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September 6th, 2010
12:49 PM ET

On Today's Labor Day Show: September 6, 2010

THE BIG I: It's the stuff you once saw on "Back to the Future" but the future is NOW if Nike has their way! Our Big I today takes a look at self-lacing shoes. Yes–you read this right, shoes that lace themselves! They aren't quite ready for wear yet but the patent is in the works. You can check out more here and here!

CHALK TALK: On this show, we are committed to bringing you solutions to big problems...especially those in schools. Orpheus Crutchfield is joining us today. He is the President of Strategenius, an organization devoted to improving the conditions for black education in America. He focuses specifically on teachers and role models. You can read all about his organization here.

TIME NOW FOR THE XYZ OF IT...It's Labor Day and SOME people – clearly – ARE working today. Let me take a minute to talk about Labor Day. The first observance of Labor Day appears to have been a parade on September 5th, 1882 in New York City. By 1893, more than half the states were observing a labor day of sorts and a year later, Congress passed a bill making the first Monday in September as Labor Day. Now, other than being the last REAL day of summer, at least for school kids, the beginning of the campaign season, and the last day your can wear white and seersucker in some parts of the country, what does it stand for today? Well, let’s start with the obvious. We're celebrating labor. Let me give you some stats about our labor force, by the numbers:

  • 150 MILLION: the approximate number of people in America, between the ages of 16 and 65, who are actively working or seeking work in this country.
  • 83: the percentage of full-time workers that get health insurance through their jobs.
  • 78: the percentage of workers in private industry who get paid vacation.
  • 100: the percentage of government workers that get paid vacation.
  • 7.6 MILLION: the number of workers who hold down more than one job; "moonlighters" make up 5% of the working population.
  • 284,000: the number of people who actually hold down TWO FULL-TIME jobs.
  • 4.1: the median number of years workers have been with their current employer. About 10% of U.S. workers have been with their employer for 20 years or longer.
  • 16 MILLION: the number of labor union members nationwide. About 12% of wage and salary workers belong to a union, with Alaska, Hawaii and New York having among the highest rates of any state. North Carolina has one of the lowest rates, 3 percent.
  • 5.9 MILLION: the number of people who work from home.

Finally, while we've come a long way from the first labor day, we still have some distance to travel. My last two numbers:

  • $46,000: The median earnings for full-time, year round male workers in America.
  • The earnings for women? About $36,000

That's my XYZ.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Chalk Talk • The Big I • XYZ
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Walter Yeates

    I agree that teachers should be from different cultures, but this group Crutchfield is running doesn't give the tagline, "We want teachers from all cultures." It only speaks of black male teachers...

    That bothers me, I'm multiracial and again I do agree with more teachers from different cultures being needed, but what about Philippine, Japanese, Hispanic, European, Jewish and other cultures being represented?

    It gets old just hearing groups speak about one race, then when interviewed pretend they are trying to help all groups.

    September 6, 2010 at 1:16 pm |
  2. Grace Weber

    Democrats may have their work cut out for them but you are misleading the American public by stating over and over again that the Republicans have a leg up because quite personally I believe they are about as do nothing a group as the democrats are wimps. The republicans are not going to change their philosophy overnjight or change the way they govern which absolutely is what has caused this whole entire meltdown and the democrats squandered opportunities to sit it straight.

    September 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm |
  3. j thomas

    I would think that an educated person such as Mr. Crutchfield would have his facts correct before stating them on a national news program. I am a teacher and I have never had an eight month work year. I have about 2 and 1/2 months off during the summer months. In the 09/10 school year my last day of classes was June 29th and I will begin working officially on 9/07/10. During the year I have approximately a week for winter recess and a week for spring recess. During my "time off", I attended two weeks of full day workshops to learn new techniques and strategies to better help students succeed. Many of my colleagues attended full time classes for 4 weeks. I also have been working a week on my "on time" to prepare my classroom for the current year. This and more is the norm for a teacher in our country. I am not complaining about it, however I truly resent that the true facts are being twisted and misrepresented. Teaching is not a 9 to 3 – 8 month a year job. If anyone enters the teaching profession under this impression they will not succeed and will not be able to help our children succeed.

