Friday, March 9, 2018

West Virginia Strike & The Death of Labor As We Knew It

Since the Reagan Administration, we in organized labor have invested a considerable amount of time lamenting and mourning over the slow death of the labor movement. Under the heavy handed thumbs of old guard labor leaders who viewed politics as the one true god, our perceived demise became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What began with the PATCO strike, largely ended in Wisconsin. In both instances, and thousands more just like them in between, the leadership of organized labor stood before massive crowds of the working class, arm in arm with elected leaders and candidates, and said, "trust us."

In Wisconsin, tens of thousands were turned away from the capitol protest and told to go home and vote. The American worker has been told to maintain faith in a system wholly designed to maintain the status quo, and favors the interest of the few over the desperate needs of the masses.

But something new has happened in West Virginia. Or rather, something very old. For the first time, perhaps, in decades, on a massive scale, the workers were instead told by union leadership, to organize, to mobilize, and put their faith, their fates, and their futures, in the only hands capable of charting a more perfect course, their own.

If West Virginia marks the death of organized labor as we, in recent generations have known it, then rest in peace, old friend. You will be sorely missed by the old guard democratic party machine, and the handful of labor bosses who still take their marching orders from Providence mobsters.

The new organized labor will consist of only two kinds of unions, those that empower their members with the kind of organizing support that creates an environment where worker led actions and strikes like the one in West Virginia can happen, and dead ones.

We may finally, once and for all, bid farewell to the 63 year, George Meany era of labor and her slow, painful decline under democrats, double deals, and the legal and contractual hindrances of no strike clauses. There is, alas, a new sheriff in town, and he is an immigrant name is Joseph Hillstrom aka, Joe Hill.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Thank You, Koch Brothers, From the Labor Movement

It is no secret that organized labor has been in a long, slow death spiral since the Reagan Administration. Union membership in the private sector has fallen to below 7%, reduced to levels not seen since the passage of the Wagner Act in the 1930s. Union leadership has largely been paralyzed into inaction (or misguided action) as all hope was placed in a disastrous multi-decade effort to funnel all energies into a busted two party political system where Republicans, hell bent on the destruction of organized labor, are pitted against Democrats, who are unwilling to take any major steps to save it.
Not content to stop with the decimation of private sector unions, the wealthiest most powerful individuals turned their attentions toward the public sector. They recognized that to gain complete control of the nation's political system and wealth, they needed to declare complete war on all of organized labor. Led by the Koch Brothers and ALEC, they took that war to Wisconsin. And when thousands of union members and working families assembled to fight the blatant attack on workers, union leadership told the assembled masses to go home, and vote. They funneled the collective energies of the movement, and angst of the working class, right back into the system so perfectly designed to keep them from exercising any real power.
Now, similar laws have been passed in Iowa, despite no calls from citizens for them, and despite fierce, and complete opposition to them. At first, it appeared as though the joke was on the Republicans who passed the laws requiring certification elections prior to bargaining new contracts, because almost every public entity in the state of Iowa won their recertification votes. But now, as bargaining with school districts is underway, no one is laughing...

