Interesting times

Jun 25 2007 by Derek Torres Print This Article

These are interesting times to be an American worker. With negotiations set to get underway in Detroit for a new labor contract, we also have the continuing debate about the Employee Free Choice Act going on in the Senate.

This bill would allow American workers to form and participate in a union if they so choose – without harassment or fear of reprisals from management.

While the word "union" has become a dirty word, especially in the minds of white collar employees, it is still a basic tenet of American labor and one that should carry on well in to the future.

Unfortunately, important pieces of legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act aren't frequently discussed among most of my colleagues and contemporaries. But we'd all do well to remember that unless we don't need that paycheck to live on, then we're all working class.

For the 98 per cent of us that do rely on our salaries, we should be following this legislation closely and see how it could potentially improve our professional lives.

It's becoming a sad fact of life in America that our waistlines are getting bigger, but our workplace protections and purchase power are steadily decreasing. While this bill won't necessarily save the dwindling middle class, it will certainly help preserve it a little longer.

It will be interesting to see if well-fed, bought off politicians will continue the same lame meme that this act "takes away worker's right to the secret ballot." Rigggghhhttt… I'm sure that's the issue.

Want more info? A copy of the bill is here.


Older Comments

Ah, I love the 'and this will help everyone' theory. Unfortunately it is not grounded in reality. At one time, unions were a good thing. If unions were still driven for the benefit of its members, and they did not have highly paid bosses and political machines to feed, then I as a middle class 'white collar' professional might benefit. That however is not reality and the highly paid bosses and hungry political machine are, unions are a business and a special interest whose interest is themselves, not the members. This particular bill is political fodder for politicians aimed at doing nothing but garnering votes and power. For union's it is a power grab to take away rights of both the employee and the employer.

We live in a free market, but a spoiled society that tells us that we can have both a free market and everything else we want. Life is full of choices, we make choices as to our professions, to the places we live, to how we live and to how we play the cards that life deals to us. Having said that, if we don't like the money, benefits, hours, etc... of where we work, then we are free to go somewhere else. Only in America do we stomp our feet and 'demand' that we be paid more, given better benefits, etc.... and try to force businesses, large and small, to provide those things through a political process. There is a reason that the big three are in trouble and it can not all be attributed to the 'white collar' business leaders.

Those that prop up the immigration debate with the argument that illegal immigrants are taking jobs that American's don't want are correct. Many of those folks are willing to work for less money, because it is more than they could make anywhere else. Although I likely don't agree with their illegal status, we might learn a bit from them and their hunger for work and work ethic.

Bo Carrington