Remember America’s Labor Heroes

This essay, which I wrote in 2000, celebrates the brave men and women of the Colorado labor movement, who in the coal fields of southern Colorado early in the 20th century, stood up against murderous company goons and against the soldiers of the Colorado National Guard who perverted their organization. 

Labor Day is a day to remember that labor rights are human rights, and that the right of Americans to come together in voluntary organizations, including labor unions, is part of the core of American freedom. On Veterans Day or Memorial Day, we remember that the freedoms we enjoy today are the fruit of the sacrifices made by our armed forces. We remember this even if we disagree with some military actions, or even if we know that some past or present military leaders were bad people. Likewise, on Labor Day, even if we recognize the harmfulness of much of the current agenda of SEIU, NEA, and so on, we should remember the historic debt that all Americans owe to the Labor movement. One part of that debt is the essential role that labor leaders such as Walter Reuther and Lane Kirkland played in providing bipartisan support for resistance to the evil Soviet empire, an empire whose ultimate objective was to reduce all the workers of the world to slavery.