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Editorial: Labor Day

Posted: August 29, 2018 1:00 p.m.
Updated: August 31, 2018 1:00 a.m.

Labor Day weekend, the last long weekend bookending the summer, is upon us. We hope everyone enjoys this wonderful -- and uniquely American -- holiday.

We also hope everyone will take a moment to honor and thank those who made it possible.

It’s sometimes difficult to realize that much of what we enjoy today is still relatively new. It hasn’t been that long since people – from preteen children to ambulatory elderly -- had to work horrible hours, in miserable, dangerous conditions, for miniscule compensation.

Forget a day off, much less a vacation. Injured on the job? Good luck keeping that job, miserable as it was.

Decent wages, safe working conditions, reasonable work hours, and yes, holidays such as the upcoming long weekend, came about through long, hard fought battles by labor leaders and labor unions.

We may not like or trust the incarnations of many of those organizations these days, but we do believe the basic need for meaningful recourse against monolithic corporate power is still needed today, perhaps now more than ever.

Too many of our politicians love to talk a good game about making South Carolina more “business friendly.” They tout our status as a “right to work” state. And we do agree with much of that, at least in theory. But, “right to work” should never be carte blanche for businesses and corporations to do as they please, especially when it comes to the way they treat their employees.

Obviously, it’s right and just to have recourse and protections against unfair labor practices; people should be paid a decent wage for the work they do. Indeed, reasonable work/life balance should be a no-brainer at all levels.

Unfortunately, we also see that special interests too often make unrealistic demands of businesses and workers. 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. It’s never OK to threaten the livelihoods of others to satisfy a political agenda. That goes for pretty much every cause out there.

Our American way of life is largely made possible by checks and balances, negotiation, compromise and ultimately, by a healthy dose of morality and common sense thrown into the mix.

We should never lose sight of that.


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