Great Labor Day quote

I was pleased to receive your Labor Day greetings (“How wealth is created,” editorial, PWW 9/1-7). The quote you started with is one of my absolute favorites, perhaps second only to Eugene Debs’ “As long as there’s a lower class, I’m in it …” I use Lincoln’s “labor quote” at the end of my poem “Soylent Greed” to further illustrate my point.

Soylent Greed

I stand
with the “Little Man”
upon whose back
the balance
of America stands,
whose blood, sweat, tears
and humiliation
are the raw materials used
to create the Wealth of
Money cannot
plant or reap,
drive steel, make cars,
sew clothes, kill meat.
do not assemble
themselves at the whim
of those with the means
to invest in them.
Vast fortunes
cannot be amassed
by any single man.
Workers are the engine
that generate the profit
that one, alone, never can.
But the engine of industry
operates by consuming
human “resources” —
people —
the collateral damage
of unregulated capitalism
and is considered a necessary evil
by those who feed on their
fellow men
via gluttonous economic
yet have the nerve to proclaim themselves
shining examples of American entrepreneurism.
“Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” — A. Lincoln

Thank you again for your greetings. Labor Day greetings to you also.

Vi Ransel
New York NY

Nursing home reform

In the “Letters” section of the Labor Day issue (PWW 9/1-7) was a letter concerning health care reform by a writer from Houston who indicated he was searching for a union entity trying to unionize nursing home workers in Texas.

My wife works in the health care industry as well and has also complained of the very issues which concern the letter writer. Many of the organizations my wife has worked for as a CNA/CMA have repeatedly failed state and federal health inspections. There have been numerous occurrences of theft and mistreatment of elderly residents that have gone unnoticed or have been deliberately ignored. We, as a working-class family, share in the letter writer’s concerns.

As a member of HCWA/USW Local 11228, I wish to relate that the USW helps health care workers to organize under the Health Care Workers Council. According to the USW web site (, the Health Care Workers Council offers education and training, research and wage analysis, assistance for collective bargaining and contract campaigns, and excellent communication.

I hope that this information is useful to health care workers willing to organize.

Mike Linaweaver
McPherson KS

End poverty!

Is the South Asia monsoon a harbinger of things to come and will we be ready the next time around? The perennial monsoon floods that have devastated parts of Bangladesh, India and Nepal are said to be the worst in 30 years. The death toll has surpassed 2,200. Meanwhile, the event made over 20 million people homeless and has resulted in massive crop failure — ensuring hunger, poverty and homelessness for millions of men, women and children in South Asia for some time to come.

The related flooding is particularly dangerous for children. With many completely cut off from clean water, ingesting floodwater laden with assorted kinds of contaminants is unavoidable. It has resulted in widespread diarrhea. Diarrhea is one of the most deadly and common killers of poor people, especially the young ones.

The monsoon season goes through September and more flooding is expected.

All considered, this year’s flood could and should be a wake up call. With global warming now an obvious reality and the gradual melt of the Himalayas happening, the displacement of people, caused by rising waters, is more difficult than ever with which to deal. Therefore, governments not preparing for it can only be construed as cruel, selfish or foolhardy.

Meanwhile, the United States, as the richest and most developed country in the world, has a moral and humanitarian obligation to help the poor regions of the world. As such, the U.S. should scrap its “war on terror” and its militarism that only benefits the arms industry, while solely representing attempts to control oil and other resources outside of the U.S. The war on terror should be replaced with a Global War on Poverty.

Brian McAfee
Muskegon MI

Free Jena 6 actions

On Sept. 20, we expect more than 2,000 ColorOfChange members to come to Jena, La., to protest the sentencing of Mychal Bell, the first of the Jena 6 to be convicted. We’re organizing a national Day of Action for that day, so you can help take the rally, and the issue, beyond Jena and into communities all across the country. The first step is to get a “Free the Jena 6” T-shirt to wear, at

Over 130,000 members have taken action on behalf of the Jena 6 so far. Tens of thousands of you wearing these shirts on the 20th will be an action in itself, but there will be more that you can do.

Closer to the 20th, we’ll be providing flyers that you can download and hand out to people who ask about your shirt; you can also post them in local businesses, cafes and other places. Building word-of-mouth awareness is critical; it’s the reason so many of you have already taken action and why more people join this fight every day.

On the Day of Action, we’ll also ask you to flood Louisiana state officials and agencies — particularly those who care about the state’s reputation and who have influence on the governor — with phone calls. And we will publicize not only the action happening in Jena, but the local actions you take, broadening the coverage, and making it clear that there’s national support for these young men.

Again, thank you again for working to support the Jena 6. Together, we will make a difference. team
Via e-mail