By Michael Messina

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech at the March on Washington. And with Labor Day fast approaching, I thought we should take a look at other speeches past that speak of the role of labor in our country.

Labor Day is THE day of the year to lift up the American worker with words of high praise and affection. But for all our oratories of admiration and thanks, none can compare to the eloquent words of those spoken on past Labor Days by the much loftier voices of our Presidents.

The Westin

By Ashley Beard-Fosnow

My kids have been begging all summer to have a Lemonade Stand. (I have been putting it off because I hate obligating our neighbors to humor our kids. Furthermore, my husband and I give our children opportunities to earn pocket money by doing extra chores around the house.) I finally relented and we have been making plans to set up a Lemonade Stand around Labor Day. We compromised by agreeing to make it a charity event and donate all the proceeds to the AFL-CIO United Way. I was inspired by the IAFF and their Labor Day campaign to “Fill The Boot” for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Firefighters are amazing. I find their work and charity efforts so admirable.

By guest blogger Ashley Beard-Fosnow

I did not grow up in an Union family. In fact, when I met my husband Clint ten years ago the only thing I knew about Unions was what I gleaned from the Disney film, “The Newsies.” Since our fateful meeting, Clint has educated me on his job as an Ironworker, collective bargaining, and the Labor Movement. I have witnessed firsthand all of the benefits of being a member of a Union family.

by Sahid Fawaz

1. “Fast food workers earn what they’re worth”

Because they have little bargaining power, fast food workers do not earn wages close to the value that they provide to corporations. The result is the unconscionable exploitation of millions of hardworking fast food employees, which places many of them below the poverty line. It is a failure of modern society when full time workers cannot earn enough to live above the poverty line and be self-sufficient, so as not to have to rely on government assistance.

Not to mention that real wages have declined for decades for workers, despite tremendous gains in productivity. So where has the money been going all this time? To the corporate executives and shareholders rather than to the workers who actually create all this wealth.

By Michael Messina

Okay, so maybe it’s just preseason, but for me that’s plenty of reason to get back into the beer clanking, sausage grilling, greasy fingered snack fest that is the football party.

Our Super Bowl post was a fond farewell to football earlier this year, and now we welcome the pigskin back with open arms (and no fumbles, of course). We’ve done parties before here at Labor 411, so I’m not going to waste too much of your time. I’ve put together a list of links to our best union-made salty, sweet, savory and bubbly supplies for you and the guests.

Enjoy! And go (insert favorite team here)!

by Sahid Fawaz Four months ago we kicked off our first ever “Buy Union, Buy American Week” with the “Support Steelworkers Week.” Since then we have reach millions of people via social media and raised consumer awareness of all the great products that are made by awesome union members in North America. This week we…

American car manufacturing is making a huge comeback! The cars produced in the US today are safer, offer greater luxury, and are more technologically advanced than ever before. There has never been a better time to buy a union-made, American car. Here’s our list of four first-class sedans worth checking out if you are in the market for a new car.

1.    Ford Fusion

The Ford Fusion is not your ordinary sedan. As Edmunds states, “If Aston Martin made an affordable midsize sedan, we imagine it would look a lot like the Ford Fusion.”

By Michael Messina

Sure, actors and athletes are well-represented in the world of labor, but what about the supporting cast? From theatre performers to electricians to concession stand workers, union labor is represented in a variety of professions throughout the world of entertainment. And Los Angeles is most certainly the entertainment capital of the world.

Whether a local or on vacation in our sunny city, these are some of the most famed spots in the world, let alone L.A.

In no particular order, we give you our ten favorite labor-friendly entertainment venues in L.A.:

Universal Studios Hollywood: Love movies? This is where you want to be. Guests are immersed in the blockbusters that have rocked your socks off over the years. Get to know Shrek, King Kong, the dinos of Jurassic Park, Transformers and a lot more.

Union: Unite Here!

By Michael Messina

Here at Labor 411, we’re always looking for another reason to have a celebration. As it turns out, July is both National Hot Dog Month and National Ice Cream Month! Not to mention July 23 is National Hot Dog Day.

bowl of ice creamIn 2012, consumers spent more than $1.7 billion on hot dogs in U.S. supermarkets, with Los Angeles coming in as the number one hot-dog-consuming city in the U.S. (over 95 million consumed). So we thought we’d give you some union-made options to help you figure out what salty selection to grill up and what sweet sensation to scoop up.

By Sahid Fawaz

1. Anti-worker actions:  Hostess has made it clear that it will take and take from workers without benefit to them or the company as a whole.

As the Daily Kos notes, “unionized Hostess workers made major concessions, taking pay and benefits cuts. That money was supposed to be reinvested into the company. It wasn’t.”

But that’s not all. Hostess also diverted funds from workers’ pension funds. According to the Huffington Post, “Money taken out of workers’ paychecks, intended for their retirement funds, was used for company operations instead.”