September 10, 2011
As we prepare to celebrate Labor Day, organized labor has never been at a more important crossroads than now. Forces in the halls of power throughout America want to destroy unions and all they have fought for—pensions, health benefits, workplace safety, living wages, dignity.
Therefore, those who feel the wealth of our great land should be owned by a few have worked fiercely to weaken unions. Eli Siegel—historian, friend to labor, and founder of the education Aesthetic Realism—explained that at the basis of profit economics is contempt for people.
It is contempt which has a manufacturer have workers laboring in dangerous conditions because the cost of safety would cut into his profits. It is contempt which has elected officials prefer to lay off essential public servants rather than tax the rich.
This Labor Day, let us remember the men and women who sacrificed so much, and with renewed energy, continue the struggle for working people to be seen with justice. That justice is in the definitive statement by Mr. Siegel: “The most important thing in industry is the person who does the industry, which is the worker…. Labor is the only source of wealth. There is no other source, except land, the raw material.”