We have a “Labor Day” as a national holiday because unions decided to riot and pressure Congress and President Grover Cleveland to bend to their will.
Unions continue to do the same thing today.
Labor Day is not only a time of reflection on labor issues centuries ago, but it is also a time to inform and educate ourselves and others about Labor issues today.
No better time to talk about the most important 21st Century Civil Rights fight in Labor today:
The struggle to fully Repeal The Davis Bacon Act, a racist Jim Crow Law.
How very ironic indeed that labor unions pressured government into enacting a national Labor Day, even as they were and remain guilty of perpetuating extreme racism in labor practices.
Racism is legally defined as a doctrine that holds to the belief there are “racial differences which produce inherent superiority”. Of course, reasonable individuals realize such a belief is myth rather than fact.
However, slavery of Africans in American was created and sustained on the basis of such a doctrine.
The same was true of the Jim Crow Laws which were passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration and other activities of newly-freed slaves.
Today, the racism is still very much a reality in American. It exists in two ways:
Institutional (Systemic) and Individual.
There will always be individuals in the world who believe they are superior due to their ethnic identity. Individual racism is demonstrated by people of every ethnicity and manifests itself in a variety of ways, but never through government sanctioning of individual acts inspired by racist concepts or beliefs.
The term Black Codes is used most often to refer to legislation passed by Southern states at the end of the Civil War to control the labor, migration and other activities of newly-freed slaves.
However, there is still a very powerful form of institutional racism in American today. One that is, in fact, sanctioned by government:
The Davis Bacon Act of 1931.
The Davis Bacon Act was specifically created in response to the competition Black non union workers presented to white only union construction unions.
The Bill was a direct consequence of the dogma or doctrine of racism, as it intentionally excluded Black Workers from competing in a free market society.
81 years later, the Davis Bacon Act is still institutionalized racism.
While many Congressional members and Senatorial leaders may not be educated about the genesis of the Davis Bacon Act and, therefore, do not intend to be racist in their support of it, racism remains the outcome. Even if not the intent.
Please celebrate “Labor Day” by standing for labor freedom. More importantly, by being a modern day abolitionist against institutional racism!
Take a moment and write your Congressman or Congresswoman, demanding support of a full Repeal of the Davis Bacon Act!