Editorial Reply Conerning Strikes
|January 9, 2007||Posted by Staff under Progress Report, The Progress Report|
In response to the “Strike Two!” editorial:
Although the BART strike, like the UPS strike may be inconvenient for some, such as the editor of this fine page, the fact is that working men and women in this country are up against a wall and strikes are becoming one of the few options left to get some leverage.
Take a long term perspective: America is now becoming a two-state nation. Haves and have nots. We’re at the tail end of the longest peacetime expansion in history. But things are about to hit the skids. Working people are pressured today as never before:
- The number of personal bankruptcies this ear will exceed 1.33 million individuals.
- Government doesn’t report “real” unemployment figures. They “correct” them when too high.
- Personal debt is soaring.
- Home equieties are evaporating to make ends meet.
- Savings rates are at historical lows.
Certain historians and economists (myself among them) expect a “surprise recession” in the next year or two. But don’t blame unions.
People who strike do so because as individuals they don’t have sufficient power to negotiate a reasonable wage. Employers throughout the country are using “downsizing” as an opportunity to take one good job with benefits and turn it into two or three part time jobs with no benefits. Others, including Microsoft have gone wild “personal contractors”.
Therse are called “soft jobs”.
You have to ask youself “Why”? The answer is simple.
In an economy where the S&P 500 companies average 19% sales growth, but over 118% profit growth, expenses must have been trimmed.
When a company fires a contract worker or a part timer, there’s no economic fallout. Fire a full time employee and you have to contribute more to state unemployment comp. Then there’sd the cost of COBRA and the rest.
The AFL/CIO sees what is going on. A land of Yuppies, DINKs on the upscale and a new generation of $9/hour slaves who will never own a home, lease a new Explorer or take a cruise. That’s why they’re spending 5 million on the present ad campaign on television.
If you didn’t like strike 1, or strike 2, you will be even more upset over the next 10 years as working people rediscover the power of unions to get a fair days pay for a fair days work.
A resurgence of the labor movement occurred in the 1930′s in the Great Depression. As we approach the next great unraveling of debt, expect more parallels to the 30′s. Labor unions and protective trade legislation.
If it’s not convenient, well, sorry about that.
But if you think strikes are inconvenient, try not eating, not driving, and not owning anything but the shirt on your back. No medical, no vacation. No computer, no ISP, no career path. No union to look out for you. No employer paid training. No way to get ahead.
There’s a whole generation coming up where that’s the reality of life. But the kids of today are bright. They find a way to fix that.
- –George Ure
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