This Labor Day, Put Down the Ribs and Stand Up With Workers
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Sep 1, 2013
Ah...Labor Day -- one last chance before the back-to-school crush to lounge by the pool, throw a burger on the grill and take our minds off work.
Not usually a day people spend contemplating the contributions of workers to America.
Maybe it's better that way. If most of us really stopped to think about the state of workers in America on Labor Day, we would be in no mood to celebrate.
For millions of workers, ground down by the daily grind, work takes more than it gives. One in four workers toils at wages too low to lift their families from poverty. Forty million get no paid leave. The share of workers with job-based health and retirement benefits declined 12.9 and 7.0 percentage points, respectively, between 1979 and 2010, while wage growth for the bottom 60 percent resulted roughly as much from increased hours as from higher pay.
Workers have had more than enough of far too little for way too long. That's why, across America, in cities large and small and states of every hue, workers are demanding the most basic workplace bargain -- the right to economic opportunity and security through their labor.
Fast food workers are striking for decent wages and the freedom to form unions without intimidation; thousands turned out in 50 cities last week. Warehouse workers, the human conveyor belt engaged by logistics companies to process goods for Walmart and other retail giants, are walking off the job and onto the legal battlefield to challenge egregious wages and working conditions.
Employees of federal contractors, tired of relying on public aid to subsidize the low wages profitable public contractors pay, are demanding the federal government stop promoting poverty work and take steps to ensure tax dollars create living wage jobs. Carwash employees are organizing and striking on the east and west coasts.
Port truck drivers, denied decent wages and benefits through wrongful misclassification as independent contractors and retaliated against for try
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