Labor for This

I grew up in the South, and here “union” is a dirty word. Though I was not taught so by my parents, I grew up thinking that being a part of a union was about as ethical as being part of the mob, and that in many senses it functioned in the same way – security, inflation of wages, and so forth. I have come to understand that while unions have problems (most notably teachers’ unions), they have their advantages. It does strike me as odd that all states, especially a state so openly hostile to union activity as NC, has no problem celebrating Labor Day.

Many will have the day off tomorrow, squeezing in one last trip to the lake or to the beach. Those who get PTO are the white collar workers. Those who are afforded no such luxury tend to be the hourly workers, who don’t get paid time off for federal holidays and for whom things such as illnesses more than likely present a bit of a conundrum. When I am out tomorrow I’ll try to make direct eye contact and genuinely mean it when I say “thank you,” to whomever it is that I engage with who happens to be working as I am out and about – not because I am doing them a favor but because they are a person, and I should never, though I may in my autopilot mode seem to at times, fail to acknowledge that.

Paolo Freire wrote: “To affirm that men and women are persons and as persons should be free, and yet to do nothing tangible to make this affirmation a reality is a farce.”

Do you have any thoughts on how best to put this affirmation in motion, yielding tangible results? I feel it is the most terrible, beautiful calling each of us faces.

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