Labor Day 2017: Fly the flag to honor American labor

September 4, 2017

Small U.S. flag flies at the grave of John Morris, the first worker killed in the battle outside of the Homestead Works Steel Mill in 1892. Photo by Alex Popichak / 90.5 WESA

Small U.S. flag flies at the grave of John Morris, the first worker killed in the battle outside of the Homestead Works Steel Mill in 1892. Photo by Alex Popichak / 90.5 WESA

Fly your U.S. flags today in honor of Labor Day, to honor American labor.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, flag-waving union organizers are confronted by armed state troops trying to quell union protests. Library of Congress photo.

In Lawrence, Massachusetts, in 1912, flag-waving union organizers and textile workers confronted by armed state troops trying to quell union protests. Library of Congress photo.

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Top Ten Labor Day songs? What would you add to this list?

September 5, 2016

At Bill Moyers’s site the blog features an historic post from Peter Rothberg, associate editor at The Nation, feature his admittedly-too-exclusive Top Ten Labor Day songs.

It’s a good list, but as he wrote in the introduction, there are many others. In comments, give us your favorites not listed here — with a YouTube link if you have one.

Top Ten Labor Day Songs

1. Pete Seeger, Solidarity Forever

2. Sweet Honey in the Rock, More Than a Paycheck

3. The Clash, Career Opportunities

4. Tennessee Ernie Ford, Sixteen Tons

5. Judy Collins, Bread and Roses

6. Dolly Parton, 9 to 5

7. Woody Guthrie, Union Burying Ground

8. Phil Ochs, The Ballad of Joe Hill

9. Hazel Dickens, Fire in the Hole

10. Gil Scott-Heron, Three Miles Down

Bonus Track #1: The Kinks, Get Back in Line

Bonus Track #2: Paul Robeson, Joe Hill

 


Celebrating Labor Day 2016

September 5, 2016

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, used to be the traditional school-starts-the-next-day in the U.S. Here in Texas, our students have been hitting the books (we hope) for two weeks. Rules require football practice start no earlier than two weeks before the start of school, so if football practice is to start in the first week of August, school has to start by the third week.

Wagging the dog in education, in other words.

Labor Day is the traditional start of the presidential campaign, with voting about 60 days away. In the 21st century, candidates don’t wait for Labor Day any more. Tragic for the nation to lose that tradition, I think.

So there’s nothing left to do but celebrate labor on Labor Day.

Here are some things to think about, on celebrations.

From a National Geographic on-line feature on women working, around the world: Teachable Moment  A school teacher conducts class in Atobiase, Ghana. Women make up more than half of trained primary education teachers in Ghana, according to the World Bank. Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic Creative

From a National Geographic on-line feature on women working, around the world: Teachable Moment A school teacher conducts class in Atobiase, Ghana. Women make up more than half of trained primary education teachers in Ghana, according to the World Bank. Photograph by Frans Lanting, National Geographic Creative

You can’t have a labor movement without music. What do you have around the house? Woody Guthrie? Pete Seeger? Leadbelly? Play it!

Music of labor weaves its way into history. “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” “Erie Canal,” barge-pulling rhythms with seeming-nonsense lyrics.  We also remember those who worked and died to advance labor, and those still dying from work-related injuries and disease.

Labor Day cards? AFL-CIO has a series of cards you can send to people who work, to thank them. Send the cards on-line, e-mail, or print them out and mail them.

Sample Labor Day Thank-you card from AFL-CIO, "That barbecue didn't make itself."

Sample Labor Day Thank-you card from AFL-CIO, “That barbecue didn’t make itself.” Find more cards at http://www.aflcio.org/thankyou


Remember to fly your flag for Labor Day 2016, September 5

September 5, 2016

Still important in 2016: Fly your flag for American labor, Monday.

Especially important in 2016. It’s a presidential election year. Wave the flag! Labor Day is the “traditional” start of the campaign for the presidency. In your town, most likely, there is a picnic sponsored by a union or other pro-labor group, at which you would be welcomed and can meet many of the candidates in your local races. Go!

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

Put your flag out at sunrise, take it down at sunset. (Okay, you may fly your flag all weekend — especially if you’re a union member.  We get the whole weekend, but Labor Day itself is Monday.)

Labor Day 2016 in the United States is a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

“Free Labor Will Win,” the poster said, encouraging a theme important during World War II, when unions were encouraged to avoid strikes or any action that might interrupt work to build the “arsenal of democracy” believed necessary to win the war.  Labor complied, the war was won, and organized labor was the stronger for it. In 2015, some have difficulty remembering when all Americans knew that our future rides on the backs of organized labor.

