Sunday, September 4, 2016

Labor. OUR day is every day.

I've been looking forward to Labor Day since midnight of last year's Labor Day. As of late, I've been making sure to attend at least two cities' celebration of our day. (Milwaukee and Racine)

It's the one day when I get to see everyone together from events/actions throughout the rest of the year where we have participated as "fractioned causes". Teachers have had actions. Building Trades have had actions. Organizations doing things such as #FightFor15 held actions. Community activists have furthered their causes throughout the year.

By the end of the day my cheeks are usually sore from the amount of smiling that takes place. It's a celebration. Often I am lucky to have participated in so many actions that I sometimes forget that they took place - until I see the faces of those that I was lucky enough to stand with. Every Labor Day is a reminder of the past year.

It's also a look into the future.

Since 2011 when the reprobate Scott Walker and the Banana Republicans invaded Wisconsin, working people have had their share of gut punches. We've learned that in order to avoid the finishing stomp on our heads that we need to get up as quickly as possible.

After every single attack we as a collective have done exactly that. Got up and dusted ourselves off.

We know where these attacks come from, and, we understand that we aren't going to stop them any time soon. We know that we'll still be getting sucker punched next week, and, we prepare ourselves as best as we are able.

Instead of doubt where we stand it emboldens us. It makes us stronger - more determined to win the war.

It forges us.

By now you know our history. Chances are that before 2011, you may not have known what Wisconsin gave birth to: Public sector unions. Workers Comp. Unemployment compensation. Weekends. The 8 hour day.

Wisconsin also gave birth to those of us who call it home. The two are inseparable. WE are Wisconsin. Our ancestors didn't just give birth to us - they gave birth to ideas that respect the work that we do. We owe it to them to take back what is rightfully ours. For those of us who belong to unions, we understand that our fight is for every worker whether they have representation or not. All work deserves respect. All workers deserve respect.

On this Labor Day I just wanted to write a quick reminder, and, a "thank you".
Thank you for refusing to give up. Thank you for fighting throughout the year.

Thank you for understanding that every day is Labor Day.

Looking forward to seeing you on Monday.


1 comment:

  1. I haven't read much about his guy, but will definitely do so. Growing up in a steel town, the daughter of a steel worker at Bethlehem Steel, I have more respect for hard working men and women in blue collar jobs than one can imagine. I also remember the '70s and '80s and how much these men and women were screwed over by corporate greed. Any how much any and all of them were there to help each other when one of them fell on hard times. I saw the health benefits slip away, the pensions drained (declare bankruptcy, end the pensions, then re-open a non-union shop with the same investors - not sure of the details but something like that), promises broken. I knew the phrase 'union concessions' before the age of 7. We used to wait in the one family car with my mom for second shift to end - hiding in the back seat to surprise my dad when he filed out - dirty work clothes rolled into a tight roll, fastened with a leather belt, slung over his shoulder while he whistled to walk to his family. Always feigned surprise when we popped out - as if three little girls would be home alone at the end of second shift. 7-3, 3-11, 11-7. Swing shifts - sharing the burden. One week of each - takes a toll on a person. The chemical exposure - takes a toll on the brain. Always happy to see us - never complained of the 100+ degree heat, or the danger. Complained once that the shift nurses were let go - cost too much money to keep them on - could have cost lives to let them go. I saw the hard-working men in the unemployment lines, lines on their faces revealing the end of benefits coming. Some moved away, some got 'retraining' - government funded. My dad worked two jobs and went to school full time to get his associates degree. People who work so hard shouldn't have it so hard. So, yeah, I really would like to see people like Paul Ryan kicked to the curb. I waited for the revolution that Tracy Chapman promised me - listening to her on the hill in front of SWAHS on summer nights on my cheap boombox. It's time for a change - way beyond time.

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