Many in labor believed that with decent elected officials on school boards and other local entities, that bargaining under the new laws might not be so bad. As the examples above have shown, they were sorely mistaken. The collective benefits and rights that have been negotiated over the bulk of the last half century are being unapologetically dismantled and shamefully stripped away. Collective bargaining agreements that were 80 or 100 pages long last month, are being reduced to 1 or 2 pages of meaningless garbage, unworthy of the ink wasted on printing them. 
Iowa teachers, in particular, are largely shell shocked, but some of them are beginning to awaken to the new realities. In online forums and coffee shops and homes, small groups of teachers are beginning to do something they haven't done in over a generation; they are starting to organize. And many of them are even beginning to use the only word capable of saving the movement. STRIKE. 
Some still cling to hope in the process or the next election cycle, as they are hesitant to do anything that might harm their students or their beloved districts. But others still are coming to terms with the fact the parents in their school districts have elected the people who are destroying their lives, and while those parents did not advocate for these new ALEC written laws, they did nothing to stop their enactment. The message from the communities and Republicans has largely been that firefighters and policemen and heroes, worthy of collective bargaining rights. Teachers on the other hand, are a public nuisance, ranked slightly above uncollected garbage.    
Among Iowa teachers, the arguments that they have to remain loyal to their districts are fading. The realization is also setting in that as goes their power as a collective, so goes their ability to protect their students from the various privatization schemes pushed by the rich, that will further erode Iowa's public education system.
Some still argue that a strike will cause irreparable harm to their union, with fines assessed at $10,000 per day, but others are wondering what good it does to maintain an organization that now lacks even the ability to file a simple grievance on their behalf.
In Iowa, collective bargaining laws were passed decades ago, in part, to end strikes by educators. The embarrassment of teachers sitting in jail cells  because of "illegal" strikes was too much to take. It made the governor look bad. The tradeoff was, collective bargaining rights, grievance procedures, and binding arbitration, and educators agreed not to strike. In short, the deal is now off.
The other argument losing steam is that strikes are illegal. Yes. They are. They were illegal when the teachers held them so long ago to earn the rights inherited by this generation. It was illegal when Rosa Parks sat in the front of the bus. It was illegal when the black men sat down at that lunch counter. And it is illegal yet today. The only thing that has changed is the courage of the individuals in this generation of workers. Or has it?
Workers are growing weary. They are growing tired of dying the death of a thousand cuts that is being perpetrated upon them, and they are growing impatient with unions and union leaders who are unwilling to lead them to more meaningful direct action.
Even as Iowa educators begin the process of awakening and the realization that their labor is indisputably their own, and their right to withhold their labor is inalienable, regardless of law or threat of consequence, Florida educators are facing another prong of the Koch/ALEC attack, with pending legislation that will automatically decertify any union with less than 50% dues paying membership. And even before enactment, their union is using the 'S' word publicly.
In short, the Koch Brothers and ALEC might just be accomplishing what we in organized labor have failed to do since the merger of the AFL and CIO in 1955, awakening the sleeping, slumbering giant, that is the true potential of the organized, radicalized, pissed off masses in America. If they succeed, then every working family in the nation might just have to send a handwritten thank you card to the Koch Brothers, ALEC, and their corporate cronies in the GOP AND Democratic parties for making it happen. In turn, the private sector union movement might owe a huge debt of gratitude for educators teaching the entire movement how to finally act like unions again.
If you follow me, I haven't posted in a while. But I have been doing some reading, and if you are among those groups of working people, or labor leaders, meeting and talking about things and need some inspiration, I recommend the following book:

Srdja Popovic has written an entertaining manual on the non-violent tactics employed by the leaders of the Serbian revolution (he was among them). And while it may not seem like it applies, there are many brilliant philosophies and tactics that translate easily to any people's organizing efforts.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Great Iowa Union Busting Flop

Iowa Republican Governor Kim Reynolds, and Republican Speaker of the House, Linda Upmeyer, had a good laugh at the expense of working families when the Orwellian laws to bust public sector unions were rammed through early this year despite zero public support and thousands of workers turning out in opposition.
The Iowa union busting efforts led by ALEC & Co. and modeled after the Koch Puppet Regime legislation in Wisconsin requires every public sector union in the state to recertify through an election prior to negotiating a new contract. This week, 468 bargaining units saw ballots counted by Iowa's Public Employment Relations Board. 
Overwhelmingly, 28,488 votes were cast to retain coverage by a labor union, while only 624 votes were cast by what one can only assume to be union hating rat relatives of Republican legislators.
Despite the overwhelming ratio of nearly 46 to 1 in favor of union representation, some 30 small bargaining units lost their unionized protections, due to the law requiring in excess of 50% of the entire unit to vote in favor. One example was a unit consisting of four people, where two votes were cast for the union, one vote cast against, and one that did not vote who was automatically counted among the union hating rat bastard votes.
What every Iowan ought to be asking themselves now is exactly how much these union busting shenanigans have ultimately cost the taxpayers of the state. How many tens of thousands of dollars were wasted on the contractors who tallied the votes, or the lost time of PERB officials wasted counting and filing paperwork associated with them, all so Upmeyer and Reynolds could strip the rights away from a handful of four person units, and further ingratiate themselves to ALEC & Co?
28,488 Iowans have spoken. Their voices have been heard. They do not wish to disband their unions and entrust their futures entirely to the good graces of the likes of Upmeyer and Reynolds. It's time for those same 28,488 Iowans and their friends and families to kick these union busters to the curb and demand this fraud of a law that has been perpetrated upon every Iowa taxpayer be stopped. These wasteful laws need to be repealed and left to the system that has served the state so well for the past forty years. 
If 28,488 workers can speak with a singular voice against this sham of a law, then it gives us all hope that in the next election cycle, an equally proportionate number of Iowa working class families can cast another vote and send these union busting bums packing once and for all.     

