A reason to celebrate?
Editor of the Reformer:
While it's always nice to have a day off from work, US Labor Day finds American workers having very little to celebrate. The United States is a country divided along class lines, with one reality for the rich and a very different reality for everyone else. More than half of public school students live in low-income households, a number that has increased by 20 percent over the past few decades. Average CEO pay in the U.S. is 300 times that of the average worker, while the top 1 percent own more than a third of the country's wealth — just as the number of U.S. workers in unions has declined to about 10 percent of the workforce. Injustices of this magnitude can take place only through the systemic exploitation of workers.
The great irony of our current predicament is that International Workers Day (the Labor Day that most other countries celebrate) began as a global act of solidarity with Chicago workers whose leaders were unjustly executed following the Haymarket Affair in 1886. When politicians established the US Labor Day, they intentionally set the date far away from May Day to discourage worker solidarity. When workers around the world gather on May Day to push for the rights of laborers — without whom there is no wealth- American workers are largely absent from the struggle. For those at the top of the heap, this seems to be working out quite well.
Henry Zacchini, Dummerston, Sept. 6