    September 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Janet

    I don't get it! Why does cable news continue to give the impression that the Dems are on the way out? We have a President who was elected with an overwhelming majority and has worked hard to make good on his campaign promises despite the very obvious position the Republicans took from the first day of his presidency to do whatever possible to make him fail. Is this what our government is all about? Polls show that most Americans blame the GOP for the deep hole our country is in economically, yet you keep telling us on that the GOP will take the mid term elections by a landslide. You are not hearing what most Americans are thinking abd November will prove you wrong in your calculations.

    I am sick and tired of your commentaries. Don't try to color my thinking with your absurd projections. May God have mercy on our country and the middle class if somehow the radical tea party candidates get into office. I don't want to be around to see the likes of the big mouths i.e. Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Glenn Beck and the like who have nothing to offer but fear and meaningless talk. We remember too well what the Bush Administration did for us - we won't let that happen again. We finally have an intelligent President. God Bless President Obama.

    September 6, 2010 at 1:40 pm |
  5. Steve Weber

    After watching your interview with Orpheus Crutchfield, the President of Strategenius regarding the lack of Black men in education, I am compelled to respond. It isn’t just a lack of Black men, but a lack of all men (of all races) in education. I am an early childhood special education teacher (white male), and have been for 28 years. I am one of a very few male early education teachers in the state of Minnesota. In my elementary school, of 18 teachers, there are 3 males. In early elementary grades men comprise less than 5% of all teachers. Why? I can speculate it is because of low pay, lack of prestige, and few male role models in early elementary grades. If you look at the cost of a teaching degree; 4 and in some cases 5 years to complete, and then compare the starting salary for a new teacher versus a business manager, it is pitiful. I would argue that Mr. Crutchfield’s example of a starting salary in the ‘40’s’ is high (in Minnesota, it is more likely to be in the 30’s). I also take issue with the notion that teacher’s only work, “…eight months a year…”. There is not a teacher I know that has not devoted countless hours of his/her personal time both before and after school and have worked diligently during ‘those off months’ to continue their education by taking additional classes and attending workshops and training to improve their teaching skills.

    Dr. Steve Weber, Ed.D
    Early Childhood Special Education

    September 6, 2010 at 2:02 pm |
  6. Steven

    I always enjoy Ali Velshi's work. Folks, if you have a living wage, any employment benefits beyond that basic wage (including health insurance), safety regulations at work and overtime pay, THANK A UNION! Some of these practices have become a part of American labor law, but only because of the sacrifices of millions of union members who built a vigorous middle class that has been disappearing with the erosion of labor since 1947. Good for the landlord class, but not for those who actually produce goods and provide services.

    I hope CNN will step with programs and unequivocal denunciations of the proposed Florida book burnings (anyone remember "Fahrenheit 451" or the German bonfires of the 1930's?). Ironically, Muslims are now facing any of the very obstacles their Jewish cousins faced a century ago: a monotheistic, Semitic-language speaking people whose orthodox men wear beards, eat kosher foods and oppose many of the excesses of drugs and sex the dominant Christian culture that demonizes them also opposes. There are also ominous parallels with the treatment of Japanese-Americans after Pearl Harbor.
    Come on, America! How many times do we have to make the same mistakes that will embarrass us for decades to come?

    September 6, 2010 at 2:38 pm |
  7. Jan Dickan

    This comment is for Ali Velshi. RE: Jobs

    I have been hearing comments that the large businesses are sitting on trillions but are too afraid to hire. I have not seen any interviews with the CEOs regarding what type of climate would make them feel comfortable.

    The headlines keep asking the administration what they are going to do about the jobs. I think they have done everything they can possible do (saving Teacher, policeman and infrastructure jobs – Bush wanted to sell our bridges and ports to other countries to manage). it now up to the companies to their part for being in this country. Some say we cannot raise their taxes because they do the hiring but they do the hiring overseas. So we pay taxes, they get tax breaks and they hire in China and India or they use visas to bring workers over here. I think this might be an area to look into.

    September 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm |