Labor Day is a time to reflect on the state of work and unions in America. It’s also a time to remember our history. Getting that history right is important in terms of the lessons we learn. Ken Burns is about to lead us on another historical journey, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” beginning September 14. This multi-evening, seven disc, hardcover book event weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, “three members of the most prominent and influential family in American politics.”
As you celebrate with your loved ones over the holiday, remember how unions have helped American families secure prosperity and opportunity, and why we should consider unions a basic form of democracy.
“Titstare?” It’s a new app that shows men staring at images of women’s breasts. Or you can photograph yourself staring at breasts and upload the photos to the app.
The world of work for women is changing. A popular new Barbie construction set -- yes, building pink mansions! -- may help girls expand their view of what occupations are open to them, and that's welcome. But tradeswomen are taking action today: President Obama will soon be hearing from women electricians, plumbers, ironworkers, and carpenters about what it takes to succeed in the world of skilled trades work.
'Lean In' All You Want -- But If You Want a Better Job, Unionize! (What the CEOS of Facebook and Yahoo! Won't Tell You)
OK, Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg didn’t say “join a union.” But that’s the message the vast majority of working women should be considering this Women’s History Month. The best way for the most women to improve their working lives is through a union.
In the past month, clerical workers in California shut down the two busiest ports in the country. One hundred and twelve workers were killed in a garment factory fire in Bangladesh. Fast food workers walked off their jobs all across New York City, while Walmart workers protested in front of stories across the country. Hundreds of Michigan union members crowded into the state capitol to protest anti-labor right-to-work legislation. Brooklyn parents are partnering with nannies and housekeepers to make the law protecting domestic workers a reality.
Attacks on hard-working people are nothing new in America. Sixty-five years ago, Eleanor Roosevelt, first lady and architect of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, wrote these words: “Labor Day this year is not a day for rejoicing for the labor groups, or for those who are interested in good labor conditions throughout the nation.” In 1947 she was worried about the Taft-Hartley Act, which was the first major legislation to weaken unions since the New Deal. The rights of the people who drive the economy and form the backbone of the country were under siege.
The U.S. Postal Service is a 200-year-old institution that directly provides jobs for half a million people and many times that number in industries that depend upon it. The Postal Service receives not a penny of taxpayer money, and even made a tidy profit in the first quarter of this year. Yet this trusted federal agency is under siege from a phony "fiscal crisis" created by Congress in an unjustified attack on workers and much-need services. It's no surprise that those seeking to further privatize universal public services and weaken labor unions are leading the charge.
We lost Wisconsin. No, we lost the recall of Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. In the course of the recall, and in much of the post-election analysis, we forgot what the original fight was about. Back in January 2011, teachers, firefighters, nurses, police officers, friends and neighbors filled the capitol and the streets because of legislation that would end the right of public employees to have a union. The fight was not about pensions or budgets, deficits or recalcitrant unions. Unions agreed to concessions. Scott Walker’s legislation was about ending public sector unions; taking away the right of employees to have a voice at work.