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The plight of human beings and the suffering that many have endured throughout history is well documented. Tribes conquered one another; enslaving the weak to do their work. The work was intensive and the need for labor to do the work was a necessity. The ruling classes have always had the advantage. Wealth, power, and the might to suppress any insurrection. A human life especially a poor one was not worth very much. Human beings were forced into slavery, they were serfs and indentured servants. The poor and the destitute toiled for monarchs and dictators, land owners, factory owners and eventually the robber baron industrialists here in America.
The class struggles according to Wikipedia; “Class conflict can take many different forms: direct violence, such as wars fought for resources and cheap labor; indirect violence, such as deaths from poverty, starvation, illness or unsafe working conditions; coercion, such as the threat of losing a job or the pulling of an important investment; or ideologically, such as with books and articles. Additionally, political forms of class conflict exist; legally or illegally lobbying or bribing government leaders for passage of desirable partisan legislation including labor laws, tax codes, consumer laws, acts of Congress or other sanction, injunction or tariff. The conflict can be direct, as with a lockout aimed at destroying a labor union, or indirect, as with an informal slowdown in production protesting low wages by workers or unfair labor practices by capital.”
American workers have come a long way from the days when they had to endure unbearable unsafe working conditions, paltry wages, no rights or a voice in the workplace. The path was not easy. It was a struggle paved by those who sacrificed much. Some gave their lives as workers organized in order to raise their standards. Labor laws were enacted and provided for the right to organize and America’s workers enjoyed progress. The distribution of wealth shifted to workers covered by collective bargaining agreements. Our union cards were a ticket to the middle class. Trade union members were empowered and it translated into political power. That power made people nervous, it made the so-called upper class in America very nervous. Rather than embracing the productivity gains that were made through having negotiated better contracts for the workers and making life for the working class in the United States better, corporate America declared war.
Ronald Reagan fired the Air Traffic Controllers and permanently replaced them sending a signal to corporate America that their quest for a union-free environment was underway and they haven’t looked back. The war on unions and working men and women has been successful and the impact on the trade union movement and its members has been nothing short of devastating. The Republican Party has reveled as shrinking union membership, the Koch brothers financing and gerrymandering has shifted the political landscape. The result in states across the country are the passing of right to work legislation, attacks on collective bargaining and the systematic dismantling of public sector unions. Support for the Walmart wage model and the elimination of affordable health care sustains corporate profits and growing income inequality in America. TheåÊ election of Donald Trump has emboldened the Republicans catering to the rich with the passing of this unfair tax legislation and have now set their sights on the elimination of Medicare and Social Security. Programs that protected older Americans from financial ruin and life-saving medical care as we get old. The proud middle class status that unions made possible for working Americans has and continues to decline as union membership declines. We cannot accept our fate and we must organize if we are to be successful beating back this orchestrated attack on America’s working class. Local 3’s ongoing commitment to educate and mobilize our members is critical if we are going to win the fight.
Their was a time in America when a worker who asked for more or stood up to the boss was shown the door and replaced by another worker willing to accept the deplorable situation for one reason only, they were desperate for work. We cannot go back there, we cannot retreat. The striking Spectrum workers are being forced to accept substandard terms and conditions of employment. The company is attempting to break their union and implement their terms with no regard for the wishes of the bargaining unit. They are emboldened by the corporate power they enjoy and the wealth that they have accumulated on the backs of their workers. If this isn’t class warfare, what is?