The story of the Labor Movement is filled with millions of stories, many of which are never reported. This week, an extraordinarly one was.
Yesterday, two members of Sheet Metal Workers Local 17 in Boston were honored for rescuing a commuter who had fallen onto the train tracks at Boston's North Station.
The commuter, a man in his mid 50's, had stumbled off the platform and fallen five feet onto the tracks with his arms resting inches away from the 600 volt third rail.
The two sheet metal workers, A.J. Pugliese, Jr. and Robert Johnson, Jr. heard the shouts for help from several commuters standing on the platform. In a video released by the MBTA, the two men are seen springing into action while risking their own safety by crossing the electrified third rail and dragging the unconscious commuter to safety.
It's extraordinary stories like this that happen every day. Of course, with Labor Day coming up we risk hearing less about the extroardinary stories of ordinary citizens like Pugliese and Johnnson, and more about the blitz of television ads attacking the men and women of the labor movement.
In fact, Saxby Chambliss got elected to the US Senate running attack ads distorting Max Cleland and his support for working people as being weak on terror.
The same people who attacked Cleland and are attacking the Employee Free Choice Act and its supporters are the same people who fought the minimum wage, 40-hour work week, child labor laws, and health and safety standards for all workers. They are the same people who fought for the low safety standards that have cost us too many lives in the California farm fields.
The same people running the attack ads on working people and the Democratic Party are the same people who ignored the firefighters, cops and construction workers who sacrificed their own time and in cases cases much more to help their fellow citizens. Whiile they were rescuing their fellow Americans, sleazy opportunists like Tom Delay were busy sending out fundraising letters blaming unions for the terrorist attacks.
One thing Tom Delay and his right wing cronies don't have to worry about is whether or not a union firefighter or even construction worker would help them if they ever got into a jam. It's that kind of selflessness that we need to honor on Labor Day, not the right wing smears that will be thrown at the labor movement.