Sunday, May 01, 2011


A lot of American workers nowadays seem to be afraid and/or mistrustful of organized labor, and that’s a damn shame. Many members of today’s workforce seem to take for granted the fact that the eight-hour day, forty-hour week, minimum wage and almost all of what can be considered employee benefits were established by the direct action and political efforts of labor and trade unions. In this writer’s opinion, I’d be willing to bet the farm that if the current lobbying work of business-related special interests is any indication, and if somehow said effort succeeds, those aforementioned accomplishments, which were quite literally earned through the bloodshed of our ancestors, will begin to gradually fade away and eventually disappear.

The corporate element of politics, with its accompanying infiltration of all levels of government, is making what seems like a full frontal assault upon the conditions and security of American workers regardless of whether said workers are organized or not. The robber barons of today, through their campaign funding of elected lapdogs in high and influential positions, are making a most dogged effort to turn back the clock to the “Good Ole Guilded” days of Jay Gould and Henry Clay Frick, which amounts to an ultimate goal to cultivate a cheap and easily manipulated workforce that will be willing to work for future pennies on the current wage dollar out of sheer desperation to survive.

Today’s organized labor needs to restructure and redefine its purpose and principle. Instead of a basic philosophy of solidarity in insulated pockets for the sake of self-protection and preservation, unions need to see themselves as the elite special strike force in the battle for workers’ rights, and in the name of every worker, not just those who are union members. Along with a concerted effort to network and unite with each other, unions should develop a focus on the big picture, in regards to broad outreach aimed at those who are not only fortunate enough to organize, but who, as a result of various circumstances, can’t or won’t join or form unions on their own.

Union membership has dwindled down to a mere 12% of the national work force. Imagine if you could only get even half of that “outside” 88 percent informed (and if successful, probably pissed off) enough to join in on the fun of organized assembly and protest. A situation where the true majority of working people are speaking out and asking questions can become a world in which we’d be talking about a credible threat to the “one percent” wealthy interests that are funding the maintenance of the current status quo.

It is time for the workers of the United States, all of us, with and without union membership, to start to think about how to defend our collective health and well being, not just for ourselves but for future generations as well. To ensure a promising start, we need to begin to talk amongst ourselves openly and fearlessly about who and what is trying to make our jobs as well as our lives, yea our very value as human beings, less significant, and what we can do to stop the efforts of such parties in their tracks. The corporate and moneyed interests may have the assets (for now), but as a force, we have the sheer human numbers.

The last time that I checked, the First Amendment had not been repealed (at least not yet), and the people of this nation still have the right to peacefully assemble on the streets and air grievances. The streets of the U.S.A. can be ours if necessary, as long as we simply go out and occupy them. We live along them, we paved them, we drive goods down them, and we worked and fought in the wars they instigated throughout our nation’s history to earn our rights to occupy them. Let’s take true control of them if we have to, and keep them.