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Tag: labor unions

A powerful and effective voice

The Artdog Quote of the Week


Happy Labor Day.

IMAGE: Many thanks to Better World Quotes and Bruce Springsteen, for today’s affirmation of the value of labor unions.

Opportunities wanted

The Artdog Quote of the Week

What does this quote have to do with creativity? Everything, in my opinion. Our ability to be paid a living wage and occasionally get some time off to take care of our own and our families’ needs is directly tied to our ability to develop our creative sides.

Although today’s quote was written in a different age, many of those old battles are being re-fought today. In recent decades we’ve seen a shift of public opinion away from support of unions. Some of that has been due to overreach by certain unions. Some has resulted from corruption and ties to organized crime in others.

And don’t forget the unintended results from the union agreements hammered out during years of prosperity that later proved unsustainable. (Question: if both management and labor signed on to those agreements, why is it only labor that got blamed?).

Some corrections were inevitable. But today we live in a world where not everyone has bounced back from the Great Recession at equal rates, and where we can all too readily wince in acknowledgement of cartoons like these:

I live in a so-called “right to work” state, which, in the peculiar usage of recent rightist legislation actually means it’s no easier to get work, just a lot harder to unionize–which is what the second cartoon is all about. Unions are still regarded as “the bad guys” by a lot of people, which is why such erosions of union strength are still popular in more individualistically-focused, conservative regions.

But at what point can we agree that perhaps the pendulum has swung too far? If each one of us is a lone-wolf law to him- or herself, the only organized parties left standing will be Management.

Companies certainly are not going to decentralize: they’re headed the other direction, with mega-merger after mega-merger. Individual employees, working individually, stand little chance of changing large multinational corporations. 

As I sometimes caution my younger female (“we’re past the need for feminism”) friends, if we don’t remember our history we’re going to have to learn those lessons all over again. No, we’re not post-feminist. Not even close to post-racial either.

Rights taken for granted and not guarded are all the more quickly lost.

IMAGES: Many thanks for the Samuel Gompers quote to IZQuotes, via Quotesgram. Many, many thanks to Denver Post cartoonist Mike Keefe for the cartoon about the middle class, and to Texas Observer cartoonist Ben Sargent for the cartoon about the right to organize–both via The Daily Kos.

Who needs labor unions?

The Artdog Quote of the Week

On this Labor Day, I wish both relaxation and a moment of thought to all of you. I know that in this country there are many people who think labor unions are the worst thing possible, so for you folks, here’s my trigger warning.

As a teacher who will forever be grateful that my labor union went to bat for me when I was being unfairly treated by an employer, I have a very positive view of the need for labor unions. 

I believe strongly that all human beings who work bring something unique to their work, and that they should be treated fairly, respected–no matter what their job is–and paid a living wage.

I’m a student of history. I know that not all labor unions have been positive influences at all times. Some labor unions have functioned like political machines in a corrupting way. Some labor unions have overreached and been intransigent when perhaps they should have been more flexible. Some have been controlled or heavily influenced by organized crime.

But I also know that labor unions have been deeply involved in helping to empower everyday people so they can take part in creating safer, fairer, and more free and well-paying job situations. My theme this month–a creative look at labor–will explore the positive aspects of the labor movement, and the need to keep on cherishing the right to help create better workplaces for tomorrow.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wheniscalendars for the Happy Labor Day logo, and to Quotesideas for the image and quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

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