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时间:2011-05-16 05:44来源:互联网 提供网友:hc721067   字体: [ ]

  Monday September 6 is Labor1 Day in the United States, a day set aside to honor American workers and the dignity of labor. The organized labor movement of the late 19th century that spawned2 the national holiday has waxed and waned3 over the years.
Many Americans view Labor Day as a welcome end-of-summer three-day weekend to spend at the beach or the barbecue pit.
But the first Labor Day observance was in New York City in 1882. It was intended as a celebration of the strength and spirit of labor and trade. U.S. President Grover Cleveland proposed the first Monday in September be a national holiday, rather than May Day, which had more radical4 associations, and it became law in 1894.
最先庆祝劳工节的地方是纽约,时间是1882年9月5日,当时是为了庆祝各界劳工的力量与精神。1887年,美国总统克里夫兰(Grover Cleveland)提议每年9月的第一个星期一为劳工节,这项建议在1894年获得国会批准而成为法律。
"It is the only national holiday that we have that commemorates5 the contributions of a particular segment of society - working people," explained Historian Joshua Freeman of the City University of New York.
纽约市立大学历史学家乔舒亚·弗里曼(Joshua Freeman)指出,美国劳工节纪念的是劳动者为国家所做的贡献,而不是社会矛盾和冲突。弗里曼说:“劳工节是美国唯一的一个专门纪念社会某一特定群体所做贡献的国家纪念日,纪念对象是劳动人民。”
Freeman says America's labor force changed dramatically over the years with the rise of steam power and the abolition6 of slavery.
"The United States had an industrial economy that grew rapidly in the 19th century, especially after our Civil War in the 1860s - steel mills and iron mills and railroads and huge textile mills - some of them employing thousands of workers in a single facility," said Freeman. "And this growth of manufacturing transformed not only the economy, but [also] the whole nation and the communities and the politics and culture of the country."
Freeman says labor had a difficult time organizing those industries. Corporations sensed higher wages and shorter working hours would erode7 company profits and complicate8 managing production.
Union labor's golden age begins
Many strikes turned violent as worker frustrations9 mounted. But historian Joshua Freedman says from the turn of the 20th century through the 1930s, America's organized labor movement grew.
"And, of course, the big breakthroughs came in the 1930s, when the giant companies, the GMs, the Fords, the U.S. Steels were finally unionized after years and years of trying to do so," added Freeman. "And that really made the labor movement central to American society - to its economy, to its politics. And, of course, it tremendously upgraded the standard of living of American workers. They suddenly got weekends off. They started being able to buy homes, to buy cars, [and] to send their kids to college, to take vacations, to retire. These were things that, at the beginning the 20th century, a working person could not do. But by the end of the 20th century, they were almost taken for granted."
Many corporations came to realize prosperous workers stimulate11 economic growth by creating a consumer class that buys houses, cars and other goods.
Freeman says the three decades following World War II were a "golden age" for U.S. labor unions. He adds that by the early-1950s, a third of American workers were union members.
"[Union members were] still a minority, but they were in key locations of the economy, the templates and power centers - the steel industry, the auto12 industry, the coal industry, transportation [and] construction," explained Freeman. "So their social weight transcended13 even their large numbers. That is no longer true today. We are a very different economy and a much weaker labor movement. Today the template for American capitalism14 is more Wal-Mart than GM or Ford10 and that is a low wage, non-union approach to running a business."
他说:“虽然还是少数,但工会成员却遍布美国经济举足轻重的关键部门 - 钢铁、汽车、煤炭、运输和建筑等各个领域。他们不但人数众多,影响力更大。然而事到如今这种盛况却已是时过境迁了,我们今天的经济完全不同,劳工运动的势力也大不如前了。美国资本主义今天更多是靠沃尔玛(Wal-Mart)这样的低薪、没有工会的企业来驱动,而不是靠通用汽车或福特汽车等工会组织完善的大企业了。”
Unions begin decline
Union membership has declined dramatically since the 1970s. The recession of that decade meant jobs were harder to find, so people were more willing to take lower-wage, non-union jobs. Meanwhile, the growth of international competition forced American companies to cut costs to maintain profits, and they have hired workers abroad at non-union wages and closed U.S. factories. Many firms have merged15 into international corporations with production facilities in parts of the world where costs are lower.
