Happy Labor Day; San Jose Inside Returns Tuesday

The first Monday of September means a day off work (for some), the end of summer,  return to school and the start of a season busier than the one before it.

But Labor Day claims a history full of violence and victory, a "workingmen's holiday" first celebrated by the New York City-based Central Labor Union in 1882. It became a federal holiday four years later.

While created to observe the social and economic contributions of the average American worker, it's also a reminder of the struggles faced by the labor force.

Minimum wage has fallen far behind inflation, leaving low-wage earners unable to afford the cost of living, especially in wealthy regions like the Bay Area. While the tech boom has brought prosperity to the Silicon Valley, it's also created an underclass of mostly minority workers who make paltry wages and few benefits.

Here's a history of the holiday, courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor. And a history of American labor unions, also via the DOL.

San Jose Inside will return with new stories Tuesday.

4 Comments

  1. 100% of the occupants of the house on the corner, a childless couple, were registered to vote in 2000. By 2014, they have had eight children, meaning only 20% of the occupants have the right to vote. SJI investigates and reports the plight of the disenfranchised underclass living there.

    It is not prosperity that has created this area’s underclass, but the unlawful invasion of hundreds of thousands of unskilled, desperate foreigners who’ve caused a surplus of labor and devalued a huge segment of the jobs market. You folks at SJI better count your blessings that the foreign invaders have been so deficient in the English language, for should the day come when our shores are teeming with England’s exiles, the going wage for news writers will plummet to the minimum, and you folks will become part of that underclass. Then let’s see who you blame.

    • > You folks at SJI better count your blessings that the foreign invaders have been so deficient in the English language, for should the day come when our shores are teeming with England’s exiles, the going wage for news writers will plummet to the minimum, and you folks will become part of that underclass.

      Mr. Finfan:

      It’s not clear to me that the “folks at SJI” think that their endeavors are a “job”, or that their compensation is “wages”.

      They don’t seem to have much engagement with market economics or the market system.

      Their approach to what they do seems to be more like that of “hobbyists”, and their “hobby” is doing good and creating a “hope and change” social utopia.

      If SJI doesn’t make a profit, or pay “living wages”, who cares. They’re changing the world.

      They’ll just live off of their trust fund or their inheritance.

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