I used to think labor unions were a pain in the butt: some burly guy got a lot of the meek and humble to sign up, give up part of their pay, then enforced all kinds of restrictions on the people who owned the companies on behalf of the workers’ rights, and they lined their own pockets in the process.
The saying, “Never love a corporation, it won’t love you back,” got its start pre-labor unions, I’m betting (not that the unions ever made corporations more lovable once they got going).
Then, my thinking took a paradigm shift. Sure, I don’t need a labor union to protect my right to anything:
- Health care
- Paid vacations
- 40-hour week, which then turns into overtime when I do more than the basic 40
- A feeling of social membership
I’d rather arrange for all of these things all by myself, and I have.
However, not everyone’s as independent and entrepreneurial as I am, so my mind’s beginning to change a bit as regards labor unions, and this is a big switcheroo for me at this point in my life.
Why the switch? Well, Americans are all watching manufacturing jobs get outsourced to third world countries, where all the same sweatshop conditions have started up again for people in countries where no one’s protecting those who are willing to work hard to get ahead.
So, today, as I have a glass of wine while I take a few hours off this afternoon, I’m going to reflect on the fact that I can have this day to take some time off, because labor unions have made this day a time to not be working and… guess what… I’m benefiting.
Headed to Rodney Strong late this afternoon, to enjoy Hall & Oates, their last concert of the summer season. Hope to see you there?