FAKE NEWS ABOUT LABOR UNIONS

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We are, unfortunately, in an era of the propagation of “fake news.” And also, equally unfortunate, is that the spread of fake news is not limited to any particular race, color, creed, national origin, religion, or any other identifier that exists in the human family.

For example, currently there are African Americans who are spreading fake news about labor unions. Mainly, it is being said that unions are major enemies of Black people.

According to Wikipedia, labor unions are “organizations that represent workers in many industries recognized under U.S. labor law. Their activity today centers on collective bargaining over wages, benefits, and working conditions for their membership, and on representing their members in disputes with management over violations of contract provisions. Larger trade unions also typically engage in lobbying activities and electioneering at the state and federal level.”

Admittedly, anything created by imperfect humanity will also have its imperfections, and there are challenges with the idea of unions, among small businesses that would be hard-pressed to comply with union intervention due to limited resources.

With this said, some individuals have, no doubt, had issues with their union experiences and as a result, oppose unions. This should not, however, cast negative aspersions on ALL unions. The very fact that unions exist says there is a need for them.

In the capitalist world in which we reside, the chief goal of business is that of gaining, protecting, and retaining capital. Period. Capitalism is not democratic. Captains of industry and their less wealthy counterparts are in business to make money, and anything that gets in the way of that will automatically face eradication by them.

Rank and file workers, because of the nature of being human, will sometimes do and need things that might be seen as antithetical to the accumulation of capital. These workers sometimes find themselves in the non-democratic environment of the workplace needing something that can help them cope with threats to their quest for earning a livelihood.

This is where unions come in. Workers, by utilizing the tools of collective bargaining, are able to somewhat level the playing field for them.

According to LiUNA!,the following items are things for which we can “Thank a Union:” weekends; paid vacation; FMLA; paid sick leave; child labor laws; social security; minimum wage; 8 hour work day; overtime pay; health and safety OSHA; health care; dental; vision; collective bargaining; breaks; wrongful termination laws; age discrimination laws; raises; sexual harassment laws; American Disabilities Act; holiday pay; military leave; equal pay act; civil rights; and workers comp.

Imagine what the workplace was like before the existence of these elements.

It can be said that most of these things would not exist if it were just up to employers. These gains were hard fought, and make no mistake, the story does not end there. Today there is still a need for the intervention of union muscle.

For example, even though minimum wage laws exist, they are wildly disparate depending upon the industry and employer. Collective bargaining, and its influence on legislative bodies, can have an important impact on protecting vulnerable underpaid workers who often find themselves in the predicament of not being able to access affordable housing, adequate food, and other necessities while working full time.

If employers always had the instinct to be fair regarding their workers, force would not be necessary. It is apparent, though, that many of them do not want to do the right thing and pay their workers fair wages, even though the work they perform is needed by the employer and would adversely impact the fiscal bottom line if the workers did not do their jobs.

This is why unions are needed, and those individuals who bad mouth unions, especially those who target Black people who have often experienced the most unstable working conditions, should be looked at side-eyed and with extreme suspicion.

These purveyors of fake news should be challenged, because it is clear that either they are incredibly uninformed, OR, they are working in opposition to the Black community for whatever reasons. At the very least, their propaganda stands to benefit employers and not employees. A Luta Continua.

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