Labor Day, 2012
On this Labor Day, 2012, I am appalled as a Union Member and a retired Chief Steward for Verizon after reading Mr. Romney’s ‘5 Point Plan’ for jobs. In it, he blames organized labor for the malaise that has hit the American economy. He blames organized labor for the movement of jobs to foreign countries. He says, in veiled terms that the American Labor Movement has become too greedy. He says that there are too many regulations that chase businesses overseas to countries like China and Indonesia. How dare the American worker demand a living wage? How dare they demand that working conditions be safely regulated, so that we can keep on the job accidents to a minimum? How dare the American worker ask for health care coverage for them and their families. Why, if they would just accept a lower standard of living, lower safety standards, and risk going without any health coverage, the economy would instantly improve, and America would get rolling again! This is like blaming the victim for being assaulted and robbed over and over again. Read his plan, carefully. It sets the labor movement back 100 years. It sets women’s rights back at least 60 years. And yet, people will still vote for this ticket.
We worked hard for our wages and benefits. I, myself, was injured on the job and rendered unable to work again, and this was with the OSHA rules in place. What unions do is protect workers from things like discrimination. A boss cannot fire someone simply because they don’t like the way that he or she looks. The Boss must have a valid reason like insubordination or failure to do the job. Unions protect workers rights. Unions ensure that substandard working conditions are not tolerated.
Are unions all good? Of course not. They are, after all, run by humans, the same as business, and from time to time there have been abuses. All things considered, however, the organized labor movement has benefited all workers.
It makes me angry and sad at the same time when I see these smug individuals ready to shovel dirt on all that we in labor have accomplished. It’s like desecrating the flag to me. If organized labor goes away, the likes of Mr. Christie and Mr. Romney will run rough-shod over the American worker for years to come.
But, mark my words: Push us too far, and we will rear up and strike you hard. American Labor may be down for the count, but don’t count us out just yet. American workers will only take so much, before they say “That’s as far as you go, you will go no further!”
As for American women, they will not be pushed around for long. They are strong, and they are vocal. They will not have their rights buried again.
One more thing, for all of you who so easily throw out labels for anyone who does not tow the so-called ‘Republican’ line. I am not a Liberal, or a Socialist, or a Communist. I served my country well under both a Democrat and a Republican without protest. I came home from war to raise a family in the American tradition, like my father before me, by working hard every day, sometimes at three jobs. My Union saw to it that I got paid a decent wage for my work and had good benefits. Nothing exorbitant, just decent. I watched my father work for years for sub-standard wages and no pension. He did have medical insurance. He did not have a union to stand up for him. He was happy that I did. He died at the very young age of 58. So, when someone wants to call me a name, I just shake my head in wonder. I did everything the right way. I worked for them.
Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone, and remember what it stands for.
Semper FI and God Bless The American People.