President Obama has been using his executive power to try to promote good workplace practices among federal contractors. But at the same time, his administration has been looking to restructure federal agencies with the hope of saving money by downgrading the job quality of large numbers of positions.
There are plenty of things wrong with the labor movement. It can be overly bureaucratic. There are corrupt officials in many unions. But there should be no doubt that the country is much better off as a result of the labor movement and prospects for progressive change would be brighter if it were stronger.
Labor Day is a time for honoring the working people of this country. It is a time to celebrate the accomplishments of the activists and organizers who fought for the 40-hour work week, occupational safety protection and other workplace rights. These working people resisted the oligarchs of their day, fought for a more responsive democracy, and built the middle class.