Governor sets policy via orders; Republicans grumble

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2007

“Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.”

— Dwight D. Eisenhower

With Labor Day just a few days away, many parade schedules are set and activities planned for the day that celebrates the American worker.

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The original idea for the day came from the Central Labor Union in 1882. Labor Day was later recognized by Congress in 1894 and the general theme of the day hasn’t changed much during that time.

American labor is misunderstood and in the middle of an identity crisis.

Every community in America possesses a group of people who rely on government assistance. Although those programs are noble and speak well of how the United States takes care of its less fortunate, the inaccurate portrayal of those who receive those funds suggests they are all taking advantage of the system and giving a poor reflection of American labor.

More ironic than that, American labor itself has an unflattering image. Seen as politically compromised and a deterrent to the stability of some businesses, unions across the country are not recognized as they should be for their roles in the improvement of wages and work environments.

Some blame unions for the transfer of many jobs overseas because companies can operate in a more cost-effective manner abroad.

On the other extreme of the warped image of the American work force is the notion of workaholics. Statistics are abound about the time Americans spend at work, the lack of Americans’ quality time with their families and the high divorce rates compared to European countries.

Well, before everyone throws in the towel on unions and the people who work - or don’t work — in America, there are some undeniable facts that should be told and retold to the children who will be at those Monday picnics.

First, the pursuit of happiness should not be derailed because it might affect the profit margin.

Secondly, Americans should be proud of the fact that we work so hard we have been able to take care of those less fortunate and that speaks well of us as a society.

Third, some people might call them workaholics. Others might just say America has a strong work ethic that makes it one of the world leaders in the production of goods that are utilized around the globe.

So when Labor Day rolls around, everyone should remember what the Central Labor Union knew all the way back in 1882.

The American worker should be celebrated.

Rick Greene is the managing editor of The Ironton Tribune. He can be reached at (740) 532-1441 or by e-mail at