Hail the Union of Laborers

February 3, 2012

A rally of the trade union UNISON in Oxford du...

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Conservatives love cheap labor.  They are not concerned if a laborer working a 40-60 hour work week earns enough to live and avoid debt.  Henry Ford was a conservative in his day but even he understood that his business would flourish if his employees could afford to purchase the products they produced.  Conservatives today love to talk about the problems caused by illegal immigration but ultimately do not want to make any changes.  They might even talk about jobs being outsourced to foreign nations, but you’ll never see them move on this issue in law.  They are numb to the raw deal of capital spasms in the economy.   They keep the labor market in a constant churn with unemployment dragging down wages.   Though they would never say it, high unemployment is not that big of a deal to the conservatives.

Why do conservatives hate unions, and almost for the very same reasons, why are unions good for the middle and lower class?  They have pushed up wages for everyone.  They democratically represent the views and interests of the employees.  They protect employees from inhumane demands placed by management.  Conservatives want people to be desperate for a job so they will accept lesser working conditions, lower pay, few perks like medical coverage.   Unions help workers by giving them a voice in the workplace that forces employers to remunerate for the cost of labor.

Unions have traditionally been supportive of the democratic party and this is another reason they are targeted by conservatives.  It is politically and financially convenient.  When you sit back and look at the legislation being pushed by the various GOP controlled states this year, it is hard not to conclude that the GOP has initiated an undeclared war on unions.  Arizona is the latest battleground.  “Right to work” laws seem to neither protect rights nor the ability to work yet we must have more legal backsliding to the early 1900s for these conservative states.

You also hear a lot of braying over corrupt union officials and seeds of mistrust sown on this brave lot that takes on the sorry job of dealing with the mgmt.   I like to say at this point, you have no further to look than the k street lobby, super pacs,  our elected leaders constant fundraising, barely paying attention to the American people.  That’s the real corruption that no one is fighting.  In the meantime, I appreciate personally if there is a group that speaks for the interests of employees.  There is no choice but to have unions.