Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Ghost of Labor Day Past

It's all the rage these days to hate on unions, to cast them as villains in economic and educational crises.  As a union member I don't agree with this.  Unions consist of the workers.  If one believes that corporations are people, unions are moreso. 

It is true, as the internet ads say, that the weekend is brought to you by unions.  So is the minimum wage and an assortment of other things we take for granted now.

To bring that home, consider the Children's Strike of 1835.  It took place in Paterson, New Jersey.  Here is the situation in brief:

In 1835, several thousand child-workers went on strike in Paterson, New Jersey to protest the 13 ½ hour workday. For a month, nearly 20 cotton mills stood idle until the young work force was granted a 11 ½ hour workday.

A group of mill owners wrote a letter to a local paper saying the workers only work 6 days a week and usually are over 12 years old.  They say it is the lazy parents who send their children off to work out of greed.

That's why we need unions.

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