Americans Continue to Support Unions, Despite Weak Labor Laws and Corporate Media Messaging
Original post made by Mike Cherry, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Aug 23, 2013
The above poll indicates that American unions continue to enjoy favorable ratings from most citizens. What is most noteworthy about this is that public approval has remained relatively stable despite only approximately 11% of American workers being unionized.
How is it that unions, beaten back by conservative administrations and demonized by the corporate media, continue to enjoy so much support?
The answer is that most Americans realize that their interests are aligned with the interests promoted by unions. It is unions, not those with anti-union views (mostly fascist-inclined Republicans), that have spearheaded most progressive, democratic change for nearly a century. 40 hour work week; child labor laws; racial and gendered diversity in the workplace; minimum wage; maternity leave. All these the naysayers have opposed, always ballyhooing that such changes would "force" capitalists to raise the price of consumer products.
What is noteworthy is that when capitalists HAVE raised consumer prices as a response to, say, union-advanced efforts to increase workplace safety, the American public has nevertheless maintained its support of union practices and values. Better to pay more to have a safe work environment than pay less with more workplace deaths and injuries as the upshot. Americans, it seems, are capable of thinking in terms of "we-ness" rather than what cognitive scientists and human development theorists have termed a cognitively stunted "I-ness" level of human consciousness. The latter are likely to celebrate valuing their own belly buttons over the welfare of others around them. With a straight face (and in all ignorance), they claim this stunted level of consciousness is 'human nature'.
What is objectively certain is that what gains unions have made have been to the advantage of all other workers. See above noted advances within the political economy. This is true of wages as well. For nearly a century union wages have been instrumental to level of American wages, generally, as employers found it increasingly difficult to pay substandard wages in the nonunionized sector in the face of publicized union wages.
Ironically, so successful have unions been in America, that companies, in pursuit of greed, have found ways to exploit cheaper, nonunionized labor overseas. Most Americans have seen this corporate money-grab for what it is: A concession by capital that Americans' wages, largely on account of unions' vanguard actions, have been well above the near-starvation wages capital now exploits overseas.
The corporate mentality urges us to blame unions for corporations' wont to make ungodly profits at the expense of its employees. In extending their joke of a position, they encourage Americans to forsake a safer work environment, to take pay cuts, work for less than minimum wage, pay into their own pensions and call this a raise.
A clear majority of American workers indicate their ongoing support for unions. The minority, mostly Republican, and inextricably wedded to views that Obama is a Muslim born in Kenya who is responsible for Katrina, continue to slather up the swill presented to them by the corporate media. And they end up saying the most fantastic things, and believing them, such as that a political perspective consonant with fascism is consistent with 'human nature'. Not so say the majority of American workers.
The struggle of organized labor against the forces of fascism continues. Which side are you on? Viva American Workers! Viva Workers Organizing Themselves! Viva the forces that fight fascism!