Monday, September 03, 2007
Labor Day 2007
Over the years I was a card carrying member of the Machinists Union. Now I have a withdrawal card due to the fact my physical limitations do not allow me to do the heavy mechanical work.
I was Journeyman in three areas, forklifts, semi-trucks, and locomotives in that order.
The work I did was overseen by an apprenticeship program ensuring the jobs would be done right the first time and the employer would get a quality job.
The unions provided collective bargaining for wages and benefits with employers, that way they would have a quality work force of trained individuals to provide a high degree of labor, for fair wages.
Unfortunately today most labor has been transferred overseas and many Union laborers are relegated to lower wage jobs with little or no health care benefits just to support their families.
The corporatistas determined Union labor, too expensive, and consuming too much profit from their bottom line, so they went to China, and the Philippines, and Indonesia and other places to produce goods with a better profit margin and no outlay of high wages and benefits.
The Unions, in an effort to keep up with the cost of living by raising wages and benefits at contract time, essentially priced themselves out of a job. Too bad because the element of quality went out the door with those jobs.
Will the Unions come back strong again? Not likely, the die has been cast, consumers will accept shoddy goods, just more trash for the landfills of America when cheap stuff breaks.
Labor Day will go on but many of the Union workers will not, displaced by the demand for cheap goods and unable to compete against them.