In war, America turned to organized labor to get the jobs done. Not only do we owe a debt to labor that deserves remembering, we have many jobs that need to be done now, for which organized labor is the best group to turn to.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2012]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.

Flags fly all around in 1882 at the first Labor Day Parade in New York City’s Union Square; lithograph from USC’s Dornsife History Center, via Wikipedia, artist unidentified

What’s the history of labor in your family?

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This is an encore post.

This is an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.

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Remember to fly your flag for Labor Day 2015, September 7

September 7, 2015

Still important in 2015: Fly your flag for American labor, Monday.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

(Okay, you may fly your flag all weekend — especially if you’re a union member.  We get the whole weekend, but Labor Day itself is Monday.)

Labor Day 2015 in the United States is a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

“Free Labor Will Win,” the poster said, encouraging a theme important during World War II, when unions were encouraged to avoid strikes or any action that might interrupt work to build the “arsenal of democracy” believed necessary to win the war.  Labor complied, the war was won, and organized labor was the stronger for it. In 2015, some have difficulty remembering when all Americans knew that our future rides on the backs of organized labor.

In war, America turned to organized labor to get the jobs done. Not only do we owe a debt to labor that deserves remembering, we have many jobs that need to be done now, for which organized labor is the best group to turn to.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2012]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.

Flags fly all around in 1882 at the first Labor Day Parade in New York City’s Union Square; lithograph from USC’s Dornsife History Center, via Wikipedia, artist unidentified

This is partly an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.

More, Other Resources:

This is an encore post.

This is an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.


Fly your flag for Labor Day 2014

September 1, 2014

Remember to fly your flag today for Labor Day, to honor all laborers, and especially those in the union movement to whom we owe gratitude for the concepts and reality of safe work places, good pay, benefits (including health benefits), and vacations.

Members of the Silver Platers and Metal Polishers Union carry a large flag in Rochester’s (New York) 1918 Labor Day Parade. A poster depicting Uncle Sam can be seen to the rear of the marchers. Albert R. Stone Photo Collection, Monroe County Library System

Members of the Silver Platers and Metal Polishers Union carry a large flag in Rochester’s (New York) 1918 Labor Day Parade. A poster depicting Uncle Sam can be seen to the rear of the marchers. Photograph by Albert R. Stone, Albert R. Stone Photo Collection, Monroe County Library System

2014 notes the 100th anniversary of the Ludlow, Colorado Massacre.  Labor Day should give us all pause to consider those who lost their lives campaigning for good wages, for decent working hours, for good and safe working conditions, and for the right of workers to negotiate collectively the companies who employ them for these things.

Have a good Labor Day.  Celebrate with family and coworkers.  Kick off the 2014 elections.

And remember.

Monument in Haymarket Square, Chicago, noting the 1886 Haymarket Riot and the workers who died or were murdered later.

Monument in Haymarket Square, Chicago, noting the 1886 Haymarket Riot and the workers who died or were murdered later. Photo by TRiver on flickr, Creative Commons license, via AtlasObscura.

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Remember to fly your flag for Labor Day 2014, September 1

August 30, 2014

Still important in 2014: Fly your flag for American labor, Monday.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

(Okay, you may fly your flag all weekend — especially if you’re a union member.  We get the whole weekend, but Labor Day itself is Monday.)

Labor Day 2014 in the United States is a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

“Free Labor Will Win,” the poster said, encouraging a theme important during World War II, when unions were encouraged to avoid strikes or any action that might interrupt work to build the “arsenal of democracy” believed necessary to win the war.  Labor complied, the war was won, and organized labor was the stronger for it. In 2012, some have difficulty remembering when all Americans knew that our future rides on the backs of organized labor.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2012]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.

Flags fly all around in 1882 at the first Labor Day Parade in New York City’s Union Square; lithograph from USC’s Dornsife History Center, via Wikipedia, artist unidentified

This is partly an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.

More, Other Resources:

This is an encore post.

This is an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.


Fly your flag today, Labor Day 2013

September 2, 2013

Still important in 2013: Fly your flag for American labor today.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

It’s Labor Day 2013 in the United States, a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

“Free Labor Will Win,” the poster said, encouraging a theme important during World War II, when unions were encouraged to avoid strikes or any action that might interrupt work to build the “arsenal of democracy” believed necessary to win the war.  Labor complied, the war was won, and organized labor was the stronger for it. In 2012, some have difficulty remembering when all Americans knew that our future rides on the backs of organized labor.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2012]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.

Flags fly all around in 1882 at the first Labor Day Parade in New York City’s Union Square; lithograph from USC’s Dornsife History Center, via Wikipedia, artist unidentified

This is partly an encore post, a Labor Day tradition.

