Labor Day is more a celebration of the end of summer than of the courageous union leaders who built the foundation for the middle class. Most folks have never heard of the late, great John L. Lewis.
He is a larger than life hero to me. Doc Brown at DePaul University taught labor history by reading excerpts from the biography of John L. Lewis. Sadly, we don’t have union leaders with his brand of courage, integrity, and strength of character today. Our country wouldn’t be in the mess that it is if we did.
It was the corruption of union leaders like the late Jimmy Hoffa that opened the door for the demise of labor unions and with it the middle class. Who in their right mind would contribute two hours’ pay/month to line the pockets of someone who is as arrogant, corrupt, abusive, and greedy as the executives running large corporations?
Romney/Ryan and the RNC claim they built it. Yes, they did. Mitt Romney was the architect of the strategy that killed the middle class. He made his personal fortune by crafting strategies that compelled Main Street to pick up the tab for Wall Street’s greed and corruption. Rep. Paul Ryan drove the bus over the cliff with his votes to bankrupt the US treasury via welfare for the 1% at the expense of the 99%.
The real architect of the middle class was John L. Lewis. The story I remember most vividly about his life was the day he bared his chest and invited the first strike-breaker’s bullet to pierce his heart. Chrysler caved, and the middle class was born.
His courage gave us living wages. His courage gave us medical coverage and other fringe benefits. His courage paved the way for women to have equality in the workplace. His courage gave us safe places to work.
We need new union leaders and politicians with the strength of character and integrity to stand up to organized greed. A dear friend of mine claims he’s a Republican because his union doesn’t do an effective job of representing his interests. I suggested he’d be smarter to vote for new union leadership than for Republicans if he wanted to maintain his middle-class lifestyle.
Hope y’all are having a great Labor Day!