On Labor Day, leaders from across the movement for the rights of working families spoke about both the history of the labor movement and the challenges we face in the current hostile environment created by extreme interests that place profits over people. From rallies across the country to online essays, the message was clear: Working families aren't taking the attacks on their rights lightly and they will not only fight back, they will win.
In our regular weekly feature, we'll be taking a look at the winners and losers of the week in the struggle for the rights of working families. The winners will be the persons or organizations that go above and beyond to expand or protect the rights of working families, while the losers will be whoever went above and beyond to limit or deny those rights.
The federal judiciary of Mexico extended protection late last week to the embattled leader of the National Union of Mine, Metal, Steel and Allied Workers (Los Mineros), Napoleón Gómez Urrutia. In what will go down as a historic victory for the Mexican labor movement, the three judges of the circuit court unanimously declared the arrest warrants against Gómez unconstitutional, siding with Gómez’s legal defense team that the charges were without merit and politically motivated. This ruling will allow Gómez to return to Mexico in absolute freedom, as the Mexican government must now cancel extradition requests pending in Canada and with Interpol.
It’s been a long time since companies honored workers with more than just lip service once a year on Labor Day. Decades, actually. Since the late 1970s, wages of workers have not even kept pace with inflation. Meanwhile, CEO pay has soared. But because companies do not disclose a vital piece of information—the pay gap between their CEO and their typical worker—investors and the public cannot gauge which companies are investing in their workers and which are not.
News last month showed that the Eurozone countries had a bad second quarter of economic growth. For the three-month period that ended in June, the Eurozone economies grew at 0.0%. Germany, the largest economy in that group, shrank by 0.2%, and Italy, the third largest, fell back into recession. While initially there was much celebration that Germany’s work-sharing schemes prevented the massive job losses experienced in the United States, Germany’s tepid fiscal response, and weak accommodation by the European Central Bank to the global downturn of 2008, have meant Europe continues to flounder. This should be a real lesson that austerity is not a better proscription than the policies pursued in the United States.
Today we celebrate Labor Day, a day to honor the men and women who work hard every day to support their families, pay their bills, educate their kids, save for retirement and fight to make America’s economy work for everybody.
Whether it is a job, equal pay for equal work or the means to achieve a stable retirement, we as workers share many of the same hopes and dreams. And to this day, the best way to achieve those dreams is through a unified labor movement.
What did your grandparents do for a living? What did your grandparents teach you about work? How did your grandparents work lives shape who you are today?
These are the questions asked by a new website launched in honor of Labor Day by Jobs With Justice called The Way They Worked. And rather than providing readers with the answers, the site asks Americans to tell their stories and honor their grandparents and the lives they lived and the jobs they worked.