Labor Day is the first Monday in September. In many other countries May 1 is celebrated as the day to honor workers for their contributions. No matter where, workers make things work.
In recent years workers all over the globe have suffered setbacks in wages, working conditions and rights. The reasons include the depressed state of the economy, jobs being outsourced to low wage countries and changes in technology.
In the United States people are looking at the low wages of workers in the fast food industry such as McDonalds and the big box stores such as Walmart. There are differents views of what to do about it. There is agreement that the jobs do not pay enough to support a family. Many of them pay about $8.00 an hour.
Should the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour go up to $9.00 an hour as President Obama suggests? Or should it go to $15.00 an hour as advocates and workers think it should?
Should the wages go up based on strikes and other actions at the workplace? Or should they go up because legislatures pass laws that make certain companies pay a “living wage?”
The struggle for jobs also pits American workers against workers in foreign lands. It pits immigrant workers against native-born Americans.
In this edition of The Times in Plain English we review some of the articles we published about working conditions. We would like readers to honor workers by reading the articles. We ask you to think about how life in the factories in Bangladesh and the fast food restaurants in San Diego can be improved.