I thought a lot about Labor Day today. Mama and Papa invited us over for a refesher course in gluttony lunch. This day isn’t just about barbecues and the last day you can wear white, it is about us workers.
Having this one day off between 4th of July and Thanksgiving didn’t come without cost. And it was steep. The Pullman Palace Car Company cut workers wages as its companies revenue and demand for their rail cars dropped. That and 16 hour workdays was enough. They striked and railroad workers across the nation joined them. 125K railroad workers quit rather than handle Pullman’s cars. The government intervened because the strike was a threat to national safety and would interfere with mail delivery. As a result, 13 people were killed by the US Army and Marshals breaking up the strike. Making it a national holiday was the government’s way to appease labor.
I am very thankful for my job. And I’m thankful for the things the labor movement allows me and millions of other workers enjoy. Holidays, 8 hour workdays, overtime, etc. Workers like those in the Pullman Strike died for better conditions and pay.
I hope you enjoyed your Labor Day. This holiday celebrates our contributions and achievements and those of workers before us.
I was thinking about President Obama this morning. I love the guy, even though there are things he’s done as POTUS that I don’t agree with. After pondering what’s been going on, especially the last few months, I feel bad for him. Dude can’t seem to catch a break. In reverse chronological order (more or less):
Earthquake, tsunami, nuclear power plant, devastation
From Egypt to Yemen, the entire region has revolted. A country with an ally-dictator unseated and a country with an enemy-dictator who is hanging on to his until it’s taken from his cold, dead hands.
The working class is starting our own revolt
See Middle East
Memorial and miraculous recovery (Thank God)
It just had to expire during his presidency
Bush Era Tax Cuts
They just had to expire during his presidency
Congressmen, Senators, and Governors whose sole purpose in office/life is to make sure he doesn’t win in 2012
Oregon teenager, Fort Hood psychiatrist, Yemeni toner cartridges, Detroit underwear
Iraq & Afghanistan
Insurgents and Insurgents
Gulf Oil Spill
BP, compensation, regulation, moratorium
Repeal attempt, lawsuits
Earthquake, homelessness, cholera, devastation
He inherited the US’ and the world’s tanked economies
It seems like a larger-than-normal presidential crapload has happened/is happening in his term. I would have been curled up in a ball, in a corner, inconsolably crying by now. No, actually, I would have probably killed myself long before. That’s why I could never be POTUS. And why I wonder why anyone would want to be POTUS.
I don’t see it getting better anytime soon. Good luck Mr. President.
Based on the 85K – 100K people who descended on to Madison, the fight has just begun. It’s not just about the unions anymore. The GOP’s held their illegal/tricky vote on Thursday. Scotty signed the half-a-bill into law on Friday. The people showed their anger on Saturday. This isn’t about unions anymore. Farmers circled in tractors showed their support. People who never protested before did so because of their disgust with the GOP and the Walker.
My head was near spinning off last night. I had so many questions. Rachel Maddow did an excellent job, as usual, of explaining what went on. There is even footage of what happened moments before the vote in the chamber.
Wisconsin GOP Strips Public Workers’ Bargaining Rights
Despite this blow, the war has just begun. Senate Republicans in Wisconsin were able to strip unions of their collective bargaining rights tonight. They cut the bill in half, voting on the collective bargaining rights. Because that aspect of the bill does not have any financial implications (to the budget), a quorum is not needed. The vote was 18-1. Thank you, Senator Dale Schultz for standing up to them by voting no.
“In 30 minutes, 18 state Senators undid 50 years of civil rights in Wisconsin. Their disrespect for the people of Wisconsin and their rights is an outrage that will never be forgotten,” said Democratic Senate Minority Leader Mark Miller. “Tonight, 18 Senate Republicans conspired to take government away from the people. Tomorrow we will join the people of Wisconsin in taking back their government.”
Ya damn skippy!
Governor Walker and the GOP succeeded where union leaders have failed – revitalizing union solidarity. The sleeping giant is awake, pissed off, and ready to go. You ain’t seen nothing yet.
The e-mails emerge. Governor Walker is softening. He really misses Senator Jauch.
He poured out his heart in the letters. He agreed that unions can keep some of their collective bargaining rights:
1. Salaries with no market rate limit
2. Mandatory overtime
3. Performance bonuses
4. Hazardous duty pay
5. Classroom size
Walker also said OK to the agreeements lasting up to two years.
Jauch wanted sick leave and vacation pay to be included as well.
Then, Walker had to go and tell everyone how close Jauch was to coming back. He had to blame outsiders for ruining their relationship (e.g., union bosses, Senator Miller). He mocked the proposed border meeting, letting his stubborn pride stand in the way of real reconciliation.
“Trust is completely broken down now. I don’t believe anything he says.” – Jauch said.
Way to go Scotty.
Naturally, Jauch is hurt and doesn’t want to talk. Walker is left to ponder the e-mails and their relationship.
Being an internet-trained psychotherapist, I offer my advice to Walker. Let them keep more bargaining rights and send flowers. Huge, beautiful, and expensive. With this note:
“Baby come back. You can blame it all on me. I was wrong, and I just can’t live without you.”
Scotty’s numbers are tanking, and voters are launching recall efforts. I guess the Wisconsin 14 figures this is a good time to have a pow wow with Walker.
“It’s very difficult because I realize even though we didn’t plan it this way, people are resting their hopes on our decisions,” Jauch said. “I know that at the point we return some people are going to be terribly let down. We have to communicate with them that we stand together.”
That is why you meet him in Illinois. Since he’ll never agree to that, dig in your heels. There is a ton of opposition to his plan, especially when union members have already agreed to the cuts. I don’t know how long he can stand this because people are growing increasingly pissed off…at him.
I’m a huge Prince fan, but I’ve loved rap, R&B, and hip hop since I was a tweener. Here’s a great video – politically tinged hip hop. I love it! Enjoy. 🙂
ETA: Tip: If you find a better version of a video on a site other than YouTube, just copy that site’s embed code. Forget downloading direct from YouTube. I learned that the hard way. This version lets you see the signs without them being chopped. 🙂