Monday, February 11, 2013

Labor Rights: Yesterday-Today

I first posted on this subject in September 2010 for 'Labor Day'. Since that time I've listened to the younger generation bellyaching how the boomers had it made. How the boomers got huge raises and drained our economy right into the dumps.

Many graduating today take it in stride (without questioning) when they apply for a job that an employer can request their W-2's, accept the fact that many potential employers review their credit reports or sign off on their rights before an employer will agree to interview them multiple times.

Others will agree to unpaid internships that in many cases doesn't mean they would be considered for a job there after graduation.

Here's a flash for ya. Those who control the dollars are not going to allow government to enact labor protections nor trade agreements that restrict them from moving work overseas. Nor are the companies going just hand over rights to workers in an act of benevolence.

Some of these younger folks beg government to enact protections. That isn't how this works. Ya gotta get out there in their face and demand changes. Nobody's saying bleed them dry, but no change in this country ever came about by saying 'pretty please'.

Unions today are problematic. Unions should be working hand and hand with a company to ensure it's success. That is where today's workers should strike a new balance where argumentally we might have fallen short. There should be a balance between company profits and assuring workers are treated and rewarded fairly for their labor.

It's with those thoughts in mind that I now repost this previous article along with some updated remarks.
* * *

The following show aired when I was just 38 years old. It should be put to rest the argument that "boomers had it made" when I was working in my prime.
20/20 Reports Labor Union History (1986)

It was because of my parents and my parents-parents efforts that workers today aren't forced to endure the hardships that companies (left to their own devices) once imposed on their workers. For that my generation and today's workers should be ever grateful.

Ford in 1930s and early 1940s

From This History Channel, A look back

Joe Hill
A Swedish-American labor activist, songwriter, and member of the Industrial Workers of the World.

Musician Steve Earle reads labor organizer Joe Hill's last words penned
on on the eve of his exucution by the state of Utah, 1915.

Paul Robeson, "Joe Hill"

Union Maid

Summing This Up
Today's workers in their prime need to step up to the plate and demand employers respect their rights. Demand some prospect of economically enjoying the fruits of their labor and in later years when they can no longer work because of age through whatever means they deem acceptable. They also need an attitude adjustment that someone else handed them a unsolvable dilemma.

Today's workers can either throw their hands into the air and give up OR fix the ills they perceive as someone else's failings. One thing's for certain, it is they who will end up either suffering the price or be rewarded for what choices they have made.

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