The late 1800’s in America was an era known as the Gilded Age. It was a period of gross materialism and blatant political corruption. There was prosperity in America and unprecedented growth in both industry and technology. It was also a period where greed gave way to corrupt industrialists and the robber barons, and the disparity between the wealthy and working Americans exploded.
So why am I mentioning all of this? The Labor Movement was born to counter the advantage the rich had over the working class. We pause to reflect on the history of Organized Labor and how irrelevant it is seemingly becoming. We need to be vigilant and have a clear understanding of our present situation. Being in a union isn’t just about a job, it never was. We are part of a movement, the Labor Movement, and are the defenders of workers’ rights, all workers. We need to teach the history of the American Trade Union movement in order to meet the same challenges working men and women once overcame by being united a long time ago.
Honor the heroes and the builders, the martyrs and the soldiers who fought the fight for Labor, and pray that we too have the resolve to fight that same fight that we are facing today. Happy Labor Day.