Nothing but the Truth!
...Sadly, the history of labor strife in not taught in schools, and the union-bashers are hoping workers will forget what the Bad Old Days were all about.
By Will Power
September 5, 2011 (San Diego)--Corporate media and extremist neo-con think tanks recently have had great success bashing unions. As Americans celebrate Labor Day, it might be wise to think about the positive contributions of unions.
We no longer have 10-year-olds sorting stones out of coal mine races. There are no young girls losing their fingers changing bobbins in cotton mills. Workers now have the right to bargain collectively for better wages and benefits, in spite of recent efforts to deny them the fruits of their labor. Workers now have a 40 hour week, with overtime for extra work. Teachers no longer have to worry about being fired abruptly for their political beliefs.
But there are dangers to unions lurking everywhere. Many corporate giants like Wal-Mart have shut down their operations rather than see a butcher's union win an election. Throughout the USA, many corporations choose to hire part-rime temporary workers with no benefits rather than a "real" employee. So we have millions of "virtual" employees who can be fired at-will.
Without question, US corporations have encouraged illegal immigration to break unions and hire non-union labor. Illegal aliens with false documents number in the millions, and take jobs from US citizens who can't find any jobs anywhere.
Public employee unions of federal , state, and municipal workers have shown the largest growth, and are also guilty of giving unions a bad name. Recently, a lawsuit by police in Long Beach, California, gave officers pay for time spent shining shoes and driving to work.
Unions are not perfect, and anyone can find stories of abuse anywhere. But workers need to remember what horrors existed before unions came along. But sadly, the history of labor strife in not taught in schools, and the union-bashers are hoping workers will forget what the Bad Old Days were all about.
Will Power is a retired history teacher and creative writing instructor. The views in this column reflect the views of its author and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.