Ever since Ronald Reagan fired the striking Air Traffic Controllers, Unions have been getting a bad rap in this country and the newly elected Republicans want to take them down ever further. American workers need the ability to collectively bargain. They need to know that they cannot be fired without a reason. Companies should pay a fair wage for a fair day’s work.
Let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? We keep hearing from the right that we should get back to tradition values and our traditional country, so let’s take a look at what that means – what life was like for non-union workers at the turn of the century.
People worked in sweatshops with no required breaks for coffee, lunch or even bathrooms. They worked six or, in some cases, seven days a week for wages that would barely feed their families. The idea that women stayed at home, tending to home and hearth is a fallacy. They worked just as hard as their husbands did, maybe even harder, since once home, they had to attend to home and hearth. Children worked alongside adults for half the money. This was all before the unions.
Back then, companies hired strike breakers to keep their employees’ wages low and their own profits high. The government past laws to make it unlawful to participate in unions.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – George Santayana
We forget how far we’ve come. Instead, we’ve been fed a belief that companies “care” about their employees and they’re willing to look out for our well being. Oh, there are some companies that truly believe in the American way of life, but they’re rare.
Now, instead of hiring thugs to keep the unions out, companies hire other companies to give talks and lectures on the “dangers” of unions. They’ve actually managed to convince hard working people that unions are bad and that the big brother company knows best for you. I’ve sat through these lectures and talks. I’ve heard these anti-union people speak. They’re good at what they do. I sat through these lessons of lies while working for a family owned company (not the one I’m at right now) and heard these speakers talk about making the heads of the union rich with the employees’ dues – totally ignoring the fact that through our hard work and sweat, we’ve made the owner of the company a very rich man.
Now, according to a New York Times article, our newly elected Republican officials want to weaken unions even more than they are. Our very own “Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers’ right to form unions and bargain contracts.” That’s just one step away from taking away private workers’ rights.
Doesn’t that scare you? Even a little?
It does me.
Ask yourself this: Who benefits when workers cannot form unions? Is it the worker? No, it isn’t – it is the company. Companies do not like unions. There was a time when the threat of a union could force an employer to give fair raises to its employees.
Company thugs no longer weld baseball bats – they weld laws written by anti-worker politicians. They’ve come for your fair wages, health care and benefits. The whole time, they’re lying to you – the American worker – by saying that this is for your benefit. This will help the workers, this will help the taxpayers.
No, taking away the right to collectively bargain contracts only helps the Businesses. The government has all ready made it easier for businesses to send our jobs overseas. Now, they want to make it easier for businesses to pay you less and work you more for the jobs that are still here.
Henry Ford once said, “There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.” It is really too bad that our CEOs have forgotten his words.