More, Other Resources:


Labor Day Bathtub reading, part 2

September 5, 2012

More tea!  Good.  Warm up the tub.  Where were we?

Sir Isaac Newton's death mask; Royal Society image

Caption from the Royal Society: A cast of the face of Sir Isaac Newton was made at his death in 1727. The original, now owned by the Royal Society, was probably sculpted by J.M.Rysbrack (1693?-1770). This plaster copy, which is numbered “44”, is a Victorian relic and was donated to the Observatory by the Misses Wallace.
Newton was born at Woolsthorpe in Lincolnshire, England on 25 Dec 1642. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge from 1661 – 1665/6 when the university closed due to the plague. His most famous work is the The Principia [the Crawford Library holds a first edition (1687) and a third edition (1726)] where he discusses universal gravitation. In 1696 he was appointed Warden then later Master of the Mint and in 1703, he became President of the Royal Society.

Wallace believes the Dems’ “filibuster proof majority in the Senate” lasted 24 months. In reality, he’s off by 20 months, undermining the entire thesis pushed so aggressively by Republicans.

  • Ron Paul sometimes appears, to me, as a guy from another century.  I don’t mean “in the future.”  Looky here!  Here’s a Paul-supporting site, a group that tends to glom on to almost every conspiracy theory coming down the pike, touting Paul’s great success in getting a “full audit” of the books of the Federal Reserve — you know, that bank Alexander Hamilton told us we needed, and that in its post-Depression form modeled the way central banks the world over should behave, creating a post-WWII era of American-modeled economic freedom that led to astonishing leaps in income and quality of life for people and peoples all around the world.  Well, we are told breathlessly, Paul insisted on an audit, got a law passed — and here’s the audit and the results are shocking!  Wait — don’t those “findings” sound familiar?  Oh, the report is more than a year old . . . to just took the Paul people that long to find it .  Sen. Bernie Sanders told us all about it a year ago.
  • Glenn Beck is a bully, and frequently wrong on factual issues.  He’s the chief supporter of history-distorter David Barton.  Beck has moved to Dallas (our air quality has been awfully bad here lately), where he can fly American Airlines all he wants.  But alas for him, American Airlines employs honest people.  I’ll wager Beck’s prevaricating about what happened.  I’ll wager the flight attendant treated him exactly the same as everyone else, but Beck has a congenital chip on his shoulder and sour pickle in his mouth.  He certainly he got accurate feedback, despite the flight attendant’s courtesy.  Maybe it was God opening Beck’s eyes, eh?
  • Wonder what Obama and Romney think about science issues?  So did Scientific Debate, so they asked.  Obama and Romney answered.
  • Bill Nye said creationism is inappropriate for children.  He’s been saying that for years, but when he said it off the cuff, for Big Think, a bunch of people sat up and took notice.  “The Science Guy, standing up for science!  How dare he!”  Who knew?
  • Bedbug stupid:  Over at the Constitution Club (to get what they mean, think of “Baby Seal Club”), they’re yucking it up over a Washington Times manufactured story that says some Charlotte, North Carolina hotels might have bedbugs — ho! ho! ho! — and maybe some Democrats will get bitten.  Con Clubbers aren’t good on science, law or history — they blame the U.S. ban on DDT for the problem, and say it’s a case of over-regulation since a lesser restriction, like banning agricultural use, would have worked.  They were unaware that bedbugs developed immunity to DDT in the 1950s; that that bedbugs were eliminated from the U.S., mostly, without DDT later; that the “ban” on DDT was only on agricultural uses, etc., etc.  It’s almost like watching somebody laugh at Euclid for claiming a triangle in a plane has angles that total 180°.  “Everyone knows water boils at 212°, so a triangle would be too hot to handle!” the ConClubbers would complain.

Enough of the soaking.  But the backlog still exists.


Fly your flag today, Labor Day 2012

September 3, 2012

Probably more important in 2012 than ever before: Fly your flag for American labor today.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

It’s Labor Day 2011 in the United States, a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

“Free Labor Will Win,” the poster said, encouraging a theme important during World War II, when unions were encouraged to avoid strikes or any action that might interrupt work to build the “arsenal of democracy” believed necessary to win the war.  Labor complied, the war was won, and organized labor was the stronger for it. In 2012, some have difficulty remembering when all Americans knew that our future rides on the backs of organized labor.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2012]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.

Flags fly all around in 1882 at the first Labor Day Parade in New York City’s Union Square; lithograph from USC’s Dornsife History Center, via Wikipedia, artist unidentified

More, Other Resources:


Bathtub reading for a Labor Day

September 1, 2012

A week of school out of  the way, perhaps.  One convention down, one to gird up for.  Last long weekend of a mosquito-plagued summer.  Enough rain to quench the wildfire danger, perhaps, while washing away the town outside the levees.

