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God Bless the Union Label

Roll the Union On!

Being a true born and raised son of the south I was taught early on that labor unions were in league with the devil. The South, more than any other area of the country, has an aversion to workers having any say in their treatment. This of course has it's roots in the old agrarian south where slave labor was employed until the middle of the 19th century. The mill towns that I grew up around were themselves a kind of slavery, notorious for their horrendous working conditions and keeping their workers beholden to the company store. I later worked for a large retail establishment so paranoid at the prospect of unionization that they wouldn't let the Girl Scouts sell cookies in their parking lot for fear that it would open the door to labor organizing.

Of course now that I'm older I realize that so much we as workers take for granted we owe to the Labor movement. A living wage, paid vacations, sick days, weekends, overtime pay, safe work environments, child labor laws, employer paid health insurance and pensions (now 401ks), and the list goes on. These aren't gifts from a benevolent market, these concessions were fought and died for by ordinary workers just like you and me. Workers who made the union label.

In 1945, just over one out of every three  private sector employees (35.5 percent) were union members. That number began to decline in the early sixties and by 1980 had dropped to barely one out of five (21.9 percent) according to the Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS). Today only 11.8 percent of private sector workers nationwide, and only 4 percent in Georgia, are members of a labor union. It's no coincidence that non-union workers' average wages have barely kept pace with inflation over the last decade. When increases in health insurance costs and the loss of other employee benefits are factored in, the average non-union worker has gone backwards. Our standard of living is in decline.

The American worker is in crisis, with unemployment mired at 8 percent the boss has us right where they want us; scared and pliable. Remember that next time you hear someone bashing unions. Ask yourself where that comes from and in whose best interest it is to keep workers running scared and pointing fingers at each other. Most of all, remember that when you go to the polls in November. Vote for the party that represents us, the American worker, vote Democrat.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Cindy September 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Interesting comment previously made by Brian about corporations was "Corporations, by design (in fact by law), have only one goal: to maximize profits for shareholders. They have no stake in the common good, no loyalty to country, no sense of patriotic duty....If corporations can drive down our standard of living and find people willing to work in poor conditions for substandard wages here at home then that's fine by them too." Since those of us who are corporate "owners" aka "shareholders" are generally very patriotic, it stands to reason that the corporations are also patriotic...although the inanimate entity known as "corporations", by definition--being made up of many, many shareholders openly buying and selling on the public market, must take on "human" characteristics in order to be perceived as some evil monster out to destroy our nation. No, corporations are not the problems. Without our corporate structure in this country, where would all your goods be produced, marketed, and sold? That's right! They wouldn't be produced, marketed, and sold. You would, therefore, be living in squallor, standing in a government line for a generic tidbit of toilet tissue or some other basic item. Your choices would be severely limited, and your government would control your every word and deed. If you don't appreciate our corporations, I wonder why you are here in this nation. Go somewhere and experience the lack before you tell me how wonderful nothingness is-aka communism. :)
David September 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
"What happens when someone has risen to a level to which they do not deserve, can't do the job, doesn't want to do the job, just wants the benefits and the paycheck?" They do photo ops building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
Brian Crawford September 18, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Cindy, our economy flourished when corporations were held in check. In the world I grew up in Anti-trust laws were strictly enforced to prevent "too big to fail" and allow the American entrepreneurial spirit to grow. Instead of being paid a substandard wage to work for some huge faceless corporation like WalMart folks were encouraged to start their own businesses. We were a nation of shop keepers and manufacturers. There were Men's Shops and Dress shops, Hardware stores and lumber yards. Independent grocers and pharmacies. People had ownership in their communities because they were dependent on each other for their livelihoods. That was the American dream and thanks to unbridled corporatism it barely exists anymore. I'm afraid you have been sold a bill of goods by the corporations that want to keep you beholden to them. You think you have ownership in a company because you own stock? Unless you are wealthy enough to own a sufficient amount of stock you have zero say in how that company is run.
C.J. September 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM
RE: "Since those of us who are corporate "owners" aka "shareholders" are generally very patriotic, it stands to reason that the corporations are also patriotic..." I'm sorry, but it does not stand to reason that corporations are patriotic because their owners are patriotic any more than it stands to reason that a shovel or a ceiling fan is patriotic because their owners are patriotic. Corporations can't be patriotic because corporations are a legal concept identified on a piece of paper or within a series of 0s and 1s on a computer chip. They can be created at will and dissolved at will. Like shovels and ceiling fans, corporations are inanimate. Like tools created to more easily accomplish goals such as digging a hole or cooling a room, a corporation is a tool used to raise funds to start and grow a business. We don't exist to serve corporations. To the contrary, they exist to serve us. Without our corporate structure in this country, where would all your goods be produced, marketed, and sold? To be clear, if people don't want to enjoy the traditional benefits of corporations--primarily limited owner liability--then they're free to invest in sole proprietorships and partnerships.
Rex Smithers October 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM
D E L E T E !!!

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