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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blame the workers

So another mill shuts down and people are out of work. I'm surprised how often the workers are blamed. Like they've got any control over management's business decisions. What really hurts is that these guys really knew their jobs. They kept the machines humming along. Years of their lives went into learning those skills.

Today someone was telling me how those guys should have developed other skills to be self employed. This came from someone who's last true bit of self employment was as a prostitute. I kid you not. Then she went on and on how the welfare office isn't treating her right. Since her boyfriend moved out, her and husband are having a hard time getting by. This person had the unmitigated gall to criticize factory workers?

Years ago I was on the contract negotiating team for my fellow Firefighters. The City Manager went on and on about the city budget being in bad shape. There was no money to pay us. I looked him in the eye. Told him he was the City Manager and if the city was in rough shape that was his department. All the fires were out. We firefighters were doing our job, so pay us. The poor guy looked like he was going to blow a gasket. Negotiations were called off for the rest of the day.

There was a sewing operation in town that supplied clothes to major retailers. Wages were crap, conditions awful, but a lot of people eked out a living there. The owner of the factor said that it cost $3.50 to make an item of clothing that he sold for $90. Soon after he closed the US factory and opened one where his costs dropped to $0.50. Was it the worker's fault that they couldn't work for less than minimum wage?

At a time when unions are weak, government and big business are in partnership, the average person has little political power, and International trade drives factories to the world's cheapest labor, the workers are blamed.

One day those former workers may get fed up with being blamed. They may figure out who's really to blame and take action. That would be interesting. What's the government going to do to them? They've already lost everything. Let's just hope that someone in power figures this out before it's too late. On the other hand, those in power are to blame, so the best they can hope for is to cover up their sins for as long as possible.

When the peasants show up with pitchforks and torches, the powers that be are going to feel stupid about firing all those police and firefighters. Soon they'll be missing those EMS guys too.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for illustrating this problem. It drives me up the wall when I hear someone complaining about unions as if they are the cause of all this.