Absence of Labor Day:
Today, on CNN's American Morning (where apparently only Ali Velshi got the day off), the question of the day was "Do unions help or hurt America?" The responses were surprisingly not insane, and a good many were pro-union. Of course, it was a stupid fucking question, being asked in a studio that probably contained union members, but, as with so many things these days, CNN was merely giving credence to the anti-worker rhetoric spouted by the right. Are unions good or bad for America? Well, shit, considering that corporations come up with ways to hire near-slaves whenever they can, it shouldn't even be a question.
The photo up there is from a job fair held by the Congressional Black Caucus in Los Angeles on August 31. About 20,000 people lined up for it. That tops the previous CBC job fairs in Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, and Miami, each of which had thousands of jobs seekers in long, winding lines, hoping against hope that someone would actually give a shit.
Some people who do give a shit are unionized workers, currently less than 12% of the American work force. By the way, only 6.9% of private employees are unionized. Government workers are one of the last bastions of any real strength for the labor movement in this country. No wonder the right is going after them so viciously, discrediting and demonizing and then eliminating them.
Of course, if actual actions by unions got even a tiny fragment of the coverage that the Tea Party gets if it farts in a windstorm, you might realize that they really do represent the majority of Americans: the ones who want decent jobs and decent treatment and decent standards of living and who understand that the wealthy in the country (what we used to call "capital") are the very people who are trying to destroy unity in the working class through bullshit like the Tea Party.
You might know that, just this week, 10,000 unionized nurses across the country demanded through protests that their members of Congress raise taxes on Wall Street transactions. You might know that 3000 members of the United Farm Workers marched on the state capitol in Sacramento for, among other things, the right to overtime pay. Maybe you did hear that organizers of the Pittsburgh Labor Day parade, with tens of thousands of participants, told anti-union politicians to go fuck themselves, that workers are not their props, and that they can't march.
But, if you did hear that last one, that's only because thuggish union members were being mean to the poor, poor politicians who want to strip away their right to exist. And we can't make the lapdogs of our corporate masters feel bad, can we? Oh, and, hey, look, 2000 people listened to a Sarah Palin speech.