Labor is the United States

A – “Labor is the United States. The men and women, who with their minds, their hearts and hands, create the wealth that is shared in this country — they are America.”

B – “Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.”

C – “Industrial harmony, expressing these mutual interests, can best be achieved in a climate of free collective bargaining, with minimal government intervention except by mediation and conciliation”

D – “We believe that, to the widest possible extent consistent with the public interest, management and labor should determine wage rates and conditions of employment through free collective bargaining.”

E – “We demand an end to the Project Labor Agreements; and we call for repeal of the Davis-Bacon Act, which costs the taxpayers billions of dollars annually in artificially high wages on government projects. We support the right of States to enact Right-to-Work laws and encourage them to do so to promote greater economic liberty. Ultimately, we support the enactment of a National Right-to-Work law to promote worker freedom and to promote greater economic liberty.”

F – “We reaffirm our commitment to the fundamental principle of fairness in labor relations, including the legal right of unions to organize workers and to represent them through collective bargaining consistent with state laws and free from unnecessary government involvement.”

That’s right, kiddies.  One of these things is not like the others.  Which is it?  Actually it’s a trick question.  There are two answers.  We’ll come back to that in a minute.

I find it very interesting how poorly informed people are.  I was having a discussion with a Republican friend of mine yesterday, and he brought up politics.  During the course of the conversation, I asked him why he was a Republican.  His response was, “Basic beliefs”.  I asked him what that meant, and pointed out that 50 years ago, the Republican party supported Unions.  He claimed that I was misinformed.  Very interesting, no?

Let’s see … hmmm … Who might be the most obvious example one could come up with?  Oh, that’s right!!!  Ronald Wilson Reagan

  • Elected to the Board of Directors of the Screen Actors Guild in 1941
  • Elected 3rd Vice-President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1946
  • Elected President of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 – 1952 and again in 1959

Now, I am not endorsing Reagan.  We also know that he used this position to feed the FBI with people he believed to be Communists or sympathizers.  (For which, the FBI in return spied on his children.  What a guy!!)

Governor Scott Walker and the Wisconsin Republicans removed the right of the public union employees to collectively bargain.  Reagan never even attempted that.  His objection, even when he broke the PATCO strike, was against their right to strike.  Still a foul, but not even in the same league.  It took away their strongest tool, but it did not remove their rights!  These Republicans are a horse of a whole other color.  They are pushing to actually take rights away.

And, they are succeeding!!

There are ways in which even I will acknowledge that perhaps some unions have gained too much.  SOME.  However, if the conservatives are to be taken at their word, then there should be no one to blame for that.  (Yes, I realize the lunacy in that!)  Why is that?  Well, quite simply, it means that the system is working the way that they claim they want it to.  Two parties entered into a negotiation.  Each party had something to offer to the other.  At the end of the negotiation, a deal was struck.

So, in reality what we have here are spoiled grapes, no?  The children made the rules, and then when they lost the game, they want to whine about it, and retroactively change the rules.

As I have said before, and I will likely say again, to be anti-union is to, by definition, be against the people.

So, back to our game.



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About Just Torch

Author of the SCIAMAGE column a space devoted to American political and social commentary and analysis. It is unabashedly liberal, but makes every effort to present clear, verifiable facts and sound reasoning. It also makes a commitment to clearly distinguish between facts and opinions. View all posts by Just Torch

2 responses to “Labor is the United States

  • leftyboomer

    Just Torch, great post and perspective about unions. I wish that some basics would be communicated to people by the everyday media. Public workers get pensions because in strong economies their pay won’t keep pace with the private sector and it was intended for recruitment and retention. With the past 30 years of middle class slippage, their contracts ended up exceeding the gains in the private sector so now the “system” is turned upside down. But it’s not the union’s faults. It’s the distribution of income and wealth shifting. And it’s fixable when people are willing to compromise.
    I’m pretty sure that the Chicago teacher’s strike was less about immediate contract gains or losses and more about demonstrating that they were still powerful and needed to be negotiated with rather than dictated to.
    When Romney says he wants to bring jobs home from China, I worry that means he’s looking for parity between Chinese and American wages!

    • Just Torch

      Thank you.

      The business communities, lead by the conservatives, caught the people in a double bind, saying that we have Social Security so we don’t need a pension, but then saying we need to cut Social Security. Social Security was never meant to be the only source of income. It was meant to supplement a pension. Less than 15% of companies offer those these days.

      The teacher’s union strike was also about accountability and I have some issue with that one, because the education system needs a top to bottom restructuring. However, I think that you have made some valid points as well.

      You’re entirely right about Romney and the wages. The problem is that the same is true about Obama. They’re really not significantly different in that regard. We needed someone like Rocky Anderson to really see any change . That is obviously not going to happen this year, so again, we get the government we deserve.

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