Tuesday, February 22, 2011

WHY COLLECTIVE BARGAINING MATTERS

 A letter submitted to the Indianapolis Star

[Update: The Indianapolis Star printed this on Monday, March 7, 2011]


I was privileged to speak for a few minutes at
two of the rallies at the Indiana State Capitol.
That's me with the megaphone.
Apparently, some folks just can't see that the hard-won right to collective bargaining is--symbolically and in reality--the only legal leverage hourly-wage workers have in this thing we call free-market capitalism. 

But many people who are not members of a union, DO see it.  Maybe that's why 60% of American citizens in the most recent USA Today poll are against reducing the collective bargaining rights of workers.

Thanks to successful union-busting efforts by corporate powerhouses over the past 30 years, less than 8% of our nation's workforce currently belongs to a union.  Still, every hourly-wage worker, whether he or she is a member of a union or not, benefits directly from collective bargaining.

Wages, working conditions and benefits are as good as they are in a non-union business because of what workers in unionized shops have been able to access via difficult collective bargaining.  That's why many people are convinced that a threat to collective bargaining anywhere is a threat to hourly-wage workers everywhere.

What's happening at our Indiana State Capitol and in Wisconsin is as much a symbolic line in the sand as it is a real stand against untenable legislation.

By the way, I am not a union member, have never been a union member, and I am not being paid by a union.  This is, to me, just common sense.

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