UNEMPLOYMENT STATS FORCE LABOR DAY CANCELLATION
WASHINGTON - This year’s Labor Day holiday has been abruptly cancelled, a victim of the latest searing unemployment statistics and a sense that the traditional family holiday's name has become ironic. A coalition of big business, labor unions, and the United States Government announced that future Labor Days have been put on a wait-and-see status, as unemployment continues to climb, job opportunity stagnates, and the American middle class dries up and blows away.
Senator Arno Kinglsey (R-WVA) said, "We came to the conclusion that celebrating Labor Day without labor is like celebrating Christmas without...maybe that's not such a good comparison...Let's just say that it's a 'why bother?' situation."
The announcement was met with strident shrugs by both ends of the economic spectrum. “I’ve been out of work since January of 2009, and it’s a struggle just to keep the water running in our place,” said Plano, Texas resident Jim Bowers, 56, whose disability claim was dismissed after his employer, a huge regional baker, gave up on safety standards. “How can you have a Labor Day barbecue when you can’t afford matches?
Olwein, Iowa homemaker Carol Diggs, 40, whose eviction is ten days away and her own unemployment insurance dried up, said that Labor Day, once a celebration of work, family, and the end of summer, now makes her “suicidal.”
“I just sold the family dog and a prosthetic leg on Ebay,” she said. “I heard congress had to have its arm twisted just to add another few months to people’s benefits. That’s encouraging news, I guess. Right?”
Some congressional leaders were strident about the cancellation. “Labor Day has been an American tradition for generations. But I draw the line at celebrating a group of people who are too spoiled by the system to get a real job,” said Michelle Bachmann (R-MN). “Labor has always been a thorn in the side of this country. America wasn’t built on handouts,” she said as she departed for a Minneapolis fundraising dinner.
Charles Hotetz, an executive for Citicorp, defended the business sector’s cutting full-time employees to part-time and shipping its accounting and customer service lines to the Philippines. “Look, most of us took substantial decreases in our bonuses and summer home reimbursements because of federal restrictions on the huge rescue loans we were given. That’s socialism.” Hotetz has instead tried to motivate the company’s remaining workforce with positive reinforcement. “I tell my people, ‘listen, if we had to give you benefits and a pension you wouldn’t have a job.’”
Some members of Congress leveled the blame directly at American citizens. “By a narrow margin, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle extended unemployment benefits for 90 days. If that isn’t enough for people to get a job, what is?” asked congressman Kyle Tishman (R-NH). “Where’s the gratitude?”
Much of the labor crisis has also crept up into the corporate boardrooms of America’s top companies. Fannie Mae financial officer Jeff Pence chartered a private jet to take is 10-year-old son and two friends to a Tampa Bay Rays game. “It’s terrible,” he said. “Last year we had Arnie Morton’s serve dinner onboard, but things are so tough this year we’re just going with Chipotle. I empathize with everyone who’s been hit by this economic downturn, believe me.”
Not all the news concerning Labor Day’s cancellation was bad. American flag manufacturers in Beijing noted a jump in orders, and “Ricky,” a tech specialist at a Dell Computer call center in Tibet, reported that they’ve never been busier. “Many callers are job seekers having problems from smashing their heads on their keyboards. We can help.”
Jim Bowers was philosophical. “We’re just staying home and watching videos of our 2003 Labor Day barbecue. We’ll make do. Jan’s going to fry some bologna.”