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Wednesday, November 09, 2011

In Support of Unions

I can honestly say there was a time when I thought labor unions had worn out their usefulness because they were cocky and arrogant and too powerful.  Well, now that pendulum has swung drastically in the other direction and hopefully organized labor has learned from this.
Did unions go too far sometimes and go after worker rights at the expense of fairness and reason?  Yes.
Have there been union employees who have rested on their laurels and taken advantage of that system to get much more than they deserved?  Absolutely.
Have there been workers who should have been fired the first time for an offense but yet got three more bites at the apple because they were part of a union?  True again.
But if you think for one moment that you're not much, much better off today because of the sacrifice of union organizers and workers, you're the fool those who are trying to take away the right to organize hope you are.
I know it's easy to say things that sound purely American, like he who works hardest and smartest will get ahead and unions keep that from happening.  Well, you forget your history.  Before organized labor you weren't paid nearly what you were worth.  It mattered not if you were twice as good as the person next to you; you both got paid the same, next to nothing.  All of the things we take for granted in the workplace these days are there because of the sacrifices of labor unions -- word day length, breaks, benefits, child labor laws, you name it.
Now you have people on the right trying to pit you against your fellow worker in the middle class, getting you to believe that his decent wage because he's a member of a union is somehow unfair.  Look, all the while that you're believing that nonsense, the average standard of living of the working person has stayed the same, at the same time the monied interests in this country are giving more and more breaks to the people who are trying to take your rights away.  How foolish can you be not to see what is really going on?
More and more people are falling out of the middle class into poverty, more and more of us are accumulating insufferable debt that our wages can't pay, the jobs that are available don't pay a decent wage.  Your friend the union worker is not who's to blame for the fact that in real terms you make less than you used to; it's the fat cats who pay lobbyists to buy politicians who lie to you to get you to perpetuate a system that benefits those at the top and steals the rest of us blind.
And congratulations to the people of Ohio for fighting back and winning last night.


Anonymous said...

Great post. I felt detached from the elections because I didn't have one this year but I'm glad there are still people out there who know the difference from right and wrong and cared enough to vote.

Carolyn said...

Good post. We need to keep reminding.

mamajoan said...

Great post - made some good points. Also people should realize that in work places without unions, you can be treated unfairly based on whether the boss likes you or not.