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Labor Day

Posted: September 4, 2017 10:15 a.m.
Updated: September 5, 2017 1:00 a.m.

Monday was Labor Day and we at the C-I hope everyone enjoyed a restful and well-deserved long weekend.

We also hope people will take a moment to reflect on the holiday and perhaps give a nod of thanks to those who made it possible.

It hasn’t been that long since people worked horrible hours in horrible conditions for horrible compensation. It hasn’t been that long since children labored in dim, dusty, unsafe factories, benefits like sick leave and vacation days were simply non-existent. Hurt at work? Rest assured you would not get short term disability benefits or workman’s compensation insurance payments. What you would get is a pink slip and a bum’s rush to the door.

Decent wages, safe working conditions, reasonable work hours, and yes, holidays such as the one you enjoyed Monday came about through hard fought battles by labor leaders and labor unions. And to us, that basic need for recourse against monolithic corporate power that was the basic founding bedrock of the labor movement is still needed and those battles are still being fought today.

Politicians talk a good game about making places such as South Carolina more “business friendly.” We certainly agree with that mindset. But we also know it’s not a “have your cake and eat it, too” world. “Business friendly” should not ever equate to “license to run roughshod over everyone and everything without any consequence whatsoever.”

On the other hand, we also can clearly see that special interests such as labor unions can get out of control with unrealistic demands. Obviously, it’s right and just to have recourse and protections against unfair labor practices and people should be paid a decent wage for the work they do. 

But it’s never OK to attempt to intimidate and coerce people to join an organization they don’t want to be a part of, no matter how noble said organization’s intentions are. And it’s never right to threaten the livelihoods of others to satisfy a political agenda. With a very few obvious exceptions, that goes for pretty much every cause and issue out there.

We hope people continue to keep in mind that at the end of the day, it really is all about checks and balances. 

In the meantime, we owe a debt of gratitude to those who fought and won the rights we have today.

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