‘Dear OB Rag’ From Lorena Gonzalez, Head of Labor Council: “In praise of the American worker”

by on September 1, 2012 · 6 comments

in Economy, History, Labor, San Diego

Dear OB Rag,

 I wanted to take a moment before the holiday weekend to wish you a happy Labor Day. This is our opportunity each year to celebrate the contributions of workers that make our communities strong and our country great.

 I’m proud to have the opportunity each day to advocate for workers who too often just don’t get the appreciation they deserve. I wanted to share with you my Labor Day message  that appeared in [Friday’s] newspaper, and I hope to see you on Monday at our annual Labor Day breakfast!

In solidarity,

Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer


 In praise of the American worker

by Lorena Gonzalez

As a single mom, on my busiest mornings I struggle to ensure that everyone’s teeth are brushed, breakfast is eaten, lunches are made, the kids get to school on time and I get into work. On those mornings, it’s the barista at the local coffee shop who quickly passes me a hot cup of coffee with plenty of room for milk that makes things a little more bearable. She is my daily reminder that no matter what we do, work connects us all; we depend on one another’s work.

On this Labor Day, let’s recognize the women and men who do the work that keeps America strong.

That’s pretty much all of us. Our work makes the work of others possible. We rely on the teacher to inspire our children. The teacher depends on the bus driver to get the students to class on time, in one piece. The bus driver counts on the mechanic to keep the buses running and safe. The mechanic relies on the mail carrier to deliver the parts at the bus yard. And so on it goes.

Work connects us all. And together, we are better.

And yet, too often in this hyper-political atmosphere it is the everyday worker who has been blamed and vilified as the cause of everything wrong with our country. As Americans, we need to honor and respect work and the people who do it. Not just some work, all work.

Every day is an opportunity to recognize the hard work of others. I bet you can think of plenty of workers in your life who deserve thanks. We want everyone to know their work matters.

Still, we can do more than just thank a worker. As a community we can show our respect for American workers with our purchasing power. When we make our investments here at home, we create a virtuous cycle of good jobs, decent wages, consumer-driven growth, thriving businesses and communities, and a promising future for our children. How do we do that?

We start by looking for the Made in the USA label. It’s a simple act that takes just a few extra minutes, but honors the efforts of countless American workers. Buying American keeps factories open here in the United States, allows workers to continue to bring home a paycheck, ensures small businesses in our communities still have customers with expendable income, and strengthens our tax base so our schools and public services can thrive. Whether we are buying a bottle of ketchup or a new car, we pay tribute to our workers when we buy American.

Even with these individual efforts, we know that there is still more that can and must be done. This year, we have been calling on Congress to bring jobs home. After decades of trade and tax policies that favored off-shoring American jobs, we have a historic opportunity to collectively voice our demand to reinvest in America and the American worker.

The American worker is smart, strong and innovative. And if given the chance to compete on a level playing field, can outperform anyone.

But for too long, we’ve given out corporate tax breaks for shipping our jobs overseas. On the model of the Bring Jobs Home Act, we should instead be rewarding the businesses who remain committed to supporting work done right here in America, and supporting President Obama’s goal to grow our economy from the middle class out.

This Labor Day, we’re calling on everyone to join us to support all that American workers do to make our lives better. Let’s reclaim this end-of-summer holiday as a day to honor all workers: The janitor who cleans up after us, the lifeguard who keeps us safe, the waitress who serves our dinner, and the electrician who keeps the lights on. Let’s recommit to being economic patriots and buy local, American-made products when we can. And let’s demand that those in Washington correct the loopholes and policies that benefit corporations who move their jobs to other countries. Instead let’s incentivize responsible businesses that know they can do just as well by keeping their jobs here.

This Labor Day let’s recognize who keeps America strong: The American worker.

Lorena Gonzalez is Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego – Imperial Counties Labor Council.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG September 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm

I’m doing about 65 hours a week for little jack in my pockets. The govorporation has sucked billions of dollars from the U.S. economy & sent it offshore & overseas.
In the last financial crisis tax dollars bailed out corporations, & those corporations delivered monies to CEO’s in the millions. The govorporation does not work for us; it works for them, the 1%. We can work & pat ourselves on the backs, but I see the U.S. only getting worse for the worker, for the people, for our rights which have been eroded.
Were I to consider being a parent today, I would postpone that decision for a decade or decide to never have children. This is a tough grungy world to bring a child into.
Seven billion & counting.


avatar dave rice September 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Ah, thONG – don’t you get it? The world is flat…or at least it’s flattening. That means that while we marginally improve the lives of the working class abroad, we have to accept that our own quality of living at home has to severely plummet in order to make the playing field truly equal. Then, and only then, will our overlords bring the work home, when we learn to be thankful for our bit of gruel and quit asking why the lords must take so much in order to give us so little.

I’m clocking about 40 hours at my primary job, 20 at my second job,and maybe 5 at my third – that puts us about on the same plane. But as long as my family has a mostly leak-free roof over our head, electric lighting, gas cooking (but no functional source of heating or cooling), it means we’re spoiled. My wife only has one job, and she only has to go to it for 40 hours a week – can you imagine how lucky people in the places where the “govorporation” sends our jobs think we are?

If I wasn’t an adoptive parent, there’s a slim chance I’d want to bring a child into the world as we live it today. But since I already have one, I’m going to damn well do anything I can to make sure she has a better go of it than I did – and all things considered, I had it pretty good. Sorry if that makes me a sell-out, trying to become one of “them” – just rest assured if I ever get there I’ll be the most benevolent of dictators.


avatar RB September 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

Having two parents who care about the results of their child’s education, you are already doing most of what is required for success, IMO. Demanding the most from children, not giving the most to children, is how to mold successful adults. My son and daughter were twelve and ten years old and reading a couple of years above grade level before they figured out that we were not too poor to have cable TV.


avatar unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG September 3, 2012 at 6:29 pm

At this point I’m not sure if I should go by Mr. Thong or Mr. Unwashed.
I do know that everyone should read the caps in the moniker.


avatar RB September 2, 2012 at 9:00 am

If you want more and better paying US jobs, you must have fair trade with China. This is an issue ignored by both political parties for thirty years.
If you want better pay for lower income workers and a lower unemployment rate, you must address the supply of labor. Pay is depressed when people are allowed to enter the country and work for less money.
If you want a higher skilled and better paid work force, you most improve the ‘American Made Product’ coming out of the schools.


avatar unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG September 3, 2012 at 6:27 pm

Pay is depressed when govorporation projects like bridge building are granted to Chinese companies. See a recent report on that subject by Diane Sawyer. It may be true; it was on TV.

Also, when the govorporation removes 700 billion from the U.S. economy & grants it to bankers & their ilk, & then millions of that money goes to Europe or CEO’s, then millions of people suffer because that money has not been re-injected into local economies. The bail-out money was stolen & probably off-shored.

Before the shredding of the economy, I could work thirty hours less for more per hour. Then the construction starts stopped in California; then I had no work & no money; now, I have all work & no money.
What’s left to save for chilrens’ college? Wait, I’m still paying off my college loans! Perhaps I was not so smart for attending a university.


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