Monday, September 04, 2006

thinking about the state of labor on labor day

over at, there is a string concerning the right of americans to be able to choose where they shop, and the value of american workers. i was surprised to see that one reader wrote in that the blog leaders were against freedom, saying that they supported government policies that take away the right of businesses to conduct as they wish and the right of shoppers to shop where they want.

i remember reading "the jungle" by upton sinclair, and i know that by giving the american people a true sense of what was occuring in meat packing factories, people began to understand the need for regulation of businesses (and not just for meat, though i honestly didnt want to ever eat meat again after reading it). jeff hess and i were discussing the book, and i commented on how it had a strong effect on the labor movement and jeff said no, only on business regulation.
but within the book, you follow the main charicter and his family through the struggle of lower class immigrant americans, you see that they worked when they were sick (again, extra gross in a food setting), they worked pregnant, the old worked, they lived up to a dozen people in a crowded flat, they worked 16 and 18 hour days for pittances. the main charicter was also influenced by the socialist movement. i believe this affected labor laws as well

today is the day of the worker, and yet im sitting in my coffee shop where there are two people working the bar, and i am sure fast food and walmart/target and most other bar/grill/restaurants and even borders are all up and running. this means that the people who the day was meant for have to work right through it so that professionals (myself included-they dont have social workers on holidays) and ceos etc. can have (yet another) day to spend with their families...

Album of the day: fellow workers- ani difranco and utah phillips

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