Often the real reason behind this holiday is not even thought about. Labor Day, however, was actually initiated to celebrate the contributions laborers made toward the well being of our country.
Organized unions were formed to protect these same laborers from ruthless employers who wanted good labor for low wages, many hours and questionable working conditions. Unions also fought against child labor, petitioned for health benefits and offered assistance to those hurt on the job or retiring.
While all these starting points of the labor unions have merit, there is now a questionable gray area which begs considering. Because of contracts negotiated within our government, local and state budgets are being drained dry, causing political leaders to raise taxes or cut government services many of us have enjoyed for years. Some of these include closing state and national parks, or at least reducing services; closing military bases and/or reducing benefits for military personnel and more.
Along with governmental domination, unions have a good deal of dominance within our public school system. Most of our teachers give every ounce of themselves to their students. They bury themselves in hours of paperwork preparing and teaching our young ones what they need to know, day in and day out, while their hands are tied to specific guidelines to prepare the students for “the test,” and robbed of any disciplinary action, even if absolutely necessary, leading to lack of respect in the classroom for their authority.
Unions have become a haven, therefore, for those teachers who, rather than give 100% to their students, use the system as protection from their laziness, apathy, and incapable abilities, leaving the children in these classes to fall far behind and sometimes completely fall through the cracks!
So there are mixed feelings when discussing the unions and their help or detrimental factors. It could be part of the reason Labor Day is no longer about the “working man” so much as, the final end of summer celebration. What used to be a day of honor and remembrance for the person who is dedicated to his job, works hard and consistently, has become a day of celebration for those who formed unions and those who abuse the system.
I am not suggesting all unions are bad or ineffective. I do wonder, however, if the beginning idea of forming unions to protect our laborers hasn’t been skewed over the years. Because of this change of perspective, many employees choose to opt out of joining the union entirely.
There is data that shows many employees, however, don’t realize they have the right to opt of the union without losing their job, being assessed a penalty, and without having to pay at least all the union dues. Supposedly the unions prefer to keep some information hidden to keep in check those who would like to eliminate their membership and go to great lengths to leave the opening time for opting out very narrow. Yet, statistics show, membership in unions is dropping.1
What are your feelings about the labor unions? How do you view Labor Day?