We do our best to celebrate Labor Day by not working … but we celebrate in honor of those who do. As with Memorial Day, it's much too easy to forget why we have set aside time to pay our respects and just play instead. Let's not do that.
Labor builds America. It always has. It always will. Labor deserves respect, whether it comes in the form of teachers, sheriff's deputies or road workers. There are a lot of ways to run a capitalistic economy, but when capitalism is healthy everyone in the system, owners and workers alike, gets a fair shake, a fair share and a fair return on their investment in the work that fuels America’s well-being.
For an owner, the focus is on profit. For a worker, on compensation. But both are members of the same American team that should take pride together in the integrity of the work being done and the society being built while they're doing it. Labor helps keep this country on an even track by organizing socially, sticking up for itself and preventing exploitation of the workers who are the backbone of America's economy. Labor activism is democratic in the best non-partisan sense of the word.
Beware the counteracting political activism that seeks to destroy the benefits that Iowa public workers' unions provide — by eliminating them. Those unions benefit us all in the form of our properly compensated and respected friends and neighbors in public service jobs. The rights of those unions have already been weakened in our state. It's time to reverse course. It's time to remember the collective benefits that labor provides not just to workers but to us all, after a holiday weekend when we've all enjoyed the benefits of Iowa's public sector workers.
Dr. Karen A. Larson
Candidate for Iowa House District #1