Quotes To Ponder On Labor

JFK on labor

Labor has been beaten and bloodied since the Regan presidency. For some strange reason working people voted for Reagan. For some strange reason working people voted for Trump. If they ever thought a billionaire would help working people, I hope they got that out of their systems.

In our lives for almost all of us, things come to us through working for them. It is strange that in a country founded on supposed equality, labor has taken such a back seat. Among all the things that are wrong with today’s America one of the worst is the country’s disrespect for labor and laboring people. Since all we consume comes through labor, labor should be treated with the utmost respect.

With that here are a few quotes concerning labor to ponder this holiday:  (thanks to http://www.notable-quotes.com/l/labor_unions_quotes.html

The only effective answer to organized greed is organized labor.

THOMAS DONAHUE, Report to the Convention from the AFL-CIO Executive Council

The labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.

MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., speech to AFL-CIO, Dec. 11, 1961

With all their faults, trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man, than any other association of men.

CLARENCE DARROW, The Railroad Trainman, Nov. 1909

Too few Americans know labor history and how they have benefited from the efforts of unions. We have a 40-hour work week, defined benefits, higher wages, paid vacations and sick leave, largely as the result of union activity in the 20th century. We built a middle-class society in the period after World War II, also a period when the work force was, compared with today, heavily unionized.

KEN BERNSTEIN, “No unions: Government by the rich, for the rich”, CNN, Feb. 24, 2011

To a right-winger, unions are awful. Why do right-wingers hate unions? Because collective bargaining is the power that a worker has against the corporation. Right-wingers hate that.

JANEANE GAROFALO, Majority Report, Jun. 3, 2005

Join the union, girls, and together say, “Equal pay for equal work.”

SUSAN B. ANTHONY, The Revolution, March 18, 1869

You know, when I was in college, there was a big debate: Do unions raise wages? Well, with regard to industrial unions, there were arguments back and forth — international competition. It is now clear, I think, that whether or not you think unions raised wages 50 years ago, the absence of unions and their weakness that is inflicted by anti-union public policy depresses wages. The fact is that people who are not represented, in the service industries in particular, are the victims of policies which depress their wages.

BARNEY FRANK, speech, Jan. 3, 2007

To be free, the workers must have choice. To have choice they must retain in their own hands the right to determine under what conditions they will work.

SAMUEL GOMPERS, “The Worker and the Eight-hour Workday”, American Federationist: Official Magazine of the American Federation of Labor

Just a few quotes to whet your curiosity on the value of the organized labor movement to democracy and our way of life. If the capitalists could get away with it we would all be working for nothing. 

At this critical juncture in our nation’s history, the power of organized labor to offset the power of VERY organized money – from the Kochs to the NRA and a thousand PACs in between – has never been more needed. Whoever the Democratic candidate is in 2020, the role of labor must be a central plank in the platform.

samuel gompers what does labor want

About Dave Bradley

retired in West Liberty
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2 Responses to Quotes To Ponder On Labor

  1. glenn Leach says:

    Although a labor supporter, I found the comments attributed to Susan B. Anthony to be a bit too contemporary in language and context for 1869. I checked the March 18th edition of the Revolution and found many interesting items, including reference to a female lawyer in North English, bits about two female sea captains, and a soldier in Napoleon’s army, but not the referenced quote. Perhaps I missed it, and you can find that edition at: https://archive.org/details/revolution-1869-03-18/page/n13


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