Labor Day Blues

September 2, 2013 Kent New York

 It's a nasty, rainy and windy day outside. A fitting start for a day dedicated to the Labor Movement, considering the sorry state of labor in the United States. The once vibrant industrial powerhouse that was the center of the country's economy has all but fallen silent; a victim of the stupidity and greed of politicians from all sides of the political spectrum, and the monolithic corporations who have taken over the country and now decide the course that it will head, at least in the near future. The ghosts of the old robber baron industrialists inhabit the bodies of today's greedy movers and shakers, in the form of the Koch brothers and the Trumps of the world. They care not about the bodies of the workers that they have crushed under their feet in the name of ever increasing profits. They care not for the families that they have torn asunder and driven to bankruptcy by moving all but the last vestiges of the mighty industries to the far points of the globe, where they can hire people who are willing to work for slave wages, and if they are not willing, there are governments more than happy to put their children to work, or to use slave labor from their prisons. These workers are made to work ridiculously long hours, which makes them increasingly susceptible to industrial accidents which result in maiming and death. They work in factories that are not checked for safety, and accidents are a part of the norm, not an exception, as the recent deadly fire in Bangladesh shows. 
 The Robber Barons don't care, they turn a blind eye to it. When something happens, they sternly say that they will launch investigations into the the safety of these plants. They may even close a few, but it's slight of hand. For every one that they close, they open two more that are just as bad, if not worse.
 What they are doing amounts to  murder, in my opinion. They know the risks that these workers undertake, just by accepting a job, or being forced to work under such conditions; yet, they continue to reap the bloody profits and throw what amounts to pennies to charities, and call themselves 'Philanthropists'.  They have managed to shackle the workers in this country, driving untold thousands into bankruptcy; and the have managed to virtually enslave the working classes of these third world countries. 
  Unions in the United States are in ruins, some destroyed by their own greed, most destroyed by the slanderous campaigns of the Mega-Corps, hell-bent in their need  destroy them. The likes of Mitt Romney and his ilk grin, speak with their phony smiles frozen on their faces, and tell people that the union mentality is what destroyed the economy. They lie to the faces of the American people, and the unionless jobs that they must have to keep their megastores and fast food restaurants running, pay wages that no family could live on, with no benefits, while the workers work under dangerous conditions. 
 All in all, it's a sad state of the Labor Movement that I contemplate today, as I sit and stare out at the driving rain and think back to what my father begged me to do when I got out of the Marine Corps 43 years ago. He was tired, and old before his time; the result of working for less than adequate wages as a top auto mechanic for so many years. The dealership charged, at the time, $65.00 an hour for his labor, but paid him less than $5.00 and hour, plus commission, once he made his base salary back in work. He begged me to get a good union job with benefits and a pension, so that I would be secure in my retirement, something, he said, he would not be. I did as he said, and am lucky enough to have a small pension to help me try to struggle through. My father died of a massive cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 58, a victim of overwork and stress.
 Dwight Eisenhower warned of the danger of the Industrial- Military complex. He warned of how it would, if not checked, be the downfall of the United States. He was a brilliant man who cared deeply for this country. Sadly, what he warned of has come to pass, but it's not too late. There is still time to right the ship.
 So, as you sit out there today, enjoying your barbecue, if you are lucky enough to have nice weather, and are

reveling in what you have accomplished; or if you are one of the displaced and forgotten, wondering how you will get back all that you have lost, think about the workers who came before you. Think about the modern day Robber Barons who care nothing about the Workers that they exploit and then toss aside like  so many used tissues. Remember the politicians who continue to sell you out for their 30 pieces of silver, and then tell you that it's for your own good. Remember, keep those thoughts close to your hearts. It is you, the workers, who can effect change. Remember, as I do, the days that were good to us, the days that they would have you believe that we never deserved. 
 Bless you all, and keep the country strong. Happy Labor Day, everyone.

-John Zaffino 


  1. "Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

    Keywords: "our country" and all those who have contributed to making this nation great. Like you, I wonder why this has been so easily forgotten, why the very backbone of America is considered expendable in face of more profit and far, far less quality coming from the hands of third world labor and production sources.

    On this Labor Day, I honor those who paved the way for each of us, their dedication and sacrifices.

  2. You, my friend, have a beautiful soul, and I will always love you for it. Despite the pain you suffered as a child growing up, you have turned into one hell of a lady. Your family is very luck to have you.

  3. Oh it's so complicated and you've so eloquently put into words what many of us feel in our gut - the America we knew is in ruins. When elected politicians exempt themselves from the very laws they create to effect change, we know the common man's time is up. And they create a new Benefit Corporation legal status for, what used to be, not-for-profits who had to balance out to zero. No longer. The politicians can raise as much money as they want and pay themselves; plus the 'donors' get a tax write off. Check it out. It's criminal, in my opinion, but I know no way to dig us out of this hole of hell.

  4. Exactly. It's no longer a matter of right or left. These pols, for the most part, are not who they profess to be. They do not represent the American People, and things continue to slide down hill. We need to turn them out and keep turning them out until we get a group who truly represent our best interests. You and I may not live long enough to see it, but I have faith that, one day, it will. Love you, my dear friend. I am so glad that we have you around.


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