First Published 9-8-10
In observing the international corporate mafia’s propaganda machine (mainstream media) over this past weekend leading up to Labor Day I noticed a push coming out of right field wherein I heard some propagandists suggesting that America should put an end to labor unions. I decided yesterday on Labor Day to address the issue of Labor Unions in my next article. Today is September 7th, the day after Labor Day and sure enough on Varney and Company, Fox Business News Network whose slogan is fair and balanced (yeah right), a story aired headlined “Are Unions Necessary?” The common assertion that seems to be emerging is that as we have instituted so many labor laws to protect workers, unions have not only become obsolete but a detriment to our ability to compete in the world market. I tried to look at the question objectively from all angles.
My grandfather on my mother’s side went to work in 1927 in the coal mines of West Virginia at the age of twelve, six years prior to the enactment in 1933 of the National Industrial Recovery Act which protected the rights of the unions and allowed for the rapid organization of the southern coal fields. In forcing the government to enact the Industrial Recovery Act many coal miners sacrificed their lives in what would become known as “The Mine Wars”.
“The United Mine Workers of America formed in Columbus, Ohio in 1890. In its first ten years the UMWA successfully organized miners in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois.
Attempts to organize West Virginia failed in 1892, 1894, and 1897.
“In 1902 the UMWA finally achieved some recognition in the Kanawha – New River coal field, its first success in West Virginia. Following the union successes coal operators had formed the Kanawha County Coal Operators Association, the first such organization in the state. It hired private detectives from the Baldwin-FELTS Detective Agency in Bluefield as mine guards to harass union organizers. Due to these threats the UMWA discouraged organizers from working in southern West Virginia.”
(Source: West Virginia’s Mine Wars, compiled by the West Virginia State Archives)
It would seem that Baldwin-FELTS Detective Agency would have to be considered the Blackwater of its day. Many bloody conflicts would ensue and many a man would lose his life in the struggle which would continue for the next thirty-one years.
What were the miners fighting for? The right to organize, recognition of their constitutional rights to free speech and assembly, an end to blacklisting union organizers, alternatives to company stores (the miners were paid in company script which could only be spent in company stores, so if they were able to force an increase in wages, the company stores simply raised their prices), an end to the practice of using mine guards, a prohibition of cribbing (Miners were paid based on tons of coal mined. Each car brought from the mine held a specific amount of coal. However cars were altered to hold more coal.), installation of scales at all mines for accurately weighing coal (obviously to counter the practice of cribbing), and that unions be allowed to hire their own check weight men to make sure the companies check weight men were not cheating the miners. How unreasonable can you get?
My grandfather worked 65 years in the coal mines before retiring. At the end of his work tenure he owned a nice house on the banks of the Kanawha River and his retirement was enough for him to live comfortably on for the rest of his days. He was also awarded $10,000 for the black lung which was inevitable for every miner who worked during those times, $10,000 back when my grandfather retired being equivalent to approximately $100,000 in today’s currency. My grandfather was a card carrying United Mine Workers of America member and I have no doubt in that he would have died a pauper in a company house had he not been so.
On the other hand, the Teamsters, Dock Workers, United Autoworkers, and many other big unions have over the years to my distaste become cliquish to the point that they’re members are either grandfathered in from father to son or brought in through marriage. The corrupt practices and connection to organized crime by many union leaders like Jimmy Hoffa cannot be denied. By the way if anyone’s still looking for him my wife is convinced that he along with Amelia Earhart and everything we have lost in our house that cannot be found is somewhere in our couch.
After looking at the situation from both of these angles my opinion was still in limbo. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. It was my son, Chris, on the line. He does computer drafting and fabricating at a non-union shop. I explained to him what I was pondering and his response gave me the answer. He said, “Though I am not a member of any union I am glad they exist.” He further stated, “The reason I am being paid $25 per hour at my current job and being treated well by my employer is because the person doing my job at the union shop makes $50 per hour. If my employer was not treating me decently and paying a living wage he knows that the union shop is just around the corner.”
Everything became perfectly clear to me at that moment. I realized that I was not looking at the big picture. I know it is the intent of the international corporate mafia to break our country and put us in such dire straits that we are forced to become the slave laborers they desire us to be. We will then willingly extract and manufacture the last of our resources for them with our only compensation being wages equating to slave labor, thus saving them the expense of sending the raw materials to China to be manufactured. Destroying our labor unions would be a logical step towards that goal.
Admittedly there is a degree of rot associated with the big labor unions but considering our present economic situation it would be suicide to even think of getting rid of them.
My son’s phone call was a godsend at just the right time. Ironically the shop he works for had given him Labor Day off with pay. Towards the end of our conversation, he inquired, “What is Labor Day?” to which I had to admit I didn’t know. It has always been a practice in our home that if anyone brought up a question that none could answer; it’s straight to the encyclopedia and later the internet to investigate. Wikipedia explains Labor Day in part as follows:
“The first Labor Day in the United States was observed on September 5, 1882 in New York City, by the Central Labor Union of New York, the nation’s first integrated major trade union. It became a federal holiday in 1894, when, following the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with the labor movement as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.”
(Source: Wikipedia – Labor Day)
Now who would be so sadistic as to launch a campaign over the Labor Day weekend to end labor unions? That’s right; you guessed it, the international corporate mafia banksters.