Happy Labor Day

Celebrating Labor Day! It always a good time to give thanks for organized Labor, the people who brought us all the 5-day work week (as opposed to 6-7 days), the 40-hour standard work week (as opposed to 60+ which was once standard) and the ability to campaign for better working conditions.

My grandfather was one of those early union members, sacrificing sometimes, so that he and his co-worker brothers could have holiday time with family, or extra pay to compensate for time away. My grandmother groaned in the early days about his union wanting to put more away into his retirement account, when she “needed the money now” she told me, since raising 3 children is not cheap. Later in life, when he left her (and this world) after his battle with cancer, when she was 68 years old, she did not realize she would go on to live another 33 years after he passed away. She then felt grateful that others had the foresight to make sure there was some money put away, that she could live comfortably into her old age because the union had a good pension plan for widows of their workers.

Grandma, back in her day, did not have the right to work after she got married. I am not sure if it was because, during the depression, she worked at a job where it was not allowed to have a job if you were a married woman. No problem, Grandma thought, and she got married in secret, and did not tell her employer she had gotten married. (I’m so proud of her “civil disobedience” at the time.) Things went on just fine until she got pregnant and then started showing publicly. Scandal! Got pregnant while unmarried, her coworkers and boss must have thought! But no, she just did not believe the rules were just or correct, so she just disregarded them.

I am really proud of being her granddaughter, I must say. I sincerely hope I carry along a little of that rebellious and strong-willed spirit within me. She certainly has influenced my life in many ways, and if you keep reading my work, there will be more stories about her, especially in regards to politics and spirituality, life and love.


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