Here’s a nice story about workers coming together to create a non-state collective alternative to state actions (worker-friendly laws and regulation) for worker protection and negotiation.
Those non-state entities are called labor unions, and no one has come up with anything to replace them yet which is probably why they keep rising from the dead every time they’re declared O.V.E.R (!) and annoying both politicians and private sector CEO’s with their olde timey, noisy and unfashionable demands. Obviously, both political leaders and private sector CEO’s would find this whole “worker” thing a lot easier to deal with if politicians and the private sector were the only game in town for worker protections and negotiating clout and we all had to go thru them, but thankfully this “union” idea will not die because we need a third avenue, an outside force to push back and watch the other two, and a lot of us know it.
On a drizzly afternoon in mid-June, about 1,000 low-wage workers and their supporters marched down Boylston Street, trombones and drums creating a jubilant soundtrack. Adjunct professors walked alongside fast-food workers, religious leaders with retail staffers, construction union officials with waiters.
Home health aides waved signs that read, “Hold the burgers, hold the fries, make our wages supersize.”
The march was part of “Fight for $15,” a campaign to lift up low-wage workers that has spread across the country, spurring unprecedented collaboration between unions, worker centers, community organizations, and faith-based groups.
Propelled by public outrage over corporate greed and income inequality, the effort to improve the lives of the working poor is reshaping and reinvigorating the labor movement, cutting across lines of geography and self-interest that have divided these groups.
As the movement gains momentum, workers from different industries are becoming more united and vocal. Maureen Sullivan, once a full-time faculty member at Boston University, became an adjunct sociology professor at the school after she was laid off in 2012. With no benefits, and only one BU class to teach, Sullivan joined the Fight for $15 effort, helping to lead protesters down Boylston Street in June.
“Why am I identifying with fast-food workers?” she said. “We are the same.”
But some in the business community say the movement is just a ploy by the Service Employees International Union to collect more dues.
“It would be wrong to allow the SEIU and its affiliates to hide behind an altruistic plea for higher wages when what they really want is a shortcut to refill their steadily dwindling membership ranks and coffers,” said Steve Caldeira, president of the International Franchise Association, a trade group in Washington
I love this argument, I must say. Unions are self-interested. They want members, union dues AND higher wages for members. Let me pick myself up off the floor because all this time I thought they were like Worker Fairy Angels with no expenses or costs and no goal of expanding membership or “playing politics”. Heaven forbid.
They are “self interested”, it is true, unlike our altruistic and completely self-sacrificing political and business leader sector, who operate from the purest possible motives and are never captured or corrupt or getting paid. If you believe in self-interest as the only motivating force possible in all human activity, don’t you have to apply that analysis across the board to labor unions AND politicians AND lobbying groups for business interests? Funny how that works, huh?