As we celebrate Labor Day 2011, working families face greater attacks on their economic security than at any time since the days of the robber barons in the late19th Century. In state houses across the country, politicians backed by Wall Street billionaires are attacking fundamental reforms that union members fought and won over many decades, reforms like collective bargaining, child labor laws, safety regulations and even the right of workers to vote. In the U.S. House of Representatives, right-wing forces have passed legislation to eliminate Medicare, undermine Social Security and increase the taxes paid by working families while giving massive benefits to corporations and the very rich.
Rather than pulling together to find real solutions to our problems, anti-worker billionaires and the politicians they fund are mobilizing to transfer all the burdens of taxation onto working families. Under the budget bill supported by all except nine Republicans in the U.S. House and Senate, taxes would increase for the working middle class while the wealthiest one percent would find their taxes cut in half. Millionaires would be taxed at a lower effective rate than anyone working nine to five for a paycheck. That’s not a real solution, and it does nothing to create jobs.
We fought for reforms . . .
Unions opposed these measures. The labor movement worked long and hard to enact reforms like the progressive income tax, Social Security and Medicare. On Labor Day and every day, we need to remember that winning those victories – and so many others – was not a day at the beach or a walk in the park. When unions fought for collective bargaining rights, for the eight hour work day, to expand non-discrimination laws, to restrict the use of child labor and to enforce workplace safety regulations, we were always opposed by Wall Street. Yet, today, too many Americans take those reforms for granted. But many realize how important these reforms were. And they are mobilizing to oppose the concerted efforts underway across the country to repeal them, along with other policies and laws that have promoted social and economic justice. Read the rest of this entry →