Labor Unions Today

Today, unions continue serve the same purpose for which they were originally founded. CEO and executive compensation is skyrocketing, while the middle class suffers from layoffs, unemployment and stagnant wages. Average CEO total compensation at S&P 500 companies, according to the AFL-CIO 2010 Pay Watch, is over $11 million.

Current union agendas include increasing wages, raising the standard of living for the working class, ensuring safe working conditions, and increasing benefits for both workers and their families.
Workers need fair treatment today as much as ever because most corporations focus on creating profits at the expense of employees. To protect workers, unions are important.

The nature of work in America is changing. Employers are trying to shed responsibility for providing health insurance, good pension coverage, reasonable work hours and job safety protections. Instead, companies are making workers’ incomes and jobs less secure through downsizing, part-timing, contracting out, and sending jobs off-shore.

More than ever, working people need the collective voice and bargaining power unions provide to keep employers from making the workplace look as it did in the early nineteenth century.

Without collective representation, the threat of sweatshop conditions, unlivable wages and 70-hour work weeks may become a part of working America’s future as well as its past.

Today and in the future, labor unions will continue to play an important role our country’s work force and the quality of life for working families. You can learn about the benefits of fighting for the middle class in America if you are not a union member.

America’s working families need the representation, collective power, pride in work and fair treatment they in the workplace that they deserve.

Celebrate Labor Day

The United States observes the first Monday in September as a celebration of Labor Day, a federal holiday that recognizes the economic and social contribution of workers. This annual holiday has its origin in the labour union movement, particularly the eight-hour movement, which promoted eight hours of working, eight hours of rest, and another eight hours of enjoyment. Families also took advantage of the holiday by taking time to travel before the summer break ends. Tracing back on Labor’s Day history, it states that it was machinist Matthew Maguire in 1882 who proposes the holiday while being at service as a secretary of the Central Union Labor (CLU) in New York. Many argue that it was Peter J. McGuire of the American Federation of Labor in that same year that first suggested the holiday after attesting the yearly labor festival in Toronto, Canada.

It has been the usual pattern of celebrating Labor’s Day in the U.S. by having a street parade in demonstrating the public on the esprit de corps and strength of the labor and trade organizations. The celebration is followed by having a festival made for the employees and workers, including their families. Speeches by famous men and women were given after the festival, as more attention is placed on the civil importance of the day. It states that with a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention in1909 regarding the Sunday that proceeds Labor Day, it is said that Sunday was adopted as Labor Sunday and is devoted to the spiritual and educational point of views of the labor movement.

The federal holiday is most of the time considered as a day of parties and rest. Political demonstrations and speeches are less featured in the U.S. as compared to how other countries celebrate Labor Day in May 1, although events made by labor organizations feature political appearances and themes of those aspiring for office. The patterns of celebration in May1 in many countries include public art events, picnics, and firework displays.
The Labour Day public holiday in Australia is fixed by various territory and state governments, and so it differs considerably. Australians held their Labour Day in the first Monday in October in New South Wales, South Australia, and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). For the Northern Territory and in Queensland, Labour Day is celebrated in the first Monday of May. In Canada, Labor Day is recognized in the first Monday in September since 1880. When a parade was presented to support the strike of the Toronto Typographical Union, the origins of Labor Day in Canada are rooted to December 1872. Canadian politician George Brown presses the police to charge Typographical Union with conspiracy. In the present times, Canadians regarded Labor Day as the Monday as the last summer long weekend. Non-union celebrations in the country include water activities, firework shows, and picnics.

Elsewhere in the world, the celebration is also a big deal for other cultures. In New Zealand, they held Labour Day in the fourth Monday of October. Based on the history of Labor Day in the country, it was the eight-hour working day movement that gives rise to the founded colony in Wellington in 1840. In a workers’ meeting in October 1840, a resolution was passed to support the idea of working not more than eight hours a day. In Asian countries like India, the annual Labor Day is held every May first of the year. Many programmes in schools are made this day to honor the laborers. Rallies and meetings are organized to tackle and discuss labor issues. In Bangladesh, Labor Day is observed is a government holiday and is observed in May 1. In the Philippines, the Labor Day or called “Araw ng mga Manggagawa” is also celebrated in May 1 and is an official public holiday.

Most countries in the Middle East recognize Labor’s Day or Eid Al Oumal as an official holiday specifically in Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria where the event coincides with May Day. In Turkey, National Labor Day was only acknowledged in 1923 and was never been celebrated ever since. In Sweden, Labor Day or Forsta Maj is celebrated every first of May which is the same day as Labor Day or Arbeidernes Dag in Norway. In Trinidad and Tobago, Labour Day is held every June 9 of the year as this holiday was planned in 1973 to be commemorated on the anniversary of the Butler labour riots in 1937.