Did you notice something about today?
Reflect back on Memorial Day. If you’re like me, your friends were posting all sorts of memes about the sacrifices that soldiers made, captioned with things like “just in case you thought today was about barbecues.”
And while that’s good — it’s what Memorial Day is for, to remember the sacrifices of those who marched to war under our flag — soldiers aren’t the only ones who defended and continue to defend your freedoms. While the military protects us from hostile governments abroad, organized labor protects us from hostile entities here at home: corporations, business, and management.
The weekend. The eight-hour work day. Retirement. Paid vacations, paid sick days, paid time off, equal treatment under the law, and work place safety laws — the Rights of the Worker — these are protected by the workers themselves, who banded together to tell the Robber Barons “enough.” Without the unions, or with weakened unions, these things go away. And you would surprised how fast they vanish: when was the last time you had a paid vacation? Or even a paid sick day? When was the last time you had work longer than 8 hours? When was the last time you had to pull a weekend shift, at normal pay?
How many memes do you see your friends sharing with images of the people who died to defend our rights as workers, captioned with “just in case you thought today was about barbecues?”
Because if you’re like me, the answer is, “very few.”
There are consequences if we forget the people who defended our freedom and our rights. Regardless of whether they’re in camouflage or blue collars.
The video below, produced by the UFCW local 324, shows the long struggle that American labor has taken, and is still in the midst of. Watch it and share it, to remind people that today isn’t just about barbecues.