In a shocking moment of tone-deafness and hostility to the accomplishments of unions and the working class, GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), sent a Labor Day message in support of corporations and management — adding in a touch of the GOP’s “we built this” nonsense to twist the knife a little more.
Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success.
— Eric Cantor (@GOPLeader) September 3, 2012
“Today, we celebrate those who have taken a risk, worked hard, built a business and earned their own success,” Cantor wrote via Twitter, ignoring the definition of Labor Day, its history, and the importance of many Americans who, unlike Cantor, don’t get paid whether or not they work, don’t get months worth of vacation, don’t have the gold standard in health care coverage, don’t have many of their personal expenses paid for by the taxpayers, and don’t have a salary for life.
In 2010, Cantor said, “Like my grandmother before me, I was then, and consider myself to this day, first and foremost a small businessperson.” Maybe because, as Mitt Romney said, “corporations are people, my friend”?
“In June, 1894, Congress passed an act declaring the first Monday in September Labor Day and a legal holiday in all states, territories and the District of Columbia,” the U.S. Department of Labor notes.
“Created by the nation’s labor movement and dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers, Labor Day is an annual yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”
“The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.
The character of the Labor Day celebration has undergone a change in recent years, especially in large industrial centers where mass displays and huge parades have proved a problem. This change, however, is more a shift in emphasis and medium of expression. Labor Day addresses by leading union officials, industrialists, educators, clerics and government officials are given wide coverage in newspapers, radio, and television.
The vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.”
Cantor has a 0% rating from HRC, a 7% rating from the ACLU, a 17% rating fro, the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW), a 19% rating from the NAACP, but a 100% by US Chamber of Commerce.
Image: U.S. Dept. of Labor
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