Djcnor’s Weblog

Obama’s Even Better Than I Thought

Posted on: January 30, 2009

If I want a story to comment on for my blog, all I have  to do is call up the news. There Obama will be, at the top of the list, doing yet another thing that has needed to be done for a long long time. This time it’s reversing Bush’s labor policies, strengthening organized labor.

A lot of American workers have been sold a bill of goods about unions. Those in whose interest it is to keep them out of unions, knowing that Americans really do not learn history for more than the time it takes to pass a test, if that, have made sure that they are reminded of only half, if not less, of the stories of American unions, the part where some were dominated by organized crime with great corruption in the top union offices.

I was never fooled. I grew up in West Virginia. If there is a state that could serve as the poster child for unions and why they are needed, it’s West Virginia. In West Virginia, the fight for unions, for basic non-slavery working conditions, were fought to the point of lost lives. A graph of coal mine deaths would have high correlation with a graph of the power of unions. Without unions, the companies owned not only the mines themselves, but the houses the miners lived in, the shops of the town, the schools, and so much else that they might as well have owned the miners themselves and their families. They actually did not pay the miners in money at all. They paid in script that was only good in the company stores where the prices were so inflated that the families could not avoid becoming indebted to the company and thus trapped, essentially slaves to the company.

With the unions, all this changed. Deaths in the mines went down and opportunities for the children went up. There is still a high rate of poverty, but the people are in control of their own lives. They have options.

No West Virginian who learned his West Virginia history would believe unions were a net evil. The effect for the workers was positive.

The list of basic workers rights that US workers would not have  without unions is as long as the list of benefits and rights that they do not have that the workers of other western nations have. I think the news may finally have sunk in that the same companies that employ Americans employ Europeans and Asians and South Americans, and give those others much better benefits, AND STILL MANAGE TO MAKE PROFITS! 

The orders he signed will make it manditory for federal contractors to offer jobs to current workers when contracts change and would make it more difficult for such contractors to discourage union activities. In the long run, this will result in more of the profits of a company ending up in the hands of the people that do the work that brings in the profits, and that’s a good thing. Obama wants Americans to have green jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced. That’s a good thing too.

As usual, just my opinion.

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Djcnor’s Weblog

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