Monday, September 07, 2009

Happy Labor Day

The first Labor Day was celebrated in 1882. Labor unions are as much needed today as ever. They were created to protect workers from corporate abuses. If anyone feels that times are different now and that unions are no longer needed, one need only look at the sweatshops that have been created by American companies that have moved off shore. Out from under American laws that were crafted due to unions, American companies often revert back to horrid and oppresive working conditions for workers.

There is this great scene in A Bug's Life, when the ants realize for the first time that they are not powerless against the grasshoppers when they stand together. The grasshoppers don't like having to face the group... they would rather deal with one ant at a time. When I hear managers and buisnesses complain about Unions, I realize they are a grasshopper who would rather only have to deal with one ant at a time.

Not that Unions always play fair when they have the upper hand. Abuses can occur on both sides. Balance must be maintained as best as possible.

So on this Labor Day, I am thankful for unions. History shows why they are needed, and history is forever repeating itself.


curmudgeon said...

Well said Andrew. Unfortunately labor unions have been the victim of a negative PR campaign the last two decades or so.

So when you enjoy you 8 hour work day, child labor restrictions, overtime pay, fair labor standards for women, minorities, and those over 40....Blame the unions! I am sure they will be happy to accept the responsibility.

John Shore said...

Great post, brother.

Wumpus said...

I have been reading a lot of your posts and I agree with a lot of what you have to say. However, there is one point I wish to correct in your post (or at least offer a different way of looking at it).

Although I’m no economist, I do love the subject, so hear me out on this.

Are the people of countries like Indonesia really being “exploited” by American companies? Think about how hard it was for those people to find work before our companies went overseas. For example, The "sweat shops" actually pay the people of Indonesia considerably higher wages than the average Indonesians yearly salary. The reason they are getting paid so little (by our standards) is due to a surplus of labor.

So if you want to fix the poor working conditions for the people in Indonesia, then I say send more "sweat shops" over there. If you have more work than there are people to perform the work, then the salary for said work is increased.

It’s all about supply and demand.
(Invisible Heart by: Russ Roberts is a great book. Its a romance novel that explains economic principles. Way better than reading a dry, boring Econ book. Completely changed the way I view the world)

Andrew said...

But this is why I want to remain suspicious of Capitalism. It has no moral code at its foundation, so therefore if it is to be used, it must have a watchful eye above it. Otherwise, we take comfort in behaving in immoral ways simply because the previous immorality was worse. It doesn't matter whether I treat a worker properly, it only matters what I can get away with. Whether or not something CAN be done becomes its own justification. I think if we are to declare ourselves human, we have to offer something better.

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