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Which Side Are You On?

On April 4th, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was gunned down on the balcony of a hotel in Memphis. That piece of history is well known by most folks in labor. If not the date, then at least the fact that he was murdered in Memphis.
Less known by many younger labor leaders is exactly what King was doing in Memphis when he was assassinated. He was there to assist the sanitation workers and their fledgling AFSCME local, who had went on strike when two of their colleagues were killed by a malfunctioning garbage truck.
While King received funding and support from some in organized labor, he was deeply entrenched in his Southern Christian Leadership Conference's Poor People's Campaign at the time and feared the Memphis strikes would detract from his current efforts.
Likewise, in organized labor, despite quietly funding much of King's work, almost NO ONE wanted a strike of black workers in the South, since most current union members there were white males, more likely to greet the strikers with white hoods than with broad support.
The workers marched forward though, and as the strike wore on, both King and the Labor Movement, were forced into a fight that neither may have particularly wanted, but that neither side could afford to continue to ignore. Because of those workers, the Memphis sanitation workers strike would become a true watershed moment in American Labor History, as there could be absolutely no doubt from that moment forward, that the Labor Movement and the Civil Rights Movement in this nation were intricately intertwined. They are one in the same.
You cannot rightfully argue that an injury to one is an injury to all, and denounce a group of people based on the hue of their skin, or the place name on their birth certificate, or who they go to bed with at night. You cannot believe in justice for all, without denouncing injustice and bigotry. And you CANNOT call yourself a union man or woman, and not denounce injustice and prejudice wherever and whenever you see it.
Hatred has been simmering in this nation since its birth. With the election of Barack Obama, I believed that a new watershed moment had been attained. I believed that we finally lived in a world where the sins of our fathers might be behind us, and every child of color could grow up living in a world where anything was finally possible, even for them. The election of this president though, and the recent atrocities in Charlottesville, have proven otherwise.  

