Happy Labor Day

It’s Labor Day in the US right now and so we have the day off from work. Or hubby does. He spent all night binging on Netflix’s Jack Ryan and so he’s still asleep at 1:30 pm. But that’s fine. I don’t do binges only because I feel so punchdrunk the day after.

The last show I ever binged on was HBO’s Carnivale so many years ago and I’ll never forget the feeling after everything was said and done. I should have added a few drinks to go along with it if I’d known.

Anyway, today got me thinking about the importance of unions and how many of the things we take for granted like 5-day work weeks, safer workplaces, higher wages, and so many more were made possible because of unions.

One of my uncles still refuses to speak to his wife’s cousins more than twenty years after she crossed the picket line during a teacher strike. I could never really understand it until I started working at a hospital through a third party agency. While the hospital enjoyed certain union benefits, we didn’t because we weren’t part of the union.

But I can never forget how I finally understood the importance of unions. It’s the BBC 2004 mini-series, North and South based on the industrial era novel by Elizabeth Gaskell.


The first time I saw it was when my son was about two years old and I was sleeping on the couch because I had a bad case of then-undiagnosed bronchitis. I couldn’t sleep and so I was Youtube-surfing and came across a scene on a train that involved a swoon-worthy kiss.

That led me to the BBC mini-series and after I finished it, although I was swooning over “the kiss,” I wanted to know more about the conflict between the union workers and the industrial owners like the hero, John Thornton. And so I watched it again, paying attention to the subplot of the striking millworkers and the Irish strike-bearers who’d come to take their place.

If you haven’t seen BBC’s North and South starring Richard Armitage and Danielle Denby-Ashe (not the Civil War mini-series about the brothers who find themselves on the opposite sides of the Civil War), I highly recommend it. It doesn’t have the witty repartee of Austen or the humor of Dickens, but it’s classic Gaskell whose husband was a minister who tended to the industrial workers in Northern England during the Industrial Revolution. So she knew what she was talking about when she wrote about the plight of union workers, of cotton lung, and the miserable conditions of the time.

I’ve also read the book which had originally been serialized in Dickens’ weekly magazine and it’s one of my favorites. The Northern dialect still stumps me though, whether in the book or in the mini-series, but it only cements Gaskell’s knowledge of her surroundings. I did write a long not-exactly-just-a-review about it on one of my old blog here.

One of my other favorite things about the series is the soundtrack.

Anyway, I hope you all are having a great Monday!

Published by Liz

Romance me writes stories with happy endings while my naughty pen writes the naughty ones. I also accidentally step on Legos daily while balancing my cup of tea and biscuits.

9 thoughts on “Happy Labor Day

  1. You so seldom mention your husband. Glad he enjoyed his Jack Ryan binge. I was a huge fan of Clancy myself. Btw, as a member in a union I can say the following: unions are great for the masses but often do nothing for the individual.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hubby doesn’t have a social media account or a personal email so I rarely mention him which he prefers. His TV binging is fair game though because ever since I gave him my iPad to use after his Kindle died, he’s never given it back. But it did give me a reason to buy a brand new one for myself so nobody tell him lol

      I hear you on the unions. I’m not a member of one but hubby is.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh I did Jack Ryan this weekend too, but I held myself back to two episodes a day. It was excellent!
    My biggest pain with unions is that pay reflects seniority, not effort or originality or incredible ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. He was up until 4am watching Jack Ryan and is still watching it! I would watch it but I’m stuck in my holiday novella and I only have 8 days left before I have to turn it in tot he editor for a rush job. And I’m starting over because whatever inspiration I had when I started the story is gone again. So back to the drawing board I go.

      I hear the same thing from hubby, too, as he’s a member of a union.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I even did the laundry today and the dishes. But now I need to write a story that I can write all the way through and hit every dang romance beat. All in 20k words. It shouldn’t be hard … but then I don’t like writing Christmas stories LOL

        Liked by 1 person

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