Today, the United States and a number of other countries celebrate Labor Day. Most of the media say that it is a day to celebrate workers, which it is, but this masks the actual history of the observance which grew out of the organized labor movement.
Organized labor, such as unions, in the US has fallen on hard times, with the lowest percentage of workers represented by a union in decades.
Many Republican politicians are especially hostile to organized labor. The most infamous example among the current crop of presidential nomination contenders is Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who spearheaded and signed legislation limiting collective bargaining rights for public sector unions and now touts it on the campaign trail.
On the other end of the spectrum is independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who is pursuing the nomination of the Democratic party. Bernie is actually a democratic socialist and a big backer of labor rights. He recently joined a picket line in Iowa, something he has done many times during his career in public office, going all the way back to when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont in the 1980s.
To honor Labor Day today, I wore my Bernie Sanders for President T-shirt. His campaign has made remarkable progress and, even if he is not an eventual nominee, he has done a lot to move the conversation in the country toward issues that matter in the lives of the everyday folks, not just corporations and political insiders who usually command all the attention.