  In Charlottesville, the Nazi and Confederate flags were on full and proud display. 620,000 American soldiers died in the Civil War defeating slavery. 416,000 American soldiers died defeating Fascism in WWII. You cannot display either flag outside of a museum without dishonoring the lives and sacrifices of these 1,000,000 men and women. BOTH flags are symbols of injustice and intolerance and are UNAMERICAN as you can get.
Despite these facts, we are living in a time when fascism and racism are on full and open display. It is the shame of this nation for all the world to see. Hundreds of armed men and women are allowed to assemble freely and denounce the rights and freedoms of others under the guise of the freedom of assembly. The President of the United States fuels the flames of their misguided courage. Police stand idly by and watch with disinterest. The masses on the right say they are disgusted by Nazis, but it's their right , they say, to freedom of assembly.
But where was the "freedom of assembly" at Standing Rock?  Or does freedom of assembly only apply when it does not stand opposed to the inalienable rights of capital to profit?
Where was the "freedom of assembly" in Ferguson? Or does freedom of assembly only apply when it stands against the rights of people who aren't white like me?
Where was the "freedom of assembly" in Baltimore?
Or in Memphis?
I know a lot of people who are white like me, who don't like the term "white privilege". Because they struggle financially, they choose not to believe such a thing exists. But KNOW THIS: there has NEVER been time or a place in this nation, including now, that a group of colored people, or foreign born people, or any group of people besides white males, can assemble in public brandishing firearms and not expect to be gunned down in the streets by the establishment.
There has never been a time or a place anywhere in this nation, including today, when anyone can assemble freely and threaten the white propertied classes, or (especially) their property or businesses. But, there has ALWAYS been room to allow ANY show of force assembled against the rights of others who do not represent the owning classes. There has always been allowed open aggression toward minorities, and immigrants. No show of force is ever assembled by law enforcement to fight bigotry. The national guard is never called in to shoot up a Klan meeting, or spray tear gas into a crowd of Nazi sympathizers.
And that is exactly why this fight is ours as whites. Because when a large group of black men assemble to fight off the oppression of the Klan, it is the black men who will ultimately pay the price. When a group of antifascists assemble to fight off the growing threat of fascists, the antifascists will be jailed and murdered by the Nazis and police alike.
The fight belongs to us. We, all of us, and especially white trade unionists, must recognize that this is the moment for us to rise up against the growing threat of fascism and racism in this nation. It starts with an intolerance of our own. It begins by not allowing any comment in our homes or communities or workplaces to go unchecked, and it ends with taking back our streets and ridding them of fascists. Our tolerance of others has allowed this to thing to grow. Our silence is the fuel that lights the night from their flames of hatred.
We have not a right, but a responsibility, to our children, to our brethren, to our forefathers who perished fighting fascism and establishing freedoms, and to the very nation itself, to meet this threat to everything we hold dear head on, and fight them back into hiding at every front, in every conceivable way.
Our aim is not to try to understand them. Our goal is not to greet them with love. We shall leave that to other, more enlightened elements of the left. Our goal must be to meet this threat wherever we find it and stomp it out. To extinguish the flames of hatred and crush the smoldering embers beneath our feet, by any means necessary to do so.  
And know that this fight is our fight directly too as trade unionists, because as Lyndon Johnson said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”
That is why fascists and racists are never greeted with tanks and hundreds of heavily armed police or guardsman. Because by allowing them to exist and flourish, so too can the enemies of labor flourish by default, through division, and through misguided blame.
The history of the labor movement is scarred with purges of communists and socialists led by the political enemies of labor. It is due time we instigated a purge of our own, and recognized that no one ought to be able to call themselves a union man and preach hatred  or intolerance of others. No woman ought to be allowed to hold a union office and seek the tearing apart of immigrant families, or lobby to strip the rights away of our LGBT brothers and sisters.
And no union man or woman, ESPECIALLY the white ones (like me) can afford to sit this fight out, or continue to allow the spread of the far right in this nation. Too much has been sacrificed by too many, and we must remember the words of  Pastor Martin Niemöller:
In Nazi Germany, first they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—
and there was no one left to speak for me.
It is all happening again. If you have ever thought about history and wondered why people did not rise up to stop a thing, then your response right now is your answer. Silence is NOT an option.



Monday, July 10, 2017

Labor Law Loses Another Tooth

In the private sector, organizers have all but abandoned the use of the traditional NLRB campaign model. Usually, when the model is still employed, it is only is conjunction with a more comprehensive and multifaceted campaign. Because the law so favors employers who use union busting tactics that it has become almost wholly ineffective as a vehicle for workers to advance their cause.
One of the few exceptions within the law however, has been the interpretation of the definition of the scope of legally protected concerted activity. What constituted legally protected concerted activity has been the backbone of much of the non-traditional work performed by organizers going back to the Reagan administration.
Recently, however, in MikLin Enterprises, Inc v. NLRB the Eighth Circuit US Court of Appeals has turned back the clock eighty years on workers rights by overturning an NLRB decision, and stating that "Section 7 rights do not disturb an employer's right to expect loyalty from their employees and their continued efforts in support of the business."
If allowed to stand (and there is no reason to believe it won't in the current climate), MikLin could easily establish a dangerous new precedent affecting all formerly accepted forms of legally protected concerted activity. It could mean that every handbill, every picket, every poster, and every communication between workers, could be forced to survive a new set of legal litmus tests surrounding the issue of employee loyalty.
Almost nothing in the existing private sector union organizer's toolkit is safe under this bizarre new world legal order where the backbone of workers rights under Section 7 of the NLRA is anchored by employer loyalty, and support of the businesses they are presumably engaged in a labor dispute with.
In short, any expansion of this decision, and the further erosion of workers rights under the NLRA, will deem the law completely useless, instead of the current interpretations that leave it almost entirely useless. When the last tooth goes bouncing across the courtroom floor, private sector organized labor needs to have a new organizing playbook.
Perhaps instead of organizing workers to change the law, or work within the suffocating confines of ever restricting law, we ought to instead be organizing workers to ignore them altogether?
Read more on the MikLin decision here:

