Sunday, September 4, 2011

We built NY; Labor Day honors union workers' labor of love

Labor Day gets a bum rap as the summer's swan song. Beaches and white garments are off-limits again until Memorial Day, and students head back to their books.

But playtime isn't over. In fact, tomorrow we're celebrating our right to recess in the first place.

"The reason why we're barbecuing on Labor Day, and not working, is because of the unions," says Joshua B. Freeman, Queens College professor and author of "Working-Class New York: Life and Labor Since World War II."

"The great historical fights to limit the ability of employers to ask for ever more and pay us ever less — that was the union movement," he explains. "Even people who never belonged to a union benefit from that today."

Whatever their politics, employees from the smallest startup to billion-dollar corporations can thank the "rabble-rousers" for minimum wage, the 40-hour workweek and the two-day weekend — let alone holidays like Labor Day, which naturally originated in New York, the country's economic center.



  1. AND FOR THAT, I WILL SELL YOU OUT FOR A "LIVING WAGE", not a fair wage, not what you contracted for - why I tell you you shall have.

    I am invincible and you all know it! I lied, cheated and stole my way to the top, I pay people off every day of the week, congress, senators, judges. No one is beyond my reach - I will control it all, every trade before I am done.

    How much did this pile of shit puff piece cost us?

    General President
    Douglas J. McCarron

    Throughout his career, Doug McCarron has been known for combining innovative leadership and sound management practices with genuine concern for rank-and-file union members and unrepresented building trades workers.

    McCarron was first recognized throughout Southern California as a labor leader and a political activist. In 1994, his work in California was recognized nationally when he was named vice president of the UBC, which represents some 500,000 building trades and forest products workers throughout the United States and Canada.

    Since being elected General President in 1995, McCarron has undertaken the most extensive restructuring in the union’s nearly 130-year history, moving the organization to a regional structure that matches modern construction markets. McCarron and his leadership team were re-elected to five-year terms in 2000 and again in 2005.

    McCarron began his career as a member of the UBC in 1968, when he joined Local 1506 in Los Angeles. Working his way through the ranks of the union, he was elected president of the Southern California Conference of Carpenters in 1982 and president of the Los Angeles County District Council of Carpenters in 1983.

    As a prominent California labor leader, he was influential in pension fund reform, and he led an effort to consolidate and modernize the union’s operations throughout Southern California. In 1992 nearly 3,000 independent drywall strikers turned to McCarron and the union for help in ending their industry-wide strike and negotiating a historic first contract.

    McCarron has devoted his career to making sure that workers earn a living wage and decent benefits, that they have access to training, and that their workplaces are safe. He has worked closely with other construction industry leaders to encourage national cooperation to create jobs in a rapidly changing economy.

    In politics, he has sought to expand the union’s outreach to the leaders of both the Democratic and Republican parties.

    His foresight, vision, and leadership style have led industry leaders and national publications such as Business Week to refer to McCarron as a “new breed of labor leader.”



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