Changing demographics also played a role. U.S. population growth shifted to the South and Southwest, where union membership has been lower than elsewhere in the country.
Today, labor organizers are recruiting immigrants, much as they did a century ago.
Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations political scientist Janice Fine says organized labor has historically vacillated between solidarity16 and fear that immigrants will work for lower wages and bring down living standards for all Americans. At other times, Fine says organized labor has fostered solidarity among all workers.
罗格斯大学(Rutgers University)管理与劳工关系学院政治学家贾尼斯·法恩(Janice Fine)说,从历史上看,工会组织有时号召团结,有时又担心移民会接受低薪工作,影响美国人的生活水准。但总体而言,美国工会增加了工友们的团结。
"What labor movements have concluded is that low wage immigrant workers have become a real source of vitality17 in the labor movement throughout the world because they have been keen to organize. Very often, they are in relationship with each other; they have very often migrated with their home communities, and there is a willingness on the part of these workers to take risks to better their situation," noted18 Fine.
The future of American unions remains19 unclear. In 2010, the number of public sector20 union members far surpassed their counterparts in the private sector.
Government unions have come under increasingly sharp criticism by some conservatives who say that big government is largely to blame for the current recession. They say government workers enjoy expensive salaries and benefits that outstrip21 those enjoyed by the corporate22 labor force. Janice Fine disagrees.
"It is confusing to me because studies show that public sector wages are not out of whack23 with public sector wages," added Fine. "And, in fact, white collar public sector workers are paid much less than their private sector counterparts. The idea that somehow we are going to hold teachers and cops and firefighters and blue collar sanitation24 workers responsible for this much larger problem in the economy just seems really sad."


1 labor P9Tzs     
  • We are never late in satisfying him for his labor.我们从不延误付给他劳动报酬。
  • He was completely spent after two weeks of hard labor.艰苦劳动两周后,他已经疲惫不堪了。
2 spawned f3659a6561090f869f5f32f7da4b950e     
(鱼、蛙等)大量产(卵)( spawn的过去式和过去分词 ); 大量生产
  • The band's album spawned a string of hit singles. 这支乐队的专辑繁衍出一连串走红的单曲唱片。
  • The computer industry has spawned a lot of new companies. 由于电脑工业的发展,许多新公司纷纷成立。
3 waned 8caaa77f3543242d84956fa53609f27c     
v.衰落( wane的过去式和过去分词 );(月)亏;变小;变暗淡
  • However,my enthusiasm waned.The time I spent at exercises gradually diminished. 然而,我的热情减退了。我在做操上花的时间逐渐减少了。 来自《用法词典》
  • The bicycle craze has waned. 自行车热已冷下去了。 来自《现代汉英综合大词典》
4 radical hA8zu     
  • The patient got a radical cure in the hospital.病人在医院得到了根治。
  • She is radical in her demands.她的要求十分偏激。
5 commemorates 2532fde2cc2fc50498c9f4d2a88d0add     
n.纪念,庆祝( commemorate的名词复数 )v.纪念,庆祝( commemorate的第三人称单数 )
  • A tombstone is erected in memory of whoever it commemorates. 墓碑是为纪念它所纪念的人而建的。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • A tablet commemorates his patriotic activities. 碑文铭记他的爱国行动。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
6 abolition PIpyA     
  • They declared for the abolition of slavery.他们声明赞成废除奴隶制度。
  • The abolition of the monarchy was part of their price.废除君主制是他们的其中一部分条件。
