Labor Day 2007 and 1930s Memories


Stephen Lendman’s historical essay,”The War On Working Americans,” begins by saying:

“As Labor Day approaches, what better time to assess the state of working America. It’s under assault and weakened by decades of eroding rights in the richest country in the world once regarded as a model democratic state. It’s pure nonsense in a nation always dedicated to wealth and power, but don’t try finding that discussed in the mainstream. Today it’s truer than ever, making the struggle for equity and justice all the harder. That’s what ordinary working people now face, making beating those odds formidable at the least.

“In a globalized world, the law of supply and demand is in play with lots more workers around everywhere than enough jobs for them. It keeps corporate costs low and profits high . . . and the result is a huge reserve army of unemployed or underemployed working people creating an inevitable race to the bottom in a corporatized marketplace. It harms workers everywhere, including in developed nations. They’re outsourcing good jobs abroad to lower wage countries and pressuring workers to do more for less because they’ve got little bargaining power to fight back.”(1)

Opinion: Labor Day 2007 and 1930s Memories

When I read those words I thought of Saint Paul’s Ford plant and how saddened my late father, Harlan, would be by its demise. He graduated from Henry Ford’s Dearborn, Michigan trade school in the late 1920’s and retired in 1973 as general foreman of the huge assembly line at Ford’s River Rouge complex, where he was part of Lee Iacocca’s team that created the legendary Ford Mustang.

He once told me that Saint Paul’s plant had the best quality record of any Ford facility, and members of the Ford family ordered their cars from it.

My dad would be equally saddened by Lendman’s essay. He was at the historic “Battle of the Overpass” to the Rouge complex in 1937.(2) And I can still vividly remember him, my uncle at Chrysler’s, and other workers in our neighborhood returning bruised and bloodied from the bitter Detroit strikes of that Great Depression era. I also remember my mom, grandma and other ladies who took food, clothes and bandages to them. . . .

So seven decades later let us honor those “Working Americans” and their fellow Minnesotans who did “fight back” by continuing to “fight back”!


(1) “The War On Working Americans”

(2) “Battle of the Overpass” (at my “alma mater”)