Dear Mr. Trumka,
In this new service economy we can’t all work at Wal-Mart and sell each other products made in other nations. How do we create good paying jobs that can’t be outsourced and provide a future that will enable us to provide for our children the way our parents did for us because they had good paying Union jobs.
When I was a child the Holy Trinity was God, Family and the AFL-CIO. By working hard and playing by the rules and making sacrifices my parents generation put their children through college. We had a decent place to live that we owned. The schools and neighborhood weren’t the Ritz but we didn’t care we had what we needed. The American Dream seemed like a promise then.
When I was a Senior in High School I remember my father getting a Chevelle with a three speed because when my sister and I finished school, they were going to take off and see America together. That pension plan helped them have the opportunity.
I tried to organize my work place. We don’t live in a Democracy. We live in a Banana Republic Dictatorship for at least 40 hours a week. That is the lesson trying to exercise my right to be in union taught me. When someone else determines the value of your labor, when you start and when you leave, and the terms and conditions of your employment I’d say you are a slave.
This economy won’t recover until we have stronger unions. The high tide of the Middle Class was in the 1950’s and 60’s when Unions were strongest. You were right when you said privatization wasn’t about getting Big Government off of America’s backs it was about turning America into a wage slave sweatshop.
Lower wages haven’t held down costs they have enabled Corporate America to remake Visa, Master Card and American Express into the modern equivalent of the company store. Between not being paid what we are worth and Wall Streets loaning people the difference based on a fraudulent paper value of their home, America is looking like a share cropper nation. Debt is always about control.
What none of our pathetic leaders in Congress will admit is that what they loaned us was what had once been in our paychecks and still should have been. The only raise many of us have had for years is a raise in our debt ceiling not a raise in pay. People could still buy the trappings of Middle Class existence so they were blinded to where this all was going.
When we talk about Unions they always say, ” You don’t want Union bosses telling you what to do.” My response to that is that I would rather have the worst of Union bosses because I would have a say in the value of my labor and terms and conditions of my employment, as opposed to the most benign of bosses telling us what to do and what the value of our labor should be. Paycheck Democracy is about Freedom first and foremost, so all of you against Unions are against democracy and freedom.
They don’t bust Unions because it helps maintain their flexibility. Flexibility means total control of the workplace where we have the status of serfs. While they talk ceaselessly about accountability, Unions held management accountable. Accountability is a hypocritical one way street in America.
Corporations can compromise our safety, cut our jobs, demand we cut our pensions, that we don’t get a raise, have to work any hours they demand, pay more and more of our health care costs and are forced to use vacation time if ill and that we abuse our time off if we get sick more than a set number of times management designates. Management cannot be held accountable and hasn’t been for all the damage to lives and families with some of the decisions that put profits over people over and over again.
The whole idea that Corporate profits are consistent with economic benefit for all of us is the greatest lie ever told. They refuse to admit that one of the main reasons for the economic crash was that too much wealth has been placed in too few hands.
You stated that the Employee Free Choice Act would get passed in 2010. We need to be organized to get this through and I would be only to happy to share my attempts to organize and why it failed. We have laws on the books that make it cheaper for Corporations to break the law than abide by it. How do we organize to get EFCA passed so that those of us who want to join a union can?