7 erode NmUyX     
  • Once exposed,soil is quickly eroded by wind and rain.一旦暴露在外,土壤很快就会被风雨侵蚀。
  • Competition in the financial marketplace has eroded profits.金融市场的竞争降低了利润。
8 complicate zX1yA     
  • There is no need to complicate matters.没有必要使问题复杂化。
  • These events will greatly complicate the situation.这些事件将使局势变得极其复杂。
9 frustrations 7d9e374b9e145ebadbaa8704f2c615e5     
挫折( frustration的名词复数 ); 失败; 挫败; 失意
  • The temptation would grow to take out our frustrations on Saigon. 由于我们遭到挫折而要同西贡算帐的引诱力会增加。
  • Aspirations will be raised, but so will frustrations. 人们会产生种种憧憬,但是种种挫折也会随之而来。
10 Ford KiIxx     
  • They were guarding the bridge,so we forded the river.他们驻守在那座桥上,所以我们只能涉水过河。
  • If you decide to ford a stream,be extremely careful.如果已决定要涉过小溪,必须极度小心。
11 stimulate wuSwL     
  • Your encouragement will stimulate me to further efforts.你的鼓励会激发我进一步努力。
  • Success will stimulate the people for fresh efforts.成功能鼓舞人们去作新的努力。
12 auto ZOnyW     
  • Don't park your auto here.别把你的汽车停在这儿。
  • The auto industry has brought many people to Detroit.汽车工业把许多人吸引到了底特律。
13 transcended a7a0e6bdf6a24ce6bdbaf8c2ffe3d3b7     
超出或超越(经验、信念、描写能力等)的范围( transcend的过去式和过去分词 ); 优于或胜过…
  • He wanted assurance that he had transcended what was inherently ambiguous. 他要证明,他已经超越了本来就是混淆不清的事情。
  • It transcended site to speak to universal human concerns. 它超越了场所的局限,表达了人类共同的心声。
14 capitalism er4zy     
  • The essence of his argument is that capitalism cannot succeed.他的论点的核心是资本主义不能成功。
  • Capitalism began to develop in Russia in the 19th century.十九世纪资本主义在俄国开始发展。
15 merged d33b2d33223e1272c8bbe02180876e6f     
(使)混合( merge的过去式和过去分词 ); 相融; 融入; 渐渐消失在某物中
  • Turf wars are inevitable when two departments are merged. 两个部门合并时总免不了争争权限。
  • The small shops were merged into a large market. 那些小商店合并成为一个大商场。
16 solidarity ww9wa     
  • They must preserve their solidarity.他们必须维护他们的团结。
  • The solidarity among China's various nationalities is as firm as a rock.中国各族人民之间的团结坚如磐石。
17 vitality lhAw8     
  • He came back from his holiday bursting with vitality and good health.他度假归来之后,身强体壮,充满活力。
  • He is an ambitious young man full of enthusiasm and vitality.他是个充满热情与活力的有远大抱负的青年。
18 noted 5n4zXc     
  • The local hotel is noted for its good table.当地的那家酒店以餐食精美而著称。
  • Jim is noted for arriving late for work.吉姆上班迟到出了名。
19 remains 1kMzTy     
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
20 sector yjczYn     
  • The export sector will aid the economic recovery. 出口产业将促进经济复苏。
  • The enemy have attacked the British sector.敌人已进攻英国防区。
21 outstrip MJ6xM     
  • He can outstrip his friend both in sports and in studies.他能在体育和学习方面胜过他的朋友。
  • It is possible for us to outstrip the advanced countries in the world.我们能超过世界上先进的国家。
22 corporate 7olzl     
  • This is our corporate responsibility.这是我们共同的责任。
  • His corporate's life will be as short as a rabbit's tail.他的公司的寿命是兔子尾巴长不了。
23 whack kMKze     
  • After years of dieting,Carol's metabolism was completely out of whack.经过数年的节食,卡罗尔的新陈代谢完全紊乱了。
  • He gave me a whack on the back to wake me up.他为把我弄醒,在我背上猛拍一下。
24 sanitation GYgxE     
  • The location is exceptionally poor,viewed from the sanitation point.从卫生角度来看,这个地段非常糟糕。
  • Many illnesses are the result,f inadequate sanitation.许多疾病都来源于不健全的卫生设施。
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