Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Labor Movement: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend.

You may have seen bumper stickers on vehicles as you drive down the highway that read, "The Labor Movement: The Folks Who Brought You the Weekend."

What exactly does that mean? Well, in a nutshell, it means that many workplace benefits that we all take for granted were issues that were fought for and won by organized labor.

Consistently over the years, it has been labor unions that have waged the battle (and it has always been a battle) for improvements for workers--whether in a collective bargaining agreement or through legislation. These include: the non-working weekend; child labor laws; the 40-hour work week; overtime premium pay; contractualized tuition reimbursement; employer-paid health insurance and disability insurance; paid vacation leave; leaves of absence; guaranteed pensions and retirement; health and safety legislation; child care and elder care provisions; paid holidays; due process through a grievance and arbitration procedure; a wage scale with escalator clauses; job security; workplace non-discrimination; and other major intangibles like dignity and respect in the workplace.

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