By Guest Blogger Ashley Beard-Fosnow

A couple of nasty bugs are going around in our neck of the woods. I was awoken one night last week by the sentence I dread hearing most, “Mommy, I feel sick.” — followed by 24 hours of vomiting. I try to keep the medicine cabinet stocked for just this occasion. The following is a great list of Union Made products from the Labor 411 Directory to cure whatever ails you:

1.    Workers’ real incomes are declining

Americans are working harder and more hours than ever, yet their real incomes have been in decline over the last decade and have not moved up at all over the last twenty years.  Without the negotiating power that comes from collective bargaining, many workers simply don’t have the leverage to stop the decline of their purchasing power – even as their productivity increases and their employers get richer.

real income

By Michael Messina

I am a beer drinker. I like the tastes and aesthetic qualities that make up a good pint of ale, lager, porter, whatever. I got a book on beer for Christmas one year, but that doesn’t make me a connoisseur or beer professor by any means. For example, picking out subtle notes of exotic spices is not something I pride myself on, but I do appreciate the way a beer smells as I drink it.

Begrudgingly, my personal taste tends to conflict with a few of the mainstream brews that we promote as “union made” here at Labor 411. Will I drink a Budweiser or Miller? Of course, when the situation is right, like if it’s ice-cold and I’m floating down the river with the sun scorching and my cares to the wind, or if I’m washing down a salty hot dog at the ball park. On those occasions I’m game, but when I’m out with my buds (pun definitely intended) I prefer to have the barmaid draw me a pint with more of a micro-brew personality.

Looking for some great inspirational quotes and words of wisdom about the labor movement? We’ve put together twenty-five of our favorite from activists, presidents, and more!

“Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower

“You are never strong enough that you don’t need help.” – Cesar Chavez (image)

“Every piece of progressive social legislation passed by Congress in the 20th century bears a union label.” – George Meany

The Westin

By Ashley Beard-Fosnow

If we purchase Union Made, we support the true American spirit of opportunity for people. Buying Union-made products provides more good jobs for our citizens, which in turn means more tax dollars for our schools, roads, and services like police, fire departments, and public health programs. Additionally, buying Union-made sends a displeased message to businesses who exploit workers overseas.

by Sahid Fawaz 1. Norma Rae  Nominated for a number of Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this 1979 film focuses on the organizing efforts of a textile factory worker in a small town in North Carolina. A moving and heartfelt film, Norma Rae is one of the most definitive union films ever produced. Not to mention…

by Sahid Fawaz We at Labor 411 love trivia. And we love the labor movement, of course. So we thought we’d combine the two and share you with some Labor Day trivia as we approach the big celebration on Monday! 1.New York City was the first city to celebrate Labor Day. It did so in…

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.

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.