By Alberto Pupo
Labor Day, to most Americans is just another day off work. However upon closer inspection this is a holiday which celebrates labor unions in America as the name may not so arcanely suggest. Unions are a much marginalized National treasure. Without Unions or the existence of them , the plan to turn The United States into a society of wage slavery would be into full blown effect. However even with all the historical victories and the advancements that Unions have done for America, the people of the United States are still lukewarm about them. Union membership has been on the decline and they have all but disappeared in the private sector. Unions create an an atmosphere of solidarity and help the members bargain for better wages and benefits. However the power of the unions continue to be eroded on a daily basis. The most corrosive of attacks naturally coming from the Right and its efforts to implement a fully privatized state.
Union membership has been in a free fall. So much so that in 2010 it reached a new low. The private sector saw the largest drop in membership. Unions have been under attack now for quite some time. As corporations are endowed with more powers and rights, Unions are continually marginalized and reduced to making concessions. The Unions are often painted as vile and secretive organizations that do nothing more than waste the resources of a “decent “ Corporation. The Union usually has a very negative connotation, naturally labor and collective bargaining are seen as engines of Marxism by the Right. The Anti Union propaganda comes out full force, Unions are blamed for the work place not being able to innovate. Innovate in Corporate Speak means a gutting of the welfare and wages of the worker in favor of an atmosphere of flat out wage slavery. Unions have made it possible for the worker to be recognized and in many cases be able to gain something. Unions throughout history have made it so that the work climate could be changed for the better, so that wages could be increased. Unions have also historically brought organization to certain job sectors to help Hispanics and Blacks and their standing in the work place as well.
Unions have been the bane of the Robber Baron for years. The power of the unions is something feared by Corporate America and it shows. For example one of the largest corporations in America (and pretty much the world) Walmart has always been rabidly anti-union. The house that Sam built routinely denied workers the ability to organize. One example is when they happen to catch the merest whiff of unionizing they send out “labor relations” teams to go and stop the organization from happening. This is an example of a Corporation so desperate to continue its abuses of the worker that they will do whatever it takes. This is also a fine example as to why unions in the private sector continue to decline rapidly. People by nature when they face such violent opposition are instilled with fear, and once this fear takes root it creates a block on the ability of the individual to be able to overcome it.
The labor union, the reason why so many of us will be staying at home with family on Monday, is what has kept the American workplace from completely devolving into a Corporate wage slave machinery. Even in parts of the Nation where it is not there its influence helps to keep a fair workplace. However that is not to say opposition has stepped up. Many states have started to embrace the whole notion of “Right to work”. Even states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Ohio which have always had strong labor Unions have seen this backlash come up during a time of supposed austerity. The backlash has to do with these state governments claiming to be broke and then in turn blaming the Unions. This is how the attack on public unions has been growing. While in the private sector Corporations simply do not allow them to flourish, what is done in the public sector is to dissolve with them with insidious notions of broke governments. The new trend is now to create legislation which will strike down at the rights of public sector workers. In Wisconsin for example the anti union bill passed in 2011 (which lead to mass uprising and was a precursor to Occupy Wall St.) flips the tab of health care and pension mainly on the worker.
Unions are constantly under attack. Things can potentially get worse as more and more anti union politicians continue to get elected throughout the Nation. The sad thing is with the erosion of Union Rights, the erosion of workers rights is grossly evident. With every passing year the worker has to make more concessions on everything work longer and harder for paltry wages, no health care and of course kiss that pension goodbye (all in the stock market). The people need a force that can stem the attack on the worker and the Unions are the only force we have to provide this counter measure. We the people need to preserve labor unions and doing this will ultimately help preserve the large union that is the United State