Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another Reason Glenn Beck is an Idiot.

let me preface this post with the idea that I don't engage in knee jerk political "debate" that 99% of the internet world engages in. I understand such shock jocks like Beck are created to be a distraction to keep everyone enraged over issues that do not effect their life one bit because it's beneficial for the corporate machines who create them. With that in mind please read on.

Today while at Sandmeyer's Bookstore, an excellent Chicago book seller, I stumbled across Glen Beck's book. I don't remember the title but he was dressed like Stalin which made me laugh a little because he's always talking about communists like it was 1958. Anyway I swished through a few pages and came to his take on Unions. "When will America be through paying her dues?" The statement implied that once we reach an elevated level of comfort we need to quit demanding more and be happy with what we've got. Uhm, America did that over past decades when we refused to improve our products and technology and insisted on protectionist trade practices that ultimately led to the export of our manufacturing jobs. So from the very beginning of the chapter he's uninformed.

A little tidbit on the side also suggested if people wanted a union so much why don't they just join one. As if this nike cliche of "Just do it" was somehow all that you needed to form a union in your workplace. And that is what set me off. Critics of labor unions seem to think that to bring a union into your workplace you just walk right up to your boss and say, "Hey, you're making a lot of money off us and we'd sure like a union please." Then the kindly old boss says,"Why of course! Let's have an election tomorrow!"

Having an election in the workplace takes months of secretive preparation. You have to talk about the issues with co-workers you trust, you have to have meetings, you have to make sure one of your co-workers isn't a snitch because if your boss finds out you are a union supporter YOU WILL BE FIRED. They will find a way to make it look like it was your fault-"oh five minutes late, called in sick, didn't get a task completed"--FIRED. Management spends millions to keep the union out and it's no accident union supporters suddenly have a declining performance. Even if we do finally get to election amidst the owner's slew of lawyers, pay incentives, and one on one meetings of intimidation, the company can sit on their ass and not negotiate a contract because money makes the law.

This misunderstanding is not just perpetuated by the far right, many even headed people don't know how hard it is to unionize a workplace. And the corporate machine media would like to keep it that way. They want everyone to think people don't have unions because they don't want them, not because management spends billions of dollars to keep them out.

This is why the employee free choice act is so important. Union membership is at an all time low of around 7% yet the media still treats the idea of unionization as if it were a large threat to the state of our nation. The fear they are creating is at the loss of monetary gain they stand to loose from working people demanding more. We saw it play out with the health care debate. Profit over people blatantly in your face--they don't want you to have a larger piece of the pie and they certainly aren't going to serve it to you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As of Late...

Things have been going very well with my current organizing campaign. I have also been looking for ways to become an ally in the neighborhoods I have been working in beyond this specific campaign. I met with a person today from one of the stores and asked what community groups we could go to with our ideas and my heart sank when that person said,"there aren't any, everybody wants to get out."

I have had similar conversations with other people as well. People worried their children will not go to a good high school and in turn won't get to attend college. And that sentiment keeps coming back, what they want more than anything for their children is for them to "get out" of these neighborhoods.

The economic lines have been drawn in this city and the service and retail jobs that are thought of as "temporary work" are the only definite source of income in some neighborhoods. It is these jobs that aren't going to leave that we need to secure as living wage jobs. The declining wage and job insecurity only pushes neighborhoods further into poverty. If people are not making money they have no money to spend, and that will not attract new investments to the neighborhood and this is a cycle that will perpetuate itself as violent crime and instability in the area flourish.

I only get a brief moment to talk with most workers, it's not always enough time to discuss all these elaborate issues that result in the armed robbery that is happening in their workplace. But it is an urgent conversation.

The other half of this is that I do not live in these neighborhoods and do not want to appear that I have all the answers and am going to be a leader. My main objective is to help people understand their rights and not feel helpless.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Employee Free Choice Act

If the Employee Free Choice Act passes it would be a major victory for working people.
It would be easier for a new union to form and those brave workers would not be subjected to company intimidation while waiting for the NLRB to recognize their efforts.