Peace can only last where human rights are respected.
I am one of the "lesser people" as we were described by a US Senator one day when discussing the future of the economy. We are the people who live on Social Security and pensions. I am a retired person who manages to get by in life on very little, but I am not bankrupt.
They say the nation is going bankrupt, and the states and cities are running out of money. The United States is not a poor country. People are asking what to do about the fiscal situation. But they are not asking the most important question: Where is the money?
I am able to have pensions to augment my meager Social Security payments because I belong to two unions, and those unions held my employers as accountable for my welfare as I was accountable to my employers for showing up on time, observing the company's regulations and doing the best work I could.
"Saint Peter don't you call me, 'cause I can't go.
I owe my soul to the company store."
This song came out of the coal mines before there was a nunion. If you wanted to work you had to have tools: a pick, a shovel and a sledge hammer, and the only place you could get them was from the company store at an inflated price. If you couldn't pay the price (and who could?), you would owe the store and they would take it out of your pay. Then if your shovel broke , or you lost it or someone stole it, you had to go back to the store to get another one. The company store was also where you bought you food. More debt. Meanwhile they charged interest on what you owed. The working conditions were horrible. If you got sick or were injured on the job, too bad. But you still owed the store
Then along came the United Mine Workers Union and the lives of the miners changed for good. Unless.
I was working for a radio station in New Jersey. There were only men at that station so there was a small room with a toilet and sink, with a curtain to draw across the door. One day the toilet seat broke. The shop steward colled the management, which was in a different city, to inform him of it. The answer he got was that if we wanted a new toilet seat we should go out and buy one. Then the union representative came to see the situation. He called the manager and said "Your workers are paid to prepare to go on the air and broadcast, not to fix toilets. If you want them to continue I suggest you replace the seat." It was promptly done. It may seem strange to threaten to go on strike for a toilet seat, but the principle is plain.
I was doing a play in New York City. The producers were from another country. They saw no reason why they couldn't schedule rehearsals to last into many ours of overtime and not pay the actors any extra. I was the shop steward on that job. I told them not to do it but they did anyway. They were shocked and outraged when they got the bill.
The benefits enjoyed by labor and management come through collective bargaining. Without it workers can be forced into slave labor and management will find themselves with unskilled workers, which will cost them money.
It's a two way street. One of the concessions the actors union has made to the company is to agree to stay one night of extra time without extra pay and appear in costume and make up so that the management can take photographs to document their production. One night in a play I was doing one of the actors got uppity and said he wasn't going to participate. I was the shop steward (the union deputy) on this production also. And it was my turn to be the heavy. I told him if he did not get up on stage and be prepared to do what he was told I would report him to the union, which could fine him or even take away his union card. He participated.
Labor unions are the bedrock of American industry and collective bargaining is the corner stone of it. Take it away and the whole system will collapse.
Dana B ate
Which land are you in?