Labor Day was established to pay honor and recognize the contributions that average workers in America made to this great country and to keep hope alive in improving the living and work place conditions. We owe a lot of thanks to organized labor for things that we take for granted today, such as higher wages and benefits from collective bargaining contracts.
What began as a day of celebration has turned into a weekend of sales for department stores, going to the beach as summer comes to a close, the beginning of football season, back to school for our young people, and MDA fund raising.
I will be discussing Labor day further below, but let’s address another item which is of national and individual importance. As the 3-day Labor Day weekend comes to a close, what the holiday also ushers in is the beginning of the political campaigning season. Every citizen, if they have not already started, should begin to think of whom to elect for the executive offices of the state, representatives to congress, state representatives to our senate and assembly. We have to elect judges to sit on our judicial bench to administer justice on behalf of the people.
If that is not enough, we have to look at and meet with local people who are seeking office as county supervisors, mayors, council members and school board trustees for community colleges, county schools and districts.
Also when you toss in local measures and statewide propositions, for me it is a labor of love for all citizens to take the time to prepare for the November election.
In my case, I do not have the space to highlight each candidate seeking office. However, thanks to these candidate’s websites, much information can be gathered on a person seeking office combined with personal knowledge of some of the history; I will be making recommendations for you to consider in future editions.
Now back to Labor Day, it is estimated that organized labor membership has been on a downward trend since the early 80’s and in 2009 they comprised only 12% of the workforce. This is mainly because most manufacturing jobs have been moved out of the country as business owners were seeking lower wage people to do the work. For example, Kaiser Steel Mill in Fontana was sold to China and the steel now made in China is sold back to us in America. At the height of steel made in Fontana, there were over 9000 steelworker members in Fontana. After the sale to China, many steelworkers lost their retirement benefits and without the union, they were left to fight on their own.
Now the public service employees unions outnumber the private sector and with governments in financial deficits, those employee unions are in the crosshairs of the tax paying public.
So as we celebrate how far we have come as workers, let us work together to figure where we go from here as we fight for higher wage jobs. We have to educate our workers for those jobs. That is why we need to elect people who know how to work with all concerned partners in their area to get the job done.
I hope you had a nice Labor Day and are ready for the upcoming November election.