2017-09-06 / Features

Internet In Bloom: For The Layperson

By Ted J. Bloom

Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A CDCR law librarian and instructor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor.  His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com.Ted Bloom, MLS., MSEd., CPL.,CKMI., NP has been a published columnist in New York since 1999. A CDCR law librarian and instructor with two graduate degrees, some of his credentials include, creating and running a career preparation computer lab for at-risk youth through the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as being a NYS Notary Public, SUNY Communications Instructor, a YMCA Director and a Certified Krav Maga Instructor. His first book The Librarian's Guide to Employment in the Information Age is now available on Amazon.com.The origin of Labor Day is quite multifaceted and was created because of the numerous labor abuses present in the US, including rampant child labor use for long hours in horrid conditions.  Some records show that Peter J. McGuire, general secretary of the Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners and a cofounder of the American Federation of Labor, was first in suggesting a day to honor those "who from rude nature have delved and carved all the grandeur we behold."

But Peter McGuire's place in Labor Day history has not gone unchallenged. Many believe that Matthew Maguire, a machinist, not Peter McGuire, founded the holiday. Recent research seems to support the contention that Matthew Maguire, later the secretary of Local 344 of the International Association of Machinists in Paterson, N.J., proposed the holiday in 1882 while serving as secretary of the Central Labor Union in New York. What is clear is that the Central Labor Union adopted a Labor Day proposal and appointed a committee to plan a demonstration and picnic.  Later in 1893 a massive recession hit outside of Chicago where the Pullman Railroad Company employed many thousands yet laid-off hundreds of workers and cut wages deeply.  In response on May 11, 1894, four thousand Pullman employees went on strike.

Furthermore, on June 26, the American Railroad Union, led by Eugene V. Debs, called for a supporting boycott. One hundred and fifty thousand railway workers in 27 states joined the strike, refusing to operate Pullman trains. The huge halt to the rail industry and the interruption of U.S. mail cars set off a national crisis. Congress and President Grover Cleveland, looking to save face, rushed through a bill declaring Labor Day a national holiday. President Cleveland signed it on June 28, 1894. He was backed by the AFL (American Federation of Labor), which threw the first official Labor Day parade that year.  Over thirty strikers died in a bloody, weapon filled strike--a precursor to the Haymarket Square riot of 1886, where more men, including police, died fighting for working conditions that many may take for granted such as: The eight-hour workday, lunch breaks, weekends off, overtime pay, health benefits, sick leave and vacation time.

Most of the above information was gotten from: www.dol.gov/general/laborday/history. 

However, with our nation's annual median income at about $30,000.00 with corporations and our stock markets reporting record high profits, one must wonder why US wages stagnate?  Could it be that organized labor is at its weakest point in history with private sector union membership at only 6.4%?  Please see www.census.gov for more details.

Moreover, the union membership rate—the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of unions—was 10.7 percent in 2016, down 0.4 percentage point from 2015, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions, at 14.6 million in 2016, declined by 240,000 from 2015. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers.  Please see: www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/union2.pdf for more labor facts.  For example, union members make more money: In 2016 the median weekly earnings of nonunion workers ($802) were 80 percent of earnings for workers who were union members ($1,004).

So on this Labor Day where can one go online to find union jobs?  The best way is to use your local state employment website, such as www.statejobsny.com.  Good luck and be patient job hunting.

Please feel free to send your Internet resource suggested URLs to me at: AuthorNotary@gmail.com or courtesy of the Queens Gazette and they will forward them.  Thank you.

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