Sunday, April 06, 2008

Back In the Days When American Workers Were Willing To Stand Up For Their Rights


This video takes a look at the 1934 San Francisco general strike. May 9 will mark the 74th anniversary of this historic event, which occurred during an era when U.S. workers were willing to stand up to defend their rights.

Sadly, today's working class in America seems to be content with letting CEOs and other robber barons shit all over us, as these crooks loot the U.S. Treasury and dole out hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare to themselves and their rich allies.

If you've had enough of all this, take action. Also, consider joining a union.


dr sardonicus said...

Thanks for posting this. Although when it comes to American workers, I don't know if it's an unwillingness to fight, or if it's just that folks figure they've got it good in relation to the rest of the world, and that there's little to gain by fighting the boss and a lot more to lose.

I've also said that American workers are unaware of their own history, and simply don't know of the times that their forerunners did fight, and sometimes did win. Every little thing we can do to raise awareness helps.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Dr Sardonicus, thanks for your comment.

>>>or if it's just that folks
>>>figure they've got it good in
>>>relation to the rest of the

No doubt this is part of it. But it's an image Americans have of themselves that is decades out of date.

True, back in the 1950s, American workers, thanks to strong unions, worked the fewest hours of any First World nation. Workers here also enjoyed the best average pay and benefits of any First World nation.

But American workers' average pay has been declining since the late 1970s. And the average number of hours we work has been increasing steadily for the past couple of decades, as documented by Juliet B. Schor in her book, "The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure."

Meanwhile, average work hours have been steadily declining in the rest of the First World. And pay has been rising.

Germans, for example, now earn higher average wages and work far fewer hours than Americans do.

These days, Americans work more hours annually than even the Japanese.

Anonymous said...

I've been on strike for the last four years, myself. But then hubby is well paid, and we aren't overextended. I've always seen very little point in working hard to afford a huge house you can never enjoy and a big car that you drive only to and from work, though.

Anonymous said...

Hey Marc,
I signed up and sent a few bucks for the cause. Thanks for the link.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Donna, yes, I agree. Americans used to live within their means and we had one of the world's highest savings rates. Today, American save virtually nothing and our spending binges are funded by the $2 billion that flows into our nation every day from the central banks of East Asia. It's hard to see how we can remain a great power for long if we're so deeply in debt.

Marc McDonald said...

Hi Red Hog,

>>Hey Marc, I signed up and sent a
>>few bucks for the cause. Thanks
>>for the link.

Cool! Thanks a bunch.

WageslaveZ said...

I happen to live in the last enclave of union activity in the country, Michigan. The only thing I've seen the UAW do is bend over and take it from the Big 3 automakers time and time again no thanks to Ron Gettlefinger, their corrupt coroprate-blowing boss that gets a seven figure salary while he loses the dues that pay it buy letting the Big 3 shed tens or hundreds of thousands of jobs. Meantime everything gets worse for me because I can't afford to finish college and can't find a decent job because all the unemployed autoworkers take all the $10-$15/hr jobs that they said they'd never work while things were fine and dandy. I've been unemployed for 7 months and nobody cares about my generation (late Gen Y) in this state and my state government was already bankrupt, so I can't get any No Worker Left Behind Benefits. I've tried getting into the skilled trades, but I'm not getting hired because those union dinosaurs realize they'll never afford to retire, so they'll work till they die. This is in stark contrast to all the MSM labor reports that said there would be such a huge shortfall of electricians, millwrights, pipefitters, etc from waves of asshole Boomers retiring. So I've spent close to 200 bucks on entrance exams that I've aced and will continue to do so just to have old-school union people not hire me for a good-paying job that I won't spend on Xbox 360, PS3, or a Wii, let alone start a family with. I just want a living wage to finish college and will work my gonads off to get it, but life's hard. What's worse is Bush's butt-buddy Right to Work campaign friends are poisoning the minds of all the elites in this state saying that RTW will cure everything. The only goddamned thing it'll do is turn what's left of Michigan into Alabama or Arizona, a low-wage hellhole for anyone without an ivy-league education or a trust fund... In my opinion, American unions are a joke, they've failed to change with the times, let corporate interests slit their throats in Congress, and failed to appeal to my generation in order to bring about change. Sorry to sound so glum, but I live in a cynical third-world pseduo-country while the rest of this nation acts like the streets are paved with f*&()#$ gold, which is certainly worth more than our toilet paper dollar these days.

Young kids in Catholic schools
Elderly parents living under your roof
You pay the bills and you pay the price
You don't back down and you won't play nice
The disgraced values of the company man
Are why you fight and sacrifice
Don't bed or break for their one-way rules
Or run from battles you know you'll lose

Greed is blinding you
But we can see
He's got yesterday's values
Living in tomorrow's industry

They see your eyes, they see your face
But it's your soul they wanna take
Yeah, welcome to the future it don't seem fair
But this is your struggle, the cross you bear
They know your paying, they don't think twice
There's a dollar value on your life
You don't compromise and you don't break
Yeah, it's your principles at stake


The daily outlook it's so bleak
Saving every dollar of the week
Living month to month, you've got to get ahead
But all the while falling deeper in debt


The weight falls hard on the stand up guy
The one you can count on you can rely
This is your future it don't seem right
But this is your battle, this is your fight
Something in this country has got to change
If we're ever gonna see those days again
Your parents may have done it with just one job
But now we're working for less and twice as hard.

(Dropkick Murphys: Tomorrow's Industry)

Marc McDonald said...

Hi, WageslaveZ, thanks for your comments. I agree U.S. unions are flawed, but what we need are stronger labor laws, as well as laws that protect workers' rights to organize.
That "Right To Work" phrase always cracks me up. I mean, how could anyone be against something with such a positive name as "Right To Work"? Its counterpart, "Closed Shop," sound gloomy and pessimistic.
Clearly these terms are the creation of corporate America. They've succeeded in getting their PR departments (i.e., the MSM) to use these terms in "news" stories.

Chris said...

How can you possibly say the Auto unions are getting screwed by management? The companies are literally going bankrupt, and a huge part of this the incredibly generous benefits that the union members get until the die. Benefits that almost no other group in the U.S. receive. They drive the cost of business up so high that GM, Chrysler cannot possibly complete, having $1500-2000 extra cost to build on every car they manufacture. Your company is going bankrupt because of the contracts you find so wanting. If your company is bankrupt, there is obviously something wrong- perhaps look in the mirror before casting stones at others.