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Union Workers Memorial Day Joe Hill Tribute

Joel Emmanuel Hägglund, who Anglicized his name to Joseph Hillström, and eventually as Joe Hill, was an immigrant from Sweden who, like so many during the sporadic employment of the sweeping depressions of the early 1900's, was an itinerant worker, known at that time as a tramp.
In his travels from mine to mill and back again, Joe learned English, and he learned some other things too. He learned of the rampant injustice of unrestrained free market capitalism that made a few men wealthy beyond measure, and left the masses destitute, without hope, and powerless.
Joe would use his acquired knowledge of capitalism to organize workers into the Industrial Workers of the World union everywhere he went. And he did it in part, by using songs and poetry and cartoons that were published in the Industrial Worker newspaper. 
One such song was Where the Fraser River Flows:

Fellow workers pay attention to what I'm going to mention,
For it is the fixed intention of the Workers of the World.
And I hope you'll all be ready, true-hearted, brave and steady,
To gather 'round our standard when the red flag is unfurled.
Where the Fraser river flows, each fellow worker knows,
They have bullied and oppressed us, but still our union grows.
And we're going to find a way, boys, for shorter hours and better pay, boys
And we're going to win the day, boys, where the river Fraser flows.
For these gunny-sack contractors have all been dirty actors,
And they're not our benefactors, each fellow worker knows.
So we've got to stick together in fine or dirty weather,
And we will show no white feather, where the Fraser river flows.Now the boss the law is stretching, bulls and pimps he's fetching,
And they are a fine collection, as Jesus only knows.
But why their mothers reared them, and why the devil spared them,
Are questions we can't answer, where the Fraser River flows.
You can listen to the song as performed by Utah Phillips here:

Joe's words and cartoons touched workers and inspired thousands to organize until 1914, when he was shot by a close friend and fellow countryman in a fight over a girl. Unwilling to turn his brother in when he sought medical attention, authorities and mining bosses in Utah seized upon the opportunity to have him charged with the murder of  a store owner and his son, despite having no motive, and relatives of the victim who testified that Joe Hill was not among the murderers.  
Despite international calls for clemency, on November 19th, 1915, guards walked Joe Hill to a chair in the Utah prison yard and secured him to it. When Deputy Shettler, who led the firing squad, called out the sequence of commands ("Ready, aim,") Hill shouted, "Fire — go on and fire!"
Joe Hill's bullet riddled body on display

Minutes before his state sponsored murder, Hill had written a note to Big Bill Haywood, of the Western federation of Miners and IWW leader, saying, "Goodbye Bill. I die like a true blue rebel. Don't waste any time in mourning. Organize... Could you arrange to have my body hauled to the state line to be buried? I don't want to be found dead in Utah."
Joe Hill's actual last will and testament:
My will is easy to decide
For there is nothing to divide
My kin don't need to fuss and moan
"Moss does not cling to rolling stone"

My body? Oh, if I could choose
I would to ashes it reduce
And let the merry breezes blow
My dust to where some flowers grow

