Monday, September 5, 2016

Labor Day is what we make of it

What should we make of Labor Day? The event that will provoke various celebrations of assorted types that probably say more about our own views than anything about the holiday itself.
RAUNER: Picking a lower-key scene for Labor Day

For the record, Monday is the day in which we will pay tribute to the workers of our society – those people whose labor helps make us the finest place on Planet Earth in which one can live.

OF COURSE, THERE also are those who find the very idea of honoring organized labor to be something subversive. That attitude comes out in the types of celebrations that will be held in various communities.

Take west suburban Naperville, where the parade to be held Monday morning is officially billed as the “Last Fling,” as though the day’s purpose is to have one last celebration before summer comes to an end.

The day is officially being sponsored in that community by a Kia auto dealership and is honoring the local park district as its grand marshal, although among its participants will be Gov. Bruce Rauner – not exactly the kind of politico with any interest in building up a favorable impression among organized labor interests.

The atmosphere in Naperville is likely to be different than what will take place in Calumet City – which usually has an end-of-summer parade that gives a bit of tribute to organized labor.

IT’S NOT THE kind of place that Rauner would choose to be in – likely because he knows the locals would boo and heckle him mercilessly if he were to show his face.

Can Sanguinetti come out on top ...
Which is probably why Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti will be the official state participant in that parade – I suspect her presence will be undetected because most of the locals won’t have a clue who she is or what she looks like!

The fact that Southpaw, the fuzzy green mascot of the Chicago White Sox, is also to appear in the Calumet City parade will probably be seen as a bigger deal.

Of course, some people couldn’t wait until Monday to celebrate Labor Day.

... or will Southpaw top her in Calumet City?
TAKE THE PARADE held Saturday along Ewing Avenue in the 10th Ward – where Alderman Susan Sadlowski Garza managed to coordinate the first Labor Day parade held in the far southeast corner of Chicago in the past two decades.

The East Side neighborhood and surrounding communities still have organized labor leanings, even though the number of local residents employed in steel mills or factories isn’t anywhere near as many as it used to be.

It’s more a neighborhood of people who used to be able to live off their brawn, and in many cases complain that they can’t still do so.

Then again, let’s not forget that the last municipal elections saw Garza, a Chicago Teachers Union member, win her election against former Alderman John Pope because of her union ties – which also saw local residents vote strongly in favor of dumping Rahm Emanuel as mayor.

IT’S DEFINITELY THE kind of place that would want to celebrate the concept of organized labor. Which is why they felt compelled to get the jump on celebrating the holiday.
Pullman, the home of Labor Day?

That, and the fact that there is an event scheduled in the nearby 9th Ward, the Pullman neighborhood to be exact, that will take place on Monday. I’m sure that having competing Labor Day celebrations in neighboring wards (literally on opposite sides of Lake Calumet) would have seemed like a bit much.

Where in Pullman, the people like to remember that the remains of the one-time railcar factory was also the scene of a strike that some like to think of as the origins of celebrating Labor Day as an official holiday to begin with.

Unless you think it’s just another excuse to pull out the barbecue grill one more time before the weather goes bad and cook up some burgers; or steaks if you feel like splurging. Or turkey dogs if you’re some sort of health freak!


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