Unions and Labor and Labor Day

I’m rethinking what this blog might be. I love writing for you, and I’m curious about what you find interesting and useful. Today’s post is a new one, though I am still reposting old favorites for the rest of this week. If you have ideas about what you’d like to see in this space, please drop me an email!

Labor Day is more than a three-day weekend.

Like most Americans, I usually think of Labor Day as the unofficial end of summer, the time when the days start to get a little shorter and you can feel a little fall breeze if you really pay attention. Cookouts, pool parties, maybe an end-of-summer watermelon.

This year, though, hundreds of my colleagues and friends are on strike. My social media feeds are full of pictures of writers and actors I know picketing in New York and Los Angeles, day after day, in all weather.

Many of them are picketing because their livelihoods are on the line. All of them are picketing because other people’s livelihoods are on the line. 

That blows me away. All of these people, many of them are making just a reasonable middle-class living from the movies and TV shows they work on, are sacrificing their individual security for the greater good. So that everyone in their union can look forward to, and rely on, a future where their craft, talent, experience, and effort are fairly rewarded by the companies profiting from their labor.

This willingness to show up for each other to try to improve the wellbeing of the community is really moving to me. Jamie Lee Curtis (to choose one example) doesn’t need this new deal with the movie and TV studios, but she knows how crucial it is for all of the hardworking writers and actors around her. Martin Sheen doesn’t have to put himself on the line, but he wants fair working conditions and compensation for his colleagues—those he knows and those he will never meet.

You may not be a member of a union. I’m not. But I am moved by this collective action to create a better, more equitable world, and this Labor Day, I’m thinking about what action I can take in the same spirit.

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