The indignity of labor

Holiday, schmoliday: The trash crews are on the job.

It’s Labor Day, but trash collection continues as scheduled.

This delights the neighbor kids, who jump up and down and shriek at the trash truck working our cul-de-sac until the driver toots his horn a couple of times.

I don’t know how much fun the trash guys are having. But I applaud them for their generosity to a couple of little girls.

We’re told that it’s easy to find a job these days. But what kind of a job? How much does it pay? What are the benefits? Is there a future in it? Will you need more than one of these jobs to make ends meet?

Our cul-de-sac does pretty well for itself. We work for Sandia National Labs, the University of New Mexico, the U.S. Postal Service, and local government. One loser scribbles nonsense for a couple bike mags, but every good neighborhood needs a bad example.

But I expect we all know a few people who aren’t eating quite so high off the hog.

Without even breaking a light sweat I can think of one colleague who hasn’t been paid for a few months while his corporate masters hunt for new suckers … er, investors. They didn’t ask if he’d work for free during the search. They just quit paying him. The work, of course, arrives as per usual.

Another quit a job he hated, only to go back to it for some reason. I expect it had something to do with paying the bills.

I’m a geezer and long since gone from the job market. My little bit of business doesn’t show up on anyone’s statistical radar. But I still identify with the working class, though I don’t work and have no class, and so I agitate, however feebly, on their behalf.

Thus, here are a few Labor Day notes from around the Innertubes. Chime in with your own notions in comments.

And remember, when you’re smashing the State, keep a smile on your lips and a song in your heart.

• One job is not enough. From The New York Times.

• Strike! From The Nation.

• General strike! Also from The Nation.

• A different approach to collective bargaining. From The American Prospect.


9 Responses to “The indignity of labor”

  1. Pat O'Brien Says:

    They just had an anniversary in Bisbee to remember what happens when the company controls the government. When it comes to supporting workers, I try to make good decision where I spend my money. An example is shopping at a grocery store that has union employees instead of the damn walmart.

  2. SAO’ Says:

  3. silas little Says:

    “i dreamed i saw Joe Hill
    alive as you or me…”

  4. debby511 Says:

    I actually managed to find a new software developer job this year, despite my age and having been out of the field for two years. One of my motorcycle friends works there and that got my foot in the door, but I still had to study hard to pass the interviews.

    Regular paychecks and real health insurance are two very good things to have, especially when you find out you have some serious health issues. Retirement number 3 will have to wait until I’m old enough for Medicare (if it still exists by then).

  5. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    I had a tough time explaining to an Italian why the US “celebrates” (if you can call it that these days) its workers today instead of May 1 like pretty much everyone else. All I could think of was that May 1 must have been “too socialistic” for the capitalist authorities in the USA? I’m sure Don the Con will have something profound to tweet about it today, amirite?

    • DownhillBill Says:

      We don’t need no stinkin’ Commie holiday here! I thought everyone knew that. I do take the opportunity every May 1 to send my most right wing friend a link to a performance or 2 of the “Internationale” for his erudition.

      And yeah, I’m sure we’ll be so fortunate as to be treated to some words of “wisdom” from the exalted windbag who’s probably never done an honest day’s actual work in his life.

      Shoes for industry, comrades!

  6. Tony Geller Says:

    A nice collection all in one place. And bonus track

  7. Hurben Says:

    The glorious Hello Sailor.

    Graham managed his old mother’s book shop just around the corner from my house, Wonderful man, died of a heart attack a few years ago.

  8. khal spencer Says:

    I plum forgot Monday was Labor Day. Wuz down in North Carolina visiting with my bro Rich, as his significant other Veronique threw him a 60th b’day party and most all of his brothers and his sister descended on the place surreptitiously. As the Japanese said at Pearl Harbor, it was Tora, Tora, Tora. I asked Rich if he had to work on Monday and he looked at me kinda quizzically and said “my job might be tough, but at least they give me Labor Day off”. Duh..

    Got home and decided to forgo the morning ride yesterday in honor of jet lag and mental cobwebs (one has to be somewhat alert to stay out of the way of Santa Fe’s speeding and texting drivers). So made a pot of coffee and did some bike fiddling. Rather than pump out for a new subcompact crank, I found an old but excellent shape XT derailleur in the parts box. Put it on the CAAD5 with its ancient 9 spd Dura Ace brifters and put a 11-32 cassette on a spare set of wheels. Worked like a charm. I’ll have to swap out the 11 for a 12 cog. Presto, low gears. Now, have to see if that derailleur shifts with my 12-28 cassette.

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