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God Bless the Union Label

Roll the Union On!

Being a true born and raised son of the south I was taught early on that labor unions were in league with the devil. The South, more than any other area of the country, has an aversion to workers having any say in their treatment. This of course has it's roots in the old agrarian south where slave labor was employed until the middle of the 19th century. The mill towns that I grew up around were themselves a kind of slavery, notorious for their horrendous working conditions and keeping their workers beholden to the company store. I later worked for a large retail establishment so paranoid at the prospect of unionization that they wouldn't let the Girl Scouts sell cookies in their parking lot for fear that it would open the door to labor organizing.

Of course now that I'm older I realize that so much we as workers take for granted we owe to the Labor movement. A living wage, paid vacations, sick days, weekends, overtime pay, safe work environments, child labor laws, employer paid health insurance and pensions (now 401ks), and the list goes on. These aren't gifts from a benevolent market, these concessions were fought and died for by ordinary workers just like you and me. Workers who made the union label.

In 1945, just over one out of every three  private sector employees (35.5 percent) were union members. That number began to decline in the early sixties and by 1980 had dropped to barely one out of five (21.9 percent) according to the Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS). Today only 11.8 percent of private sector workers nationwide, and only 4 percent in Georgia, are members of a labor union. It's no coincidence that non-union workers' average wages have barely kept pace with inflation over the last decade. When increases in health insurance costs and the loss of other employee benefits are factored in, the average non-union worker has gone backwards. Our standard of living is in decline.

The American worker is in crisis, with unemployment mired at 8 percent the boss has us right where they want us; scared and pliable. Remember that next time you hear someone bashing unions. Ask yourself where that comes from and in whose best interest it is to keep workers running scared and pointing fingers at each other. Most of all, remember that when you go to the polls in November. Vote for the party that represents us, the American worker, vote Democrat.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

