Socialism: ideas so good, they have to be mandatory.
I can’t help but think of this mantra as we approach the first Monday in September. Labor Day is the worst day of all the days. I hate Labor Day. The only positive aspect of this garbage holiday is that it proves the philosophical failings of Marx.
Some people enjoy taking the day off — I do in general, but not this one. Maybe I would if I actually got paid for it. This was a popular concern in the late 1800s when unions started pushing for the annual march that would eventually evolve into this beloved communist celebration. Many workers were unable to sacrifice their day’s wages, so unions lobbied to obligate certain industries to provide them anyway.
In response, Oregon became the first state to declare Labor Day a public holiday in 1887, and Grover Cleveland declared it a federal holiday in 1894.
Thus, federal employees are entitled to paid time off for Labor Day. Not private employees, though; that depends on the company and the benefits it offers. But I’ve never been a federal employee, and I’ve never been paid for taking Labor Day off nor allowed to spend the day at work regardless.
I haven’t been at my job long enough to qualify for holiday pay, and our building will be locked on Monday, costing me eight hours of precious income. I have a wife and small family; I need every hour I can get. Instead, I’m forced to celebrate workers’ rights by being forbidden from working.
Two seemingly contradictory rates of employment are on the rise in America: the amount of time employees spend in each job and the employees’ desire to start another one. Why do people stay somewhere longer than they would like when they want to leave even more than they used to? According to a 2012 report in Time, 60% of workers stay at their jobs for the benefits, the third most common reason behind enjoying the work and feeling that it fits well with other areas of their life (both 67%). But the top two reasons indicate workers who feel satisfied in their current position, so we might infer that the biggest motivator for those who dislike their jobs yet continue is the benefits. If we leave, we’ll have to start the clock over as we wait for PTO.
Now there are two questions I’m sure some of you will have: 1) Isn’t this an argument for more benefits (to keep workers satisfied) and not less? 2) Why hate Labor Day more than any other federal holiday that forces you to take time off and lose money?
I don’t blame private businesses for not offering holiday pay for every single employee — it would be financial suicide. As such, they have no reasonable choice but to limit benefits to workers putting in a certain amount of hours per week for a certain amount of months. No, I take issue with the Marxist mindset of America that our bosses owe us this time off, forcing even most private companies to close for the day, marginalizing those of us who don’t yet qualify for benefits. I’m fine with 98% of my co-workers taking the day off, but don’t lock me out; some of us actually want to work holidays, but we can’t.
That brings me to point number two: why I only hate Labor Day. I hate this holiday because of its oblivious irony. I gladly take time off from work to celebrate America’s independence, the sacrifice of the military, or the birth of the Savior by doing things related to that day — visiting cemeteries, spending time with family, singing carols, finding ways to serve others, and more. Taking time off in general is extremely beneficial for health, morale, and social interaction.
But I hate Labor Day because I’m forced to take the day off in celebration of the thing I’m forbidden to do: work. Get paid. Feel the satisfaction of a job well done, particularly one I didn’t like doing in the first place but I persevered and succeeded. I don’t actually have any transcendent principle or event to memorialize; it’s essentially just an extra Saturday. In celebrating workers’ rights, this worker has his right to work taken away by the Marxist’s veto.
So thanks a lot, socialist geniuses, for finding yet another way to squander my paycheck. Like the good little capitalist I am, I enjoy working and reaping the reward. And as a constitutional conservative, I value even more my right to associate with whom I please and form the contracts I desire with a consenting partner, no third party. If you have to force yourself in the middle of my interaction with my employer, then maybe your philosophy isn’t very attractive. Unions profess to be about workers’ rights but actually stifle them, which is why we call areas without mandatory union laws “right to work” states.
Marxists who claim to be helping, please don’t. Respect my right to work, my right to get paid for my labor as defined by my employment contract, and my right to ignore your stupid communist holiday and earn an honest living.
Richie Angel is a Co-Editor in Chief of The New Guards. Follow him and The New Guards on Twitter, and check out The New Guards on Facebook.
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