Labor Unions / by kevin murray

Wars are fought under the principle of divide and conquer.  There is always a lot more power in a group of people, or fellow countrymen, banding together as one in a revolution, in the workplace, or in the public square.  America has many jobs that pay minimum wage or slightly better in which that mass of employees are resigned to the merits of just having steady employment.


The fact of the matter though is that lower paid employees are ignorant as to what they should be making or how that it is even determined.  Consequently, most low paid employees are more of the mindset to accept the offer that is made as being what the market appears to be offering and to accept it with little thought or question.  That, of course, is what big management wants you to think.  They want you to believe that you are receiving in pay all that you are ever able to achieve in pay and that the deal is fair. 


Part of the struggles that unions have in recruiting members is the semantics of the labor battle in the 21st century, in which the opponents support the "right to work" law.  Offhand, right to work, sounds like something that is pro-labor, but in actuality it is a smokescreen and anti-labor union.  A "right to work" law is essentially a direct knife thrust into the belly of labor unions.  States that have "right to work" laws are allowing their unions to weaken under the erroneous contention that employees right to free association supersedes the compulsory payment of union dues and union membership in which collective bargaining has previously determined the rules of the road for employees.  Right to work laws undercut union authority, union monies, and union power. 


While I do have some sympathy for a worker's right to free association, right to work laws, are the wolf in sheep's clothing in which ultimately those that take union jobs but do not contribute to their union through their dues will find after a period of time, that their collective bargaining position to have been severely weakened and therefore exploitable by management.


With the rise and relevancy for social protests of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media outlets, and the fact that real-time organization has never been more cost effective or easier, there is a new opportunity for labor unions to become relevant.  Therefore it is up to the biggest labor unions in America to focus their attention on areas of businesses that are most in need of the power and bargaining strength of labor unions.   If I was to make a suggestion I would concentrate on Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer, and McDonald's, our nation's largest fast food employer.   If these two companies were to fall into the union camp, the lesser competitors of these fine multi-national companies would also capitulate. 


Union organizers can ill afford to sit back and let nature take its course.  The labor numbers of the last fifty years have shown a steady and profound erosion of both union numbers and union strength.  If unions want to remain relevant in the 21st century their fight must begin now, it must be well planned, well executed, and absolutely relentless in its purpose.  Unions have been badly outplayed in recent history, yet, still, even today, the fat lady has not sung.