UnderCover Waitress: Happy Labor Day?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day?

Quick post today, Monday, September 3, 2012. It is Labor Day today.

How many of you are working today? How about tonight?

Labor Day is supposed to honor the laborers, the workforce. Labor Day is supposed to honor the clerk behind the counter of your favorite shop; instead, the shop owner decides that due to the holiday he should be open to make sales. Labor Day is supposed to honor the hard-working waitress; instead, she will likely take more tables today. The restaurant owner decided to stay open to feed holiday crowds.

The only people who get to celebrate Labor Day are those who are not laboring for a living. Because it is a federal holiday, federal employees are lucky today and get to celebrate. But if you are a laborer for a private employer, you may not even realize it was a holiday today. (Until you get home and there is no mail...)

While Labor Day is observed on the first Monday in September, it is also called May Day. On May 1, 1886, industrial workers took to the streets in many major American cities demanding an 8 hour workday. Back then, "job creators" would claim that they could not afford to stay in business if workers didn't work fourteen hour days.

Today, "job creators" claim they can not afford to stay in business if they have to pay workers a living wage. In reality, "job creators" can't afford to stay in business because nobody has any money to spend, because their "job creating" employers pay them dirt.

Chicago workers were especially vigilant in their efforts to help the laborer. According to the Hot Labor Library in San Francisco, California:

At the factory gates of McCormick Harvester Co., where a strike meeting was being held on May 3, policemen swung their clubs and then fired into the running strikers....The speaker at the meeting was August Spies, a member of the Central Labor Union, which had supported the May First strike. He was also a member of a militant labor group that was at the time influential in the Chicago Labor movement. Six workers were killed that day and many wounded... 

...[Labor leaders in Chicago were] rounded up and thrown in jail. Eight of these finally came to trial--Albert Parsons, August Spies, Louis Lingg, George Engel, Michael Schwab, Samuel Fieldon, Adolph Fischer and Oscar Neebe. The presiding judge helped pick the jury which was strongly anti-labor and hostile to the defendants. The trial lasted 63 days. All of the men were declared guilty of murder. All were given death sentences, except Neebe who got a 15-year prison sentence. 

A nationwide defense campaign won wide popular favor...At the last moment, as a result of widespread protests, the Governor of Illinois commuted to life imprisonment the sentences of Fieldon and Schwab. It was reported that Lingg "committed suicide" in his cell.

On November 11, Albert Parsons, August Spies, Adolph Fischer and George Engel were hanged. On the gallows Spies cried, "There will be a time when our silence will be more powerful than the voices you strangle today." ...

I do hope that Spies was correct. Today, however, too many laborers go to work on Labor Day so the elite can celebrate a day off from work with shopping and eating out.

I highly recommend reading about Labor Day both at May Day, International Worker's Day and The History of May Day. When you get back from work tonight, that is.


  1. "Job creators"... the two words put together sound like it was something devised by a focus group.

  2. Lol! I love your comments. Am thinking "job creator" was the "brain"-child of a, say... marketing chimp? :)

    1. What happened to the 8 hour work day? My manager looks at me like Im stupid because I do not want to work 12-14 hour days with a 30 min break- I do not want to work them at all!! Even with an hour break! What has happened to the American work day? I feel like I must be in a time warp. I went to work waiting tables about a year ago to help my kids with school-It is as if TX decided to make it legal to abuse everyone like they used to the ilegal alien workers from Mexico. I mean I'm looked at as a slacker for needing to void my bladder after being on my feet bearing weight for 6 hours with no break- what gives?

    2. You are awake. ;) Too many low-wage workers buy into this "I have to do this for the business" "I just love this restaurant" or loyalty to some manager/boss who is taking advantage of them. Sorry for your pain.

      I may get slammed for preaching politics too much, but labor and politics are wed and there is no divorce option. The leaders of the Republican Party over the last 30 years have rolled back progress and given businesses every advantage over the worker that they today "enjoy." If you want your government to have your back, you must vote Democrat in November of 2012.

    3. I know it's really late for me to be replying to this, but I totally agree. My bosses have expected me to work 60+ hrs/week before for literally weeks on end with no days off except Monday, when we are closed. We are never allowed Christmas Eve off, not even Thanksgiving Day! Last year I was "in the hospital" on Thanksgiving. I don't normally lie, but I had been working over 45 hrs/wk and my coworker was leaving for two months, pretty much leaving me as the ONLY server, thus the 60+ hour weeks. I needed a vacation!

      Even with them honestly thinking I was in the hospital having a biopsy on my BRAIN, when I came back they STILL had the nerve to mention how they "let me have Thanksgiving off" and how I "just didn't want to work" and was "lazy". I was working 10-12 hours, six days in a row, with a single ten-minute lunch break, which is not even legal. But I put up with it and, like an idiot, still work there because of a felony on my record that leaves me with little choice in the matter (thanks a ton, ex-hubby!)

      American workers often slave away just as hard as people in other countries. Forced to work 12, 14 hour days, having wages stolen or time not reported correctly resulting in lost wages, emotional and verbal abuse, inappropriate work conditions (too hot/cold, not allowed to wear proper clothing for the weather, no bathroom, too bright/dark), all sorts of crap. The customers are allowed to walk all over you and there is no respect from the employer. It's disgusting.


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