Perhaps some fading flower then
Would come to life and bloom again.
This is my Last and final Will.
Good Luck to All of you
-Joe Hill-
All working people's movements are built upon a foundation of genuine sacrifice. Power does not give itself up. The rich do not roll over and play dead. Not then. Not now. Not ever. Never have. Never will.
Countless men and women like Joe Hill sacrificed everything so we could inherit a world where workers at least had basic rights, and hope for the future, and opportunities to provide for our families and ourselves, even in sickness and retirement.
This Memorial Day Weekend, it is more important than ever to remember labor's martyrs like Joe Hill, and recognize that the history of the working class in America has been paved upon a road of blood and sacrifice. Thousands have perished fighting an unjust system. Thousands still die here every year at work in America, desiring only to provide for themselves and their families.
We stand today upon a precipice in time. We as a people shall either descend into an abyss where the working classes once again know only pain and suffering, devoid of medical care or fair wages, or protections under the law, or we shall rise up and emerge stronger than ever before, pushing forward into a world where our children and grandchildren can live well, work safely, and look forward to spending quality time with their own grandchildren in their retirement years.
A lot has changed in the one hundred years since Joe Hill was murdered by the copper mining bosses in Utah. A lot of things have remained the same though. The resources of a nation and a world are still dolled out by politicians to a handful of men wealthy enough to bribe them for the privilege.
Those men still amass unfathomable fortunes to the peril of the masses. Those men will still stop at nothing to amass those fortunes, grinding up the bones of everyone else in a machine designed to strip every man, woman and child of their labor, their dignity, and eventually, their lives. As I write this, Congress works toward eliminating healthcare for millions of Americans. States are repealing minimum wage protections advanced by localities. Labor protections of every kind are being stripped away, as capitalists seek to unravel a hundred years worth of labor advances.  
Men like Joe Hill had to sacrifice their all to earn the privileges we inherited. We had only to vote and to call our Congressional delegations and keep them accountable, but we failed miserably to do even that much. Luckily, for our own children and grandchildren, the answer remains right in front of us still. We still have the power over capitalists and Congress alike, and it is, as it always has been, right there, just as Joe Hill said it was a hundred years before...


Friday, April 28, 2017

Murder for Hire, American Style

I need not remind anyone reading this of the horrors that forever changed our world on 9/11. We lost 2,977 innocent souls that day, due to the cowardly acts of 19 (mostly Saudi Arabian) hijackers.
That day would be scarred into the nation's collective memory, and it changed the way we live, and travel, and think. We waged wars as a result of it that still rage on, and according to the CBO, we have spent an estimated $2.7 TRILLION in Iraq and Afghanistan.  

Remember this gem from the war, when we were sending airplanes filled with cash for contractors, and how we lost billions in cash that has still not been accounted for to this day? But we're not counting money today, we're counting bodies.
Together, in Iraq and Afghanistan, we had direct troop losses of 6,877 American soldiers. In Iraq, it is estimated that fatalities of soldiers and civilians topped 500,000 souls, and over 20,000 in Afghanistan, not to mention the tens of thousands of US soldiers who were injured, and the thousands sent home missing pieces.
Despite 17 of the 19 hijackers coming from Saudi Arabia, and despite initial funding being traced back to the same nation, we never did anything there at all. But never mind that either, right now, because we are talking about over half a million people having lost their lives, and having spent $2.7 trillion because some people killed 2,977 Americans. And NOBODY EVER gets away with killing 2,977 Americans. Not on our Toby Keith loving, flag waving watch... unless you're a capitalist, that is.  
Because remember those corporate raiders with that big table full of Uncle Sam's cash during the war effort? As it turns out, they and their company owning friends back home, managed to kill 4,836 in the workplace in 2015, and 4,821 the year before that, and between 4,551 and 5,840 American workers each and every year for the last decade. Prior to OSHA being passed in 1970, those numbers skyrocket to an estimated 14,000 workers every year.
So, what is the point, you ask? Excellent question. The point is that in a capitalist, corporate dominated America, when someone kills 2,977 Americans, we are more than happy to throw literal mountains of cash at it, and send untold thousands to their deaths as long as we can rake in ever greater profits as a result. But when it comes to the almost 5,000 workers who die needlessly in the workplace each and every year, nobody in corporate America gives a fuck.
Even now, President Chump is looking at every conceivable way he can deregulate, deregulate, deregulate. Maybe now is a good time to tell you that OSHA is one of those pesky regulatory agencies that cost corporations money to comply with, and his hardline, yes man, Acosta, just got appointed as head of the Department of Labor, of which OSHA is a part. Already notoriously underfunded and understaffed, keep a sharp eye out for how they gut this regulatory agency of manpower, funding, and what precious little teeth it still has to punish employers.  
Remember all of the resources we threw at those 9/11 deaths? To protect American workers, we issue fines of about $2,500 for "serious" penalties under OSHA, and have about 1 inspector for every 60,000 workers. And in Donald Trump and Toby Keith's America, that is 1 too many inspectors, and that's $2,500 that employer could have used to buy a weekend getaway package at one of Trump's luxurious golf resorts, so fuck the workers they kill.
Not to worry though, because those 13 American workers who die every day and are tossed out like yesterday's garbage by capitalists are not alone. Because remember those wars we fought to avenge our 2,977 Americans? Our young WORKING CLASS men and women who fought those wars, and who didn't get their share of those huge piles of money, have spent the last decade committing suicide at a rate of 22 per day.
You can almost set your watch by it. With over 7,000 US Veterans killing themselves each and every year, you can anticipate that another one just gave in to the effects of war almost every time your clock ticks off one hour. The suicide rate is cut in half when veterans receive their care at VA facilities, instead of the private sector, but that doesn't stop the capitalists, whose aim is to continue to underfund and starve the VA system into submission, all with the intent to privatize healthcare and pass off billions to the corporations who will be happily killing them because they lack the expertise to treat them all.
And why? Because those same greedy fucks who were figuring out how to load stacks of hundred dollar bills into their private jets in Iraq, are now looking at our working class veterans, and trying to figure out how they can profit off of them again before they die off, without actually stopping them from dying off, because just think of how much money we save when they continue to do so.  
While we always have trillions of extra dollars lying around gathering up dust when it comes to wars, we never quite seem to have enough to pay the people who fight them for us. And while we can always afford another tax break for corporations, we can never seem to find the cash to fully fund things like OSHA, or, well, anything that might accidentally benefit the masses. 
Do not be fooled by the false prophets of flag waving patriotism, brothers and sisters. And do not be fooled by every time you hear them say things like, "we should take care of our veterans before we take care of... __________." Because, neither the capitalists, nor congress, nor Chump, nor his flag waving, Toby Keith loving, all American followers, are doing a fucking thing to prioritize the welfare of the working class, or to avenge OUR deaths in combat or in labor. That is up to us.
Another war looms large on the horizon with North Korea, and elsewhere. DO NOT be distracted. The real war is being waged right here on our own soil every day. It is a war between the classes, and only one side is fighting it, and ALL of the casualties are ours.  

