Monday, September 03, 2007

Happy Labor Day!

Today's post is very late. I have been on the road all day with my favorite guy. We are on our way to another meeting, this time up north and a looong drive, so we hit the road early. We just got in and I finally got hooked up to a wi-fi! I'll check the mail in a minute...

Good ol labor day. Most folks are unaware that this is a holiday that was designed to celebrate the Labor Unions and what they have accomplished for the "average Joe". Now I know there are some who have no clue about unions, and still others who may have plenty.

For this post I am going to say thanks to the folks who fought to get labor unions up and running. It's true that there are some unions where things haven't worked out as well as the founders had hoped. It's true that there are unsettling facts within the history of -again- some unions. I am not defending those acts, however, most institutions have faults and points in history that should be rewound and erased. Today I am weighing the good and the bad and I think the good they provide far outweighs the ills they have caused.

Unions were formed initially because wealthy industrialists were taking advantage of workers. If the worker complained, they were fired. Long story short, the union was exactly that. Unified individual workers stood together and made demands that provide many benefits for all of us, in a union or not.

Without those unions, whether we like them or not, we would be missing out on a lot.

Without the unions all of us -in a union or not- would not have a standardized 40 hour work week. Child labor would more than likely still be in tact in some industies (see some of our foreign neighbors for this continued nightmare). Sweatshops and unsafe factories are now a thing of the past in the U.S. if laws are followed. Because of unions if you are not paid equal to a man for the same job you now have rights and laws that you can use to get what is due you. Before unions there was no overtime, no holiday pay, no hazard pay, no contracts that decide what working odd hours will pay. Because of the unions you have a right to fair advancement without discrimination, evaluations and documentation before someone can fired you. The unions were pivotal in gaining rights for all workers when it comes to being hired without discrimination in all areas. We have workman's compensation to help us pay for injuries that occur on a job. Pensions and health benefits are now available to the worker, not just the employer. Sexual harassment laws were a direct result of labor union advocacy. Living wages are a constant battle of the unions. Contracts that benefit the employer and the worker. I am sure there are many other benefits that I am missing; but I am really zonked.

My point is, the labor unions of this country have provided many things for us that in truth would not be here without them. In a perfect world employers would give all workers these benefits without contracts and laws to back them up. The fact is that usually is not the case. When a "union" law is put on the books, remember that it will benefit every worker.

So as you are (were) out and about today, I am hoping that you took a minute to thank those workers who bravely put their jobs, and some their lives, on the line to make our working conditions better.

add to sk*rt

No comments: