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While You still have Some, They don't have Enough

by Mentatmark Sun Feb 20th, 2011 at 01:56:31 AM EST

I am reposting my diary from The DailyKOS website here. This site serves those with much less trouble between Unions and those that have to share some control with us.

The battle of those who don't have much left against those that want it all seems to be coming to some as a surprise.  The super wealthy super elites have manipulated the masses through thought control methods I first was exposed to in "1984," and done it well enough to to turn good people against each other. By color, religion, birth nation, geography, sexual preferences, age, or any other wedge they can drive and exploit. The one they are using this time around is the perceived abuse of the power of organization and the meme that the union workers are getting more than they deserve.

I work in a large factory doing heavy fabrication, making primarily locomotives. I have what most would consider a great job, when you look at the benefits and wages. But it is hard, dangerous work. Last year, a man was killed when a 10,000 pound sub-assembly was knocked over on him. He left behind a widow and children. Most years, we don't have a fatal accident, just your standard maimings and other permanently disabling factory injuries. But still, a good job, if you last long enough to retire healthy.

In my small town, there is some kind of association of manufacturers. These owners have set the wages paid in the area for the different skills and levels of skill, and set them very low. I work for a large multinational that is not part of this collusion. And I am represented by a tough union. My union sisters and brothers are the ones that occupied the window factory in Chicago a couple of years ago. So my wages are significantly higher than the local market wants to pay.

When we get a contract with our company, they make sure to give the local newspaper, a big player in this association of these manufacturers, a rough idea of what our wages and benefits are worth. And all I hear from people earning 8 to 10 dollars an hour is complaint after complaint of how much we greedy union are overpaid and under worked. "You guys get paid too much!"

This from the guy next to me drinking draft beer when the specials are over to save a little cash. Of course, when you work a couple of full time jobs, as does your spouse, there is not a lot of time available to spend at a bar. Most of the workers in my town are in that situation. If they are able to find work. But that is for another diary...

Being a "shop rat," my reply is usually phrased something like "No you stupid bastard, you don't make efuckin'nough." And then I start explaining. About how the couple have to both work multiple jobs just to have enough for a car that is only a decade old when they buy it. About how much of their pay ends up going for child care because they work too much to be able to be home enough to cover the daycare themselves. The list of how hard they have to work to barely scrape by is long and quite disheartening. And I know that list as well as they do, because I was thirty before I started there.

I explain how depressed the local wages would be if we did not force my company to give us a share of the pie larger than they would like. I explain that if we did not get as much as we did, we would be paying less in taxes, and everybody at the bottom would have to pay more. And then I start on about how much the owners of all these businesses are making on the sweat of the workers' brow.

Or getting from the workers' local government to subsidize that capitalist venture with tax breaks and exemptions of all types. The company I work for paid no federal income tax last year, but wanted us to call our legislators to get them to approve this $450 miilion dollar alternate engine made by us for a military jet, and built in this really orange guy's congressional district.

Too many times, by then I am speaking to no one. Because they don't need to hear my "lies" about the imbalance in the system. Or because they know that the big three networks are all way too liberal, and I asked them to give me examples to prove what they claim, and it proves I have a closed mind to their "truth." Or because I sound like a socialist for disagreeing with them about how bad healthcare in Canada and England is.

If they are still hanging in there and haven't hit me yet, I explain how the few at the top, like the Koch brothers, are just pushing us into division and strife, so we "ignore the man behind the curtain." But the whole goal of this rushing the workers to the bottom is to create a corporatist feudalism. A dystopic society where those at the top don't have enough until we have none.

We seem to have a nexus of events coming that could open some eyes of those that are most blind to their own condition. The attack on unions by the Republicans may be (I hope with all my being) a petard to hoist them by. But we need to get people in the streets and government offices to make this happen. So don't just go alone to show your support, take some people with you. The wealthy have the money to spread their BS, but we have the people as our prime resource.
Updated by Mentatmark at Sat Feb 19, 2011, 08:45:57 PM

I thank all for your recs and comments. To those that are new to the organizing and union scene, I recommend a stop at the Labor Notes website at http://www.labornotes.org/ and my National's website at http://www.ueunion.org/...

 bargaining power by labour is a prerequisite, not only for fighting inequality, but for restoring economic growth.

This is the good fight. I wish you courage and strength.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Sun Feb 20th, 2011 at 02:51:41 PM EST
Thank you, it is a fight that is won through education and example by those that see the way.
by Mentatmark (mentatmark at gmail dot com) on Sun Feb 20th, 2011 at 03:16:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
i enjoyed this diary over at the orangerie earlier today, thanks for sharing it with us over here too.

excellent writing, sir!

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Feb 20th, 2011 at 08:12:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"it is a fight that is won through education"

Our own research has emphasized how this connection between education and political participation is often influenced by the availability of opportunities in the labor market for educated people. Put simply, the skills acquired through education lead to an increased willingness to engage in politics, as well as the effectiveness of this involvement (think about how the tech-savvy can marshal Facebook and Twitter to their cause).

If the educated are well-rewarded and remunerated in their professional pursuits, they are naturally less inclined to use their time and energies for political purposes. Countries where economic opportunities for the skilled are abundant tend to exhibit less political engagement on the part of educated people.
In the absence of promising job prospects, they are more likely to devote the skills they have acquired to political activities, from maintaining political blogs to organizing protests in Tahrir Square. Since they find no democratic outlet, they can eventually destabilize regimes that until very recently appeared in complete control.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Wed Feb 23rd, 2011 at 05:36:42 PM EST

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