A Happy Labor Day—Really


(Photo: AP/Lynne Sladky)
Protesters, part of the national Fight for 15 movement, applaud in support of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour at a church in Miami in April.

Harold Meyerson. The American Prospect

Labor Day is upon us, marking an end to summertime, when the livin’ is easy and Americans take their well-earned vacations. Well, some Americans. About 56 percent of American workers took weeklong vacations last summer—a new low-point in a steady decline that began in early 1980s, when more than 80 percent took weeklong vacations.

That depressing bit of news is of a piece, alas, with everything else we know about the declining fortunes of American workers. As the Economic Policy Institute documented in report released Wednesday, productivity rose by 72.2 percent and median hourly compensation (that’s wages plus benefits) by just 8.7 percent between 1973 and 2014. As the National Employment Law Project reported in a study released the following day, real median hourly wages declined by 4 percent from 2009 to 2014. Continue reading

Its a long way from Delano to Salinas- a review

Cesar Chavez and Duane Campbell. circa 1972

by Duane Campbell- a review of a review.

The Steve Early review below  is an important  essay on  some of the books on  Cesar Chavez and the UFW.

I disagree with Early on using Miriam Pawley as a major source.  She came to California in about 2001.  She really knows little about the struggle in the UFW, except for having interviewed people. Her interviews are excellent resources.  Her listening to UFW executive committee  tapes began in about 1972. I have read her book and listened to her talks. She is a major conveyer of the Chavez as “crazy” thesis.  This is not a  plausible for much of the time of the UFW. Her own  research is on the current status of the farm worker support organizations conducted in Chavez’s name- not of the union. I will leave that debate up to others.

To me there is a major missing story in these books.  For those who worked with, in and around the UFW, we know that there was a major issue of the rise of Chicano/Mexicano self determination and  labor union activism.  When someone writes the story – as if Chicano self determination was not an important issue, they clearly missed that  point.  Continue reading