Should Labor Be Banned From Labor Day?


What would Walter say about today's Labor Day?

A group of Wisconsin union officials has voted to ban Republican politicians from a local Labor Day parade.  The real question is should we continue to celebrate Labor Day or should we find a different group facing tremendous challenges, and pause for a day to recognize their struggle and achievement?

I spent a good deal of time growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, and I loved and studied everything I could about the labor movement.  There was Albert Parsons, the father of the eight hour day, Walter Reuther who inspired the labor movement to support civil rights in spite of George Meany,  and William “Wimpy” Winpisinger the 12 year president of the IAM who sued the OPEC oil cartel during the energy crisis because the US Government wouldn’t.   The leaders of today’s labor organizations just seem to be self-absorbed, and politically correct.  Does anyone really think Jimmy Hoffa would have visited the White House with the regularity of Andy Stern, Richard Trumka, etc.?

“That’s just part of the Republicans mood across the country to attack labor and blame working people for everything,”   ~ State Rep. Gary Moore, president of the Tennessee AFL-CIO.  8/29/2011.

No Gary; I blame the labor leader irrespective of affiliation, that attacks the contributions of the entrepreneurs that have and do create the jobs that you become a parasite to for your own self-preservation.  The leaders in labor today are the shop stewards, local presidents, and the members themselves; however, this is not a group worthy of a national holiday.

Would Mr. Gompers support today's Labor Day?

I’m thankful to the many contributions of the labor movement: holidays, overtime, vacation, benefits, OSHA, etc.  It just seems to me that Labor Day has served its purpose much in the same way Pearl Harbor Day did.  Yet we haven’t really moved on to 9-11 Day in the same way.  Yes there was a struggle, and Cesar Chavez, Samuel Gompers, John Lewis, Philip Randolph, and many more helped overcome that struggle for the common American.  Today we have different struggles for the common American.  Terror, geo-political instability, collapsed housing, soon to be bursting education bubbles, and chronic unemployment.

We should replace Labor Day with Entrepreneur’s Day and celebrate those that have succeeded in spite of government regulation, lack of capital, a limited export market, and an underperforming public education system?  It’s time we recognized the efforts of Nick Denton (Gawker), David Neeleman (JetBlue) Reed Hastings (Netflix), and Peter Theil (PayPal) and many more.  I think they probably created more jobs than our current labor leaders?  We need to refocus.  We can still lament the cancelation of The Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, be told that we should not wear white after Labor Day, and cook hot-dogs; however, we need to start recognizing and valuing those that can lift us up rather than demonizing them for their greed and lack of compassion.

In July I wrote about the Top 10 Reasons The Jobs Picture Would Not Improve In 2012, and the folly of having Jeffrey Immelt as the head of The White House Council on Jobs and America Competiveness.  We as HR professionals and for those of us that double as entrepreneurs need to initiate the effort to recall Labor Day.  Labor Day should be replaced with a holiday befitting the effort, risk, passion, and determination exemplified by some of the great labor leaders of the past century by recognizing the individuals demonstrating those behaviors in these times;  the entrepreneur.

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Posted on August 31, 2011, in Labor Relations and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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