English: Millard Fillmore helped build this ho...

Millard Fillmore bathed here: Fillmore helped build this house in East Aurora, NY, in 1825, moving in with his wife Abigail in 1826. They lived here until 1830. It is the only surviving residence of Fillmore, aside from the White House. Good image created and copyright held by Yoho2001 Toronto, ON. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whatever the justification, a good stack of stuff for a good, long soak.

Wait.  The tea is cold.  Bother.  Why don’t they make tea dispensers for the bath tub?


While you’re celebrating Labor Day . . .

September 5, 2011

Remember that the weekend was a Crazy Liberal Idea™, and that union men and women died for the right to have them.

See this and more at PoliticalLoudmouth.com

Text of the poster:  “The weekend was a crazy liberal idea.  In 1886, 7 union members in Wisconsin died fighting for the 5-day work week, and 8-hour work day.”

Source:  PoliticalLoudmouth.com

 


Honor American labor: Fly your flag today, Labor Day 2011

September 5, 2011

Probably more important in 2011 than before:  Fly your flag for American labor today.

Free Labor Will Win, poster from 1942, (Library of Congress)

Poster from the Office of War Information, 1942

It’s Labor Day 2011 in the United States, a federal holiday, and one of those days Americans are urged to fly the U.S. flag.

The poster was issued by the Office of War Information in 1942, in full color. A black-and-white version at the Library of Congress provides a few details for the time:

Labor Day poster. Labor Day poster distributed to war plants and labor organizations. The original is twenty-eight and one-half inches by forty inches and is printed in full color. It was designed by the Office of War Information (OWI) from a photograph especially arranged by Anton Bruehl, well-known photographer. Copies may be obtained by writing the Distribution Section, Office of War Information [alas, you can’t get a copy from the Office of War Information in 2011]

Even down here in deepest, darkest-right-to-work Texas, patriots fly their flags to honor Labor today. It’s heartening.


Labor Day history

September 6, 2010

A bit more on Labor Day and history, from this site and others:

More from Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub:

More from other sites:

Song music cover, "Look for the union label," 1900s

Union Label poster from the AF of L, early 1900s. Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives, New York University. Copyright Labor Arts Inc. (here under Fair Use for education)


“Here’s to the troublemakers”: Labor Day letter from Linda Chavez-Thompson, candidate for Lt. Gov.

September 6, 2010

Worrying about education on Labor Day, with good reason — I get e-mail from the woman who would make a great lieutenant governor in Texas:

Queridos Amigos,

As you light up the grill and enjoy some well-deserved relaxation with family and friends, I hope you will take a moment to reflect on a question I like to ask myself every Labor Day. 


What kind of trouble am I willing to cause?

We forget how indebted we are to a brave group of forgotten heroes, all of who were labeled troublemakers in their day.  They bucked the status quo, stepping out of line to stand up for the dignity of every human being. Their bravery was often met with a baton, or the butt of a pistol, but they showed that the human spirit can not be silenced.

Their names seldom make the history books, but we owe these troublemakers for many of the blessings we take for granted today —including the 40-hour work week, a minimum wage, vacations, and child labor laws.

So what are we willing to step out of line for?

This past Saturday a group of over 30 volunteers joined my campaign team to go door-to-door in Brownsville, Texas.  I want to send a special thanks to County Commissioners John Wood and Sophia Benavides, as well as Jared Hockema, the Vice Chair of the Cameron County Democratic Party for helping inspire the crowd.

Stirring up their own brand of trouble, they got South Texas parents to sign the “Linda Chavez Thompson Today, Tomorrow and November 2nd Pledge” — pledging to do more to help kids succeed in school, to stand up for candidates who support education, and pledging to show up a the polls on November 2nd.

Today millions of jobs are being created in science, technology, engineering and math.  But instead of investing in education so our kids can compete for these jobs, Rick Perry and David Dewhurst and have led the Texas economy to the greatest share of minimum wage jobs.

We can do better. And in real conversations in Brownsville, Texas, parents and grandparents told us time and again they want more for their kids.

Labor Day is here folks.  Enjoy your time with family today.  Give thanks for all your blessings.  And then get ready to step out of line and challenge the status quo.

Here’s to the troublemakers,

Linda Chavez-Thompson

Teachers make great trouble, as everyone knows — which is why Socrates was condemned to death, why Booker T. Washington is so feared, and why the world’s greatest democrats always support education — like Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson, to mention a few education-supporting presidents.

Strike a blow against ignorance:  Give a few bucks to Chavez-Thompson’s campaign, or sign up to help out if you live in Texas.


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