Reflections & Resources on Labour Day

 In recent decades, anti-union efforts have not focussed overtly on race but on resentment toward public-sector workers, such as air-traffic controllers fired by the thousands by Ronald Reagan.   Photograph from Bettmann / Getty via The New Yorker

In recent decades, anti-union efforts have not focussed overtly on race but on resentment toward public-sector workers, such as air-traffic controllers fired by the thousands by Ronald Reagan.

Photograph from Bettmann / Getty via The New Yorker

Perhaps it doesn't need to be mentioned, but we will still reiterate that the workplace is a predominant stressor for many. It's the case wether it's the environment in which we work, the workload, the commute, or the emotional or physicall toll of the work itself. So labour has a direct impact on our health, which is why we have compiled reflections & resources on this Labour Day for you to empower yourself in your work. 

This is in recognition of the detrimental effects of unemployment and poverty on the public’s health;1,2. Also in realising further that the health status of populations is determined in large degree by income and living standards;3. And recognizing that union efforts to increase living standards of members has a positive effect on living standards of all workers;4. Lastly, in noting that the decline in the number of unionized workers over the past 20 years has been associated with a decline in average real wages for working people in this country;5, consequently causing a decline in the quality of life & health. 

Protecting labour rights is protecting human rights & public health


Commentary on Then & Now

ON YOUR DAY OFF, LEARN ABOUT THE WORK OF OTHERS

For roughly five years, The New York Times has profiled people with a variety of jobs in its Vocations column. Some of those jobs are unusual, some are mundane, but all are performed by people with stories to tell. For Labor Day, they are revsiting selections.

 

Trump rolls back worker safety rules

The Trump administration has rolled back worker safety protections affecting underground mine safety inspections, offshore oil rigs and line speeds in meat processing plants, among others, via Politico

 

A Labor Day Reflection on Unions, Race, and Division

Today, anti-union efforts largely center on stoking resentment toward public-sector employees. But, for much of American history, attacks on labor focussed on exploiting racial divisions among workers, via The New Yorker

 

The Shaming of Geoffrey Owens and the Inability to See Actors as Laborers, To

If you haven't seen the outrageous humiliation that Fox News (certainly not surprising) is trying to cause, see the article they have yet to take down here & then read Michael Schulman's comments on The New Yorker.


Resources

Did you know that there are innumerable benefits to unionising your workplace, from increasing access to better healthcare to protecting your basic labour rights? Organizing a union in your workplace is about getting more rights and more power. Thousands of working people—all across the country and in all kinds of jobs—organise unions every year because unions are the best way to secure the things you care about.

Here are resources below to support your workplace and colleagues in starting a union if you do not currently have one.
The CWA*  |   AFLCIO   |   Your Rights to Unionise   |   DSA

*The CWA doesn't just work in communications and information industries, but also in the news media, the airlines, broadcast and cable television, public service, higher education and health care, manufacturing, and public safety and law enforcement and more.


References

  1. American Public Health Association Resolution No. 6811(PP): Health and Poverty. APHA Public Policy Statements, 1948-present, cumulative. Washington, DC: APHA, current volume.
  2. American Public Health Association Resolution No. 8810: Full and Equitable Employment. APHA Public Policy Statements, 1948-present, cumulative. Washington, DC: APHA, current volume.
  3. Anson J. Mortality and living conditions: relative mortality levels and their relation to the physical quality of life in urban populations. Soc Sci Med. 1988;27(9):901-910.
  4. Pfeffer J, Ross J. Unionization and income inequality. Industrial Relations. 1981;20(3):271-285.
  5. Economic Notes, Labor Research Association, January/February 1988, May/June 1989, May/June 1991, and September/October 1991.
Almila Kakinc-DoddComment