Make no mistake, when the next big, money laundering war does come, NONE of these people will be fighting it. It will be, same as it always is, our sons and daughters who pay the price. The top of another hour draws near. What have you done to stop it?

Some Christmas time working class fatalities:

12/19/16 Peter Kubek drowned when his front end loader toppled over into a canal. Killed by RKC Land Development of Loxahatchee, FL

12/19/16 Gilbert Villanueva died in a fall from scaffolding. Killed by DD&B Construction of San Antonio, TX

12/20/16 David Ambrose was crushed between a transfer cart and a doorway. Killed by Graham Packaging Company of Cartersville, GA.

12/20/16 Curtis Popkey was struck and crushed by a piece of equipment during loading. Killed by Central Florida Underground of Altamonte Springs, FL

12/21/16 Mario Morales was struck and killed by a pipe. Killed by Womble Co., Inc. of Houston, TX

12/21/16 James Loran was struck and killed by a tractor. Killed by Quality Implement Company or Newcastle, TX

12/21/16 Bobby Sellars was crushed between two port cars. Killed by Nucor-Yamato Steel, Inc. of Blytheville, AR

12/21/16 Jose Hernandez was killed in a fall from a roof. Killed by Jorge Perez Construction of Galveston, TX

12/21/16 Mike Kane was struck and killed by a crane basket. Killed by Jamison Construction, LLC of McEwen, TN

12/21/16 John Brooks was fatally crushed by pipes. Killed by Diamond Plastics Corporation of Macon, GA

12/22/16 Randy Skaluba was struck and killed by a train. Killed by Elite Express of Selah, WA

12/23/16 Angel Tubens was struck and killed by a box truck. Killed by Superior Vending, LLC of Brooklyn, NY

12/23/16 Delbert Lisk was killed in a fall from a roof. Killed by Roof-Over America, LLC of Sanford, FL

12/23/16 Mahamoudon Marega was killed in a fall from height while he was pouring a concrete floor. Killed by Highbury Concrete, Inc. of New York, NY

12/24/16 James Rogers was directing traffic when he was struck and killed by a vehicle. Killed by TDOT of Nashville, TN

12/24/16 Shannon Guinn was killed in a fall through a skylight. Killed by Barnard Roofing Company, Inc. of Johnson City, TN

No one bothers to try and list all of the names of the fallen veterans who succumb to the war through suicide. It is up to us to remember them.