hour work day, and time and a half for overtime if you work more than that. They’re the people who brought you workplace safety laws. They’re the people who brought you child labor laws. Etc. Etc. Etc. If you’re not working under 19th century working conditions, you have labor unions to thank. (And if you are working under 19th century working conditions — maybe you should unionize!)
For some reason — okay, I’m not stupid, I know the reason — unions have been framed in the United States as unpatriotic and un-American. I find this baffling. Unionizing is one of the most fundamentally democratic ideas people have ever come up with. Without them, employers hold all the cards in the employer- employee relationship. With them, working people have a voice — and the power to do something with that voice.
Are there problems with unions and how they operate today? Sure. There are problems with democracy and how it operates today, too. That doesn’t make democracy a bad idea. And it doesn’t make unionization a bad idea. It makes working on those problems a good idea.
Collective bargaining. It works. One of the best ideas people ever came up with. Thanks, y’all.