On Labor

As a youngster I can vividly remember watching my father participate in a picket line. They were picketing for their right to organize and organize they did. He remained a strong union member throughout his life. His son ironically became a member of management yet he never forgot his father’s struggles and the role that labor unions played in his father’s ability to provide for his family.The labor movement today is in trouble. Globalization and the lure of cheap labor in places such as China ,India, and Mexico have severely compromised the American worker’s bargaining power. There is even a schism in the labor movement - the Teamsters and the SEIU have split from the AFL - CIO. I would venture to say that much of the hard won labor legislation is in jeopardy. No one has ever voluntarily promoted labor reform - it has only come about thru labor unity. Many corporations are making the case that in order to survive they need major concessions from labor in the form of wages, health care benefits and pension plans. True, abusive unions negotiating sweetheart contracts contributed to the current problems of some of our leading corporations. On the other hand corporate greed and shortsighted management certainly played a part in agreeing to pension and health care plans which are now troublesome to their bottom line.Labor is now faced with a corporate strategy dedicated to reneging on pension obligations and shifting work offshore. As benefits are revised or even eliminated there is no real uproar from the administration or Congress. Apparently mismanagement is silently condoned. Facing the specter of a loss of jobs one union after another is caving in to the demands of management. Who will champion the cause of labor? Fragmented unions - hardly! Who can be trusted to do what is right for “the world’s most productive workers”? Only a workforce led by reasonable leaders backed up by a Congress dedicated to preserving the fundamental rights of Labor. Idealistic? Probably!( As an aside isn’t interesting that the strongest unions today are those that represent professional athletes .)

1 comment:

Caroline said...

I am new to blogging but so enjoy your daily musings. Thank you.