Saturday, August 31, 2013

Labour Day News

A little off the usual track for my blogs, but ... it is Labour Day Monday, and in the U.S. there's a group of workers inspired by the idea that a person with a full-time job should be able to escape poverty.

Just in time for Labour Day,  the New York Times' Economix pages included In New Wave of Walkouts, Fast-Food Strikers Gain Momentum;
As a wave of one-day walkouts by fast-food workers gains momentum in a push for a $15 hourly wage, the movement has been notable both for the prominence of young faces and for the audacity of their demand.
The next day on the same site Jared Bernstein's "The Audacity of the Fight for Higher Wages" replied;
...corporate profits were again up near record highs as a share of national income while compensation fell again and is now at the lowest share it has been since the year I was born (1955 — ancient history, I know).
And yet, what I mostly heard about this was about the audacity and the economic illiteracy of the strikers.
The Canadian Encyclopedia communicates the relevant of Toronto, and it's newspapers in the formation of Labour Day.

...history provides a useful perspective on a time when working people had to fight to work less than 12 hours a day. The "Nine-Hour Movement" began in Hamilton, Ontario, and then spread to Toronto where its demands were taken up by the Toronto Printer's Union.
In 1869 the union sent a petition to their employers requesting a weekly reduction in hours per week to 58, placing itself in the forefront of the industrialized world in the fight for shorter hours....
The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printers' strike led to an annual celebration. In 1882 American labour leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labour festivals in Toronto. Inspired, he returned to New York and organized the first American "labour day" on September 5 of the same year. Throughout the 1880s pressure built in Canada to declare a national labour holiday and on July 23, 1894 the government of Sir John Thompson passed a law making Labour Day official. 

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