By Michell K. McIntyre, Director of NCL’s Special Project on Wage Theft
Labor Day, a day often thought of as the last hurrah for summer and last chance for a cook out. This Labor Day, while spending the day at the pool or hanging out barbecuing with friends, please take a moment to think about the struggles of working Americans and hopefully thank one too.
In some cases, these workers are the quiet heroes of our lives: police officers, firefighters, EMTs, nurses, & teachers; and in other cases they’re the people who take care of our loved ones: nurses, home care workers, and domestic workers. They build our cars, bridges, and buildings.
They should be honored, but this year they have been under attack in nearly all parts of the country. No place was it more apparent than in Wisconsin, where Gov. Scott Walker and the Wisconsin State Legislature demonized public workers – teachers, firefighters and police officers – as “thugs”, “failing” and “under-performing” and looked to strip public servants of their hard-earned benefits. On August 5 when a gunman opened fire at a Sikh temple, police officer Lt. Brian Murphy attempted to stop the carnage and when additional help arrived he waved off medical assistance and insisted that they take care of the wounded first. He’s a union member.
Thankfully, the year hasn’t been all bad, and there have been some bright spots: after looking to New York’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights the California legislature is currently looking to pass a similar bill, the U.S. Department of Labor proposed a new rule to provide Fair Labor Standards Act protections to over 2 million home care workers and Senator Tom Harkin (IA) and Congressman George Miller (CA-7) introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2012 that would raise the federal minimum wage and the federal tipped minimum wage.
As a consumer, you can support the actions of thousands of hardworking Americans by buying American-made and union-made products. Check out the list below and try to serve some union-made treats this Labor Day.
|Doritos||Oscar Meyer||Anheuser Busch|
|Crunch & Munch||Hebrew National||Busch|
|Corn Nuts||Ball Park||Icehouse|
|Kraft snack products||Sausages & Brats||Michelob|
|Snyder of Berlin||Armour||Molson|
|Heinz ketchup||Butterball||Coke products|
|French’s mustard||Healthy Choice|
|Land O’Lakes butter||Tyson||Welch’s|
|Open Pitt BBQ sauces||Minute Maid|
|Pace salsa & picante sauce|