Over the years, the meaning of Labor Day has been lost on many.
Now a generation removed from the predominance of abusive working conditions, many Americans today fail to understand the importance of celebrating the fight to win vacation hours, overtime pay, lunch breaks, weekends, restrictions on child labor, maternity leave and employer-sponsored health care.
But the symbolism of Labor Day is not lost on the people of Wausau, Wisconsin: Amid an unprecedented fight with Republicans over labor rights in their state, organizers of this year’s Labor Day parade have decided to exclude the state’s conservatives from participating.
“Usually they’ve been in the parade, but it seems like they only want to stand with us one day a year, and the other 364 days they don’t really care,” Randy Radtke, president of the Marathon County Central Labor Council, told The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Labor unions across the state have been engaged in a political blitzkrieg against Gov. Scott Walker (R), who’s made it his agenda to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain. He’s also succeeded in removing automatic payroll deductions for public union fees — a move which workers say will significantly weaken the unions.
Unions have historically been the strongest supporters of the Democratic Party.
“It should come as no surprise that organizers choose not to invite elected officials who have openly attacked worker’s rights or stood idly by while their political party fought to strip public workers of their right to collectively bargain,” Radtke reportedly added.
The council is made up of representatives from about 30 labor unions in the county.
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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