Friday, November 24, 2006

We need labor unions

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I want to steer you toward an article entitled Organized Labor in Retreat: Why the World Needs Trade Unions Now More Than Ever. A lot of horror stories are outlined about the way workers are treated throughout the world. Then these observations are made:

Of the total 2.8-billion employed, half of Earth's toilers are wage-slaves earning less than $2 a day, 27-million are actual slaves, and 186-million more are jobless.

Globally, the race to the bottom is gathering momentum. U.S. corporations export jobs to Mexico to cash in on cheap labor. In no time at all, though, tens of thousands of Mexicans lose their jobs to Asians who will sweat for less.

Everywhere you look, the divide between "haves" and "have nots" widens. From 1980-88, the ratio of "Fortune 500" CEO to employee pay rose from 42 to one to 419 to one.

That ratio is obscene; pure and simple.

Of course, the "haves" are really hurting themselves in the long run. Their lack of vision is tragic:

[M]uch of management hasn't yet learned by increasing the wages of employees it not only increases corporate productivity but boost employee purchasing power. As workers spend their paychecks, they drive demand upwards. And profits.

Americans alarmed by illegal immigration haven't learned it's cheaper to export union organizers to Mexico to drive up wages than to build a new Great Wall along the southern border to keep out the desperate migrants who would stay home if only they could find a job that paid.

Without the spread of strong unions in an age of globalization you can forget about societal stability, decent living conditions, overcoming poverty and disease, and world peace. There won't be any.

I have belonged to three unions: The National Education Association, The American Federation of Teachers and the American Federation of Musicians. And, let me tell you, I paid my dues every year happily and with gratitude. I've also been on the receiving end of union busting activity and that was not fun. I know how ugly it can get.

We need strong unions. Otherwise, workers will be exploited and oppressed and utterly ground down - as they are where unions do not exist.

Go read the whole article. It will open your eyes.

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