Thursday, February 5, 2009

President Obama Wants You to Join the Union

Robert KuttnerCo-Founder and Co-Editor of The American Prospect
Posted February 1, 2009 | 08:26 PM (EST)

I do not view the labor movement as part of the problem, to me it's part of the solution.

-- President Barack Obama, January 30, 2009

The great union leader John L. Lewis, who headed the United Mine Workers from the '30s through the '50s and helped organize millions of workers into the CIO, used to declare in organizing drives: "President Roosevelt wants you to join the union." Roosevelt never said that in so many words, but FDR did strongly back the Wagner Act, giving workers the clear right to organize.

During World War II, Roosevelt's War Labor Board made clear that corporations seeking war contracts needed to have good labor relations. In practice, that meant unions; and it meant "pattern bargaining" in which workers for different companies in the same industry got the same wages, so that companies could not play workers off against each other.

Roosevelt's wartime contracting policies, the Wagner Act, and the militancy of the labor movement laid the groundwork for the golden age of American unions during the postwar boom. Not coincidentally, this was also the one period in the past century when the economy became more equal, and more secure for working people.

So, while Roosevelt's words never quite urged workers to join unions, his deeds spoke volumes. John L. Lewis was well within the bounds of poetic license.

On Friday, President Obama, a onetime organizer, had more words to say about unions, and they were the kind of explicit endorsement that we literally haven't heard from a president since FDR's day.

"We need to level the playing field for workers and the unions that represent their interests, because we know that you cannot have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement," the President said. "When workers are prospering, they buy products that make businesses prosper. We can be competitive and lean and mean and still create a situation where workers are thriving in this country."

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Anonymous said...

It's in FedEx's interest for us to organize.

Good workers get good pay and spend their money. The way it is now, the pool of people paying for insurance is so small that the rest can't afford to pay the huge premiums! Those of us losing our insurance now receive it from the state. In short, this company, as does Wal-Mart, is pushing its responsibility onto the tax payers.
And people wonder why the cost of health insurance is so high?
Hello? Is there anybody home? Anybody Listening?

I have to wonder how this company is going to remain competitive when business picks back up, and they start hurting for workers.

What has this company done for anybody here?

frankiez said...

This is a copy of the e-mail sent to Glenn Beck/Fox News:
On a recent program you remarked,sarcastically,that unions (members) do not sacrifice or give anything back.
I refer you to a recent,"giveback",by members of the Teamsters Union to YRC (Yellow/Roadway) a major LTL (less than truckload)company in the U.S.
The union members voted-over 70%-to give back or sacrifice a portion of their negotiated pay to help YRC through troubled times.
These troubled times brought about by poor management decisions that placed the corporation in economic peril.
So the management,who often deride,demean or otherwise negate labors contributions turns to them to help bail them out.
If, and when ,the corporation recovers they'll return to the above and the cycle will start again.
Unions (Labor) does not want to see a company fail.Nor do they want a substandard wage and thus a similar standard of living.
Corporate greed and ineptness has brought about the situation prevalent in the country today.To slight labor as a significant cause of the situation is less than fair.
The union wages and/or benefits are negotiated.Same negotiations you or your attorney engaged in when your contract was negotiated.
Always remember without labor there is no need for management.
Frank Zunt
Not A Union Member

frankiez said...
The above link is to an article about the banking industry and how they are laying off US workers and hiring foreign workers to do the same job,of course at the prevailing wage of the country in which they reside.Bet it isn't up to US standards.
To add insult to injury YOU-WE-are financing them-the banks-with BAILOUT $$$$$.
Oh,to be fair the banks are offering some employees the OPPORTUNITY to transfer to those-exotic -no doubt-countries to work AT THE PREVAILING WAGES OF THAT COUNTRY.Bring your own rice bowl,you'll need it because you'll only be making pennies a day.
My point? Think you don't need a union?
Think the company will treat you fairly?
Think everything will work out for the best?It may but if it's to your benefit it will most certainly be coincidental to your welfare.
US LABOR is being screwed daily!!!
The company has a vested interest in making you believe that they have your best interest at heart.
Yeah right.The obvious is obvious.We are being exploited on a daily basis.
This is a part of the reason we need Teamsters representation-to protect us against this exploitation.
In case you haven't heard the MIDDLE CLASS IS BEING ERODED.
Stand UP*Speak Out.
Join the Teamsters

frankiez said...

This says it better than I can.

Anonymous said...

President Obama has some good ideas!

frankiez said...

This is an exerpt from an e-mail I received recently.
I witnessed the best of humanity that day. I and everyone on that plane survived and have been given a second chance. It struck me that in our work we continuously seek excellence to solve our client's leadership problems. We talk to clients all the time about the importance of experience and the ability to execute. Experience showed up big time on Flight 1549 as our pilot was a dedicated, trained, experienced professional who executed flawlessly when he had to.
The author of the piece works for an executive recruiting firm.
Experience is the operative word.
And, the ability to execute.
We,in large part are experienced and heretofore executed to fulfill that PURPLE PROMISE touted as the thing that sets us apart.
Mr Smith in reply to a query as to what makes Fedex/Him successful replied,"Find a bib parade and run in front of it".
In light of how we are treated NOW by the company I wonder what kind of response we are rendering to our critical situations.Do we respond as in the past with enthusiasm coupled with experience? Or,do you respond as you are treated-half hearted response because you don't know if you'll be employed the next day.Or for all the other reasons the company is giving us not to act as experienced professionals.
Food for thought.
This is only part of the reason we need Teamsters representation-to have our experience-professionalism-dignity acknowledged and RESPECTED.
Stand Up*Speak Out.

frankiez said...

A thought.
Recently,Mr. Duncan announced 900 layoffs at 130 facilities.
At the end of the e-mail he signed off with,"Please remember to have compassion and understanding for our people who are affected".
Mr Duncan,would you consider donating the 7 + million $$$$$'s you captured through insider trading in July 2008 to those 900employees as a token of YOUR compassion and understanding?
Then too,perhaps you could encourage the 7 or 8 others that participated in the deal-for about 31 million $$$$ to do likewise.
That would go a long way to Proving your/company compassion.
Doubt it though,
That's why we need Teamsters representation to protect us from this compassion and understanding.We'll be able to look out for ourselves and not be subject to empty emotions displayed by corporate executives who-as sadly displayed on the news daily-only care about how much they can add to the bottom line.
Kinda like,"Let them eat cake",atmosphers.
Think about it.
Stand Up*speak out.