Labor Unions Brought You So Much More Than This Long Weekend

By Lee Saunders ·

Late on Friday afternoons, in workplaces across America, you can feel a change in the air. It’s palpable — a buzz of excitement and gratitude. After several days of tough, productive work, the weekend is almost here.

That simple freedom of two days off wasn’t granted by employers benevolently. It was hard-fought and earned by America’s labor movement. With the passage of the Fair Labor Standards Act nearly eight decades ago, the 40-hour workweek became codified in federal law.

But here’s the thing. Right now, a lot of Americans aren’t experiencing that weekend freedom. Many have to work a second job or put in longer hours just to scrape by. If they do have a weekend off, they’re anxious about how they’re going to pay for their kids’ sneakers or school supplies, or how they’ll manage to save for college tuition or retirement. In the meantime, the incomes of CEOs and other high-earners are vaulting into the stratosphere.

This isn’t right, but it’s not by accident.

To read the rest of this column, which appeared in the Huffington Post, go here