The Surreal Estate

Perspectives on Tenant Organizing from the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board

In Honor of Labor Day

We’re back in the office after a restful three day weekend. Labor Day is now celebrated as an unofficial end of summer, but in reality it is much more than that. Celebrated on the first Monday of September, Labor Day is dedicated to the social and economic well-being of the American worker. It is a product of the labor movement and constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country. (http://www.dol.gov)

Labor Day is particularly poignant this year as certain members of the Republican Party continue to chip away at collective bargaining rights. And Eric Cantor has demonstrated a real misunderstanding of what this holiday is about, tweeting that we honor the hard work of business owners.

Labor Day is obviously not about business owners or upper management. First celebrated in New York City by the Central Labor Union, it is about the power of workers to join together and demand better working conditions FROM business owners and upper management. It is about the struggle against the power structure that thinks only in terms of maximizing profit.

As tenant organizers, we focus on a specific issue: affordable housing at risk. We are not labor organizers. But the central tenet is the same: we are more powerful when we join together. We are more powerful than whoever is oppressing when we join together.

This is one of my favorite songs/poems. It’s a beautiful tribute to early women organizers. Take a listen!

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2 responses to “In Honor of Labor Day

  1. Stewart Weaver September 4, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Great post for Labor Day; great song for Labor Day. Thanks.

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