No More Room to Compromise

By: Daniel Nardini

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Commentary Like the U.S. government, it seems that compromise and unity has largely gone out the window in union-company relationships. Last time I wrote about many Walmart workers going on strike for better wages and benefits. Now many workers from fast food chains like McDonalds, Burger King and Taco Bell are also going on strike or pulling walk-offs for better wages and better working conditions. Three things seem to have led to this happening. First, the reelection of Barack Obama for president. Second, the union contribution to Barack Obama’s reelection is having an impact on the general political climate in the country. Finally, many workers in the service industry are just simply fed up with being treated as throw-away tools. Doing these jobs is hard, and sometimes workers have been injured or badly over-worked with over-time schedules and poor pay.

Poor pay is usually the main cause for worker discontent. For too long many companies have paid workers as low as possible, and have treated them with little or no regards. Most workers simply earn nothing more than minimum wage, and in many cases not even that since so many companies put so many workers on part-time work. This has led to very high turnover in so many private service sector jobs and adequate to poor quality work. Many unions want to unionize these service sector jobs, but companies pay millions to make sure this does not happen. Despite the law that says workers can organize into unions, many workers are still threatened and intimidated by companies even though these actions are “illegal.” Proving the actions of companies actually are threatening in a court of law is next to impossible, and employees face the threat of being fired and jailed or worse.

To add to this bitter mix, a number of Republican lawmakers are making laws that benefit the companies. In Michigan alone, the Republican legislators have enacted an ordinance that will “allow” those workers who do not want to be union to not be union. This “right to work” law means that companies can divide their workers into union and non-union sections. What many non-union employees do not understand is that they may contribute part of their dues to a union, even though they may not be members of it, because they receive the same wages and benefits as do union members. If these non-union members do not pay union dues then companies can cut their wages and eliminate their benefits—the same higher wages and benefits won for these non-union workers by the unions. Despite the fact that the majority of Americans voted for Obama partly as a vote for the unions, the Republicans and their corporate employer collaborators are ready to force this country off a cliff in more ways than one. They are leaving no compromise, and their actions will lead to this country’s decline and eventual downfall.

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