NJ4America September 17, 2012 at 12:50 PM
Rahm Emanuel is now threatening the Chicago teachers union. You know being a union loving thug himself, it's got to be killing him. Meanwhile this in-sipid, fat, useless Lewis woman is shown on CNN with all the other morons dancing with signs. They look just like the occuturds. Talk about greedy. What a bunch of losers. Meanwhile, 350,000 students are still being used as pawns for a second week in one of the nation's lowest performing public school systems. Screw the future, "God Bless the Union Label"
Brian Crawford September 17, 2012 at 01:57 PM
Right David. Workers in China are treated so well that Apple's Foxconn plant had to install a net around the building to keep workers from jumping off the roof. Give me a break. Worker abuse is rampant in much of the world and if the union busters have their way it will be here in another generation.
David September 17, 2012 at 03:15 PM
I've never seen anyone jumping off a building. I've never seen nets around buildings. But there are mentally ill people everywhere, I suppose even in China. The good news....for every individual that commits suicide, there are 100's more waiting to take their job. Hungry for their job. Begging for their job. No unions necessary, no mistreatment of the workers. As I said, we provided transportation, meals, healthcare, and a salary. We employed about 2800 workers but had 100,000 applications. Maybe 90,000 of these were just looking for a place to jump off a building.
Maureen Middlebrooks September 17, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Why can't people engage in a conversation without resorting to insults? It does nothing for your cause but make me wonder what kind of person feels the need to be so mean. If you have ideas, opinions, and, as much as it's hated....facts, perhaps you won't feel the need to debase a fellow human being that you don't even know.
Maureen Middlebrooks September 17, 2012 at 07:21 PM
After reading Brian's accurate reporting of the suicide rate at the Apple plant in China and the need for nets to keep other exploited young people from jumping to their deaths, I read David's response. Perhaps because workers are a dime a dozen, or more accurately, $12 a dozen for a day, you don't extend them any humanity, or perhaps you are just cruel.
North Georgia Weather September 17, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Brian's accurate reporting? Since when?
George Wilson September 17, 2012 at 08:14 PM
@Maureen Middlebrooks You are correct!
George Wilson September 17, 2012 at 08:22 PM
@Cindy Your use of the word "thug" makes your argument a fallacy(Argumentum ad Hominem) and destroys your credibility.In truth most unions members freely elect their own representatives in free elections and are not thugs.That term thug is normally used by right-wing talk shows.
Maureen Middlebrooks September 17, 2012 at 08:29 PM
Why don't you just google it and then you can read from a variety of sources about the treatment of the workers and you will see that Brian is absolutely correct in what he wrote. But then again, that would mean dealing with actual facts....
George Wilson September 17, 2012 at 08:34 PM
North Georgia Weather I have found Brian Crawford to be credible source of information and have never found him in error on any of his comments. As a matter of fact, very often he gives the very source of his information which is invaluable. Many other comments from others are just regurgitations from some right wing radio shows, right-wing websites , Fox News none very accurate or credible.
North Georgia Weather September 17, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that conditions in China aren't deplorable, but more people are killing themselves because of the over-reach of the communist government and the control they have over people than because their working conditions are so terrible.
David September 17, 2012 at 08:41 PM
We don't push workers off the roof. But its difficult to hold the hand of everyone on China.
David September 17, 2012 at 08:43 PM
But that's what's so wrong. Working conditions in China aren't deplorable. There are deplorable conditions in China as in every communist country where poverty reigns. But the lucky ones with jobs in China are just that, the lucky ones. They can now afford food, a residence, etc.
David September 17, 2012 at 08:44 PM
You and Brian must be drinking from the same cup. Or smoking from the same pipe.
North Georgia Weather September 17, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I was just speaking of conditions in general, not the working conditions.
George Wilson September 17, 2012 at 09:49 PM
@David Drinking from the cup of truth seeking!
David September 17, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Switch cups. Brian's is broken.
Brian Crawford September 17, 2012 at 11:45 PM
Hot off the press, even Romney found them deplorable... http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/09/romney-camp-silent-on-whether-bain-purchased-brutal-chinese-factory.php
Brian Crawford September 17, 2012 at 11:52 PM
http://tinyurl.com/2wqrfjf http://tinyurl.com/23mothb http://tinyurl.com/d6vcpgz
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 02:53 AM
David, Thank you for your insight. Sure is good to hear from someone who has seen corporate America and the corporate world. Without it.....well, I hate to think what we would be like without our capitalist society...or what's left of it. The brainwashing is extensive. Difficult to get folks to see the bottom line in business, and to see that the evil corporations are "owned" by the shareholders....who might just be you and me. I'm not rich, but I'm paying taxes like I am. I am, however, not sitting around griping about Wall Street, what others have that I don't, and how the gov'ment owes me a living. I'd settle with getting some of these high taxes returned....but that's not going to happen. Obama and Michelle have to pay for their vacation this week. :)
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 02:57 AM
George, FYI. I've been a "union" member. I know a thug when I see one....and when I meet one. From your own comments, it doesn't sound like you know much about the current workforce in our country. Maybe you are out of the loop. I don't have an "argument"....just information and opinions....just like you. You can try to cover for the union bosses (aka thugs) if you like....but they are so transparent you are wasting your precious time. We AIN'T blind! :)
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 03:02 AM
David, I LOVE your comments! I'm still laughing about "organizers" spending the night in a southern jail. No wonder some of the northern unionized companies have opened locations in southern "right to work" states. We don't always take kindly to somebody "in our business"....telling us what to do. We may smile, say "bless your heart", but we will get even....with a smile on our sweet southern faces. My grandma used to say, "There's more than one way to skin a cat." (Figure of speech, fellow animal lovers.)
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Well, if Romney found something deplorable, we should listen. That's about 1000 times more than Obama has found! :) Let's fire the incompetent one (Obummer) who still thinks he is God. What happens when someone has risen to a level to which they do not deserve, can't do the job, doesn't want to do the job, just wants the benefits and the paycheck? Yep. Fire him! :)
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Since China is a Communist country, maybe our Democratic socialists would like to travel over there for an extended stay of, perhaps 15 years, then send us a report on how wonderful it is in a true communist country. Just a thought. It would be better than trying to make our great nation into a communist country. Too bad we're on the road to where we don't really want to go!
Chris September 18, 2012 at 05:08 PM
@George Gibson, Please explain to the unwashed how it is you vilify successful corporation CEOs while defending RICH union leaders who in many cases force union members to act against their will as if they were slaves? How do you justify criticizing the so called "RICH" while you never mention people like Harry Reid who has become rich as a senator? How about Obama who has become VERY RICH while holding public office? Please George Gibson tell Athens Mama and the rest of us why you leave out so many of these details while criticizing Republicans. Just curious
Cindy September 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Interesting comment previously made by Brian about corporations was "Corporations, by design (in fact by law), have only one goal: to maximize profits for shareholders. They have no stake in the common good, no loyalty to country, no sense of patriotic duty....If corporations can drive down our standard of living and find people willing to work in poor conditions for substandard wages here at home then that's fine by them too." Since those of us who are corporate "owners" aka "shareholders" are generally very patriotic, it stands to reason that the corporations are also patriotic...although the inanimate entity known as "corporations", by definition--being made up of many, many shareholders openly buying and selling on the public market, must take on "human" characteristics in order to be perceived as some evil monster out to destroy our nation. No, corporations are not the problems. Without our corporate structure in this country, where would all your goods be produced, marketed, and sold? That's right! They wouldn't be produced, marketed, and sold. You would, therefore, be living in squallor, standing in a government line for a generic tidbit of toilet tissue or some other basic item. Your choices would be severely limited, and your government would control your every word and deed. If you don't appreciate our corporations, I wonder why you are here in this nation. Go somewhere and experience the lack before you tell me how wonderful nothingness is-aka communism. :)
David September 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM
"What happens when someone has risen to a level to which they do not deserve, can't do the job, doesn't want to do the job, just wants the benefits and the paycheck?" They do photo ops building houses for Habitat for Humanity.
Brian Crawford September 18, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Cindy, our economy flourished when corporations were held in check. In the world I grew up in Anti-trust laws were strictly enforced to prevent "too big to fail" and allow the American entrepreneurial spirit to grow. Instead of being paid a substandard wage to work for some huge faceless corporation like WalMart folks were encouraged to start their own businesses. We were a nation of shop keepers and manufacturers. There were Men's Shops and Dress shops, Hardware stores and lumber yards. Independent grocers and pharmacies. People had ownership in their communities because they were dependent on each other for their livelihoods. That was the American dream and thanks to unbridled corporatism it barely exists anymore. I'm afraid you have been sold a bill of goods by the corporations that want to keep you beholden to them. You think you have ownership in a company because you own stock? Unless you are wealthy enough to own a sufficient amount of stock you have zero say in how that company is run.
C.J. September 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM
RE: "Since those of us who are corporate "owners" aka "shareholders" are generally very patriotic, it stands to reason that the corporations are also patriotic..." I'm sorry, but it does not stand to reason that corporations are patriotic because their owners are patriotic any more than it stands to reason that a shovel or a ceiling fan is patriotic because their owners are patriotic. Corporations can't be patriotic because corporations are a legal concept identified on a piece of paper or within a series of 0s and 1s on a computer chip. They can be created at will and dissolved at will. Like shovels and ceiling fans, corporations are inanimate. Like tools created to more easily accomplish goals such as digging a hole or cooling a room, a corporation is a tool used to raise funds to start and grow a business. We don't exist to serve corporations. To the contrary, they exist to serve us. Without our corporate structure in this country, where would all your goods be produced, marketed, and sold? To be clear, if people don't want to enjoy the traditional benefits of corporations--primarily limited owner liability--then they're free to invest in sole proprietorships and partnerships.
Rex Smithers October 25, 2012 at 11:59 PM
D E L E T E !!!

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