Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Here's the answer to Scott Walker’s drive to bust up public employee unions. Organize more private employee unions.

I’m an old guy. When I was a kid growing up in middle-class Brooklyn, every other kid I knew had a union member in the family. That’s why we were middle class in the first place. It was the unions that got our families living wages, job security, and the promise that retirement wouldn’t get lived out in penury.

It was the unions that saw to it our parents had enough money to send us to college, where the first rate professors had tenure thanks to their own union, the American Association of University Professors.

Unfortunately, it was also in college that most of my classmates became “professionals” – which, with the exception of the doctors and the lawyers, had no meaning other that we didn’t wear a blue collar to work. With their new-found and meaningless "professional status," most of my contemporaries looked down their noses at unions.

For years I worked for ad agencies. We hired actors who received a royalty (called a “residual”) each time they appeared on television in commercials we wrote. Ditto radio announcers. The actors belonged to one of several unions – the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Radio and Television Artists, Actors Equity – that saw to it that each time they helped make money for an advertiser, the advertiser paid them again.

In Hollywood, writers belong to a union and get residuals, too. But not in advertising. Ad writers anywhere in America work at the pleasure of their bosses. You could write a slogan and a commercial that stay on the air and in print for years. The agency will make money. It’s client will make money. And you can be fired the day after you write it. And get nothing.

So advertising people need to organize into unions. So too, office workers, broadcast technicians, marketing analysts, lab technicians, sales clerks and others. Let the bosses who milk your work and live in mansions ,while you live day-to-day making the money they steal from you to do it, know that the union will make you strong. You want your pension. You want your healthcare. You want your boss to pay for it. And if you don’t get yours, not only will your union go out on the street, but so will all the other unions that print, or manufacture, or warehouse, or sell what you make. And your union will do the same for them.

If we can get even a quarters of the Americans working in offices to unionize again, we can see the end of campaign financiers like the Koch Brothers yanking the strings they've got tied around the testicles of their little pull toys like Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker. The unions will have enough money to equal the ad expenditures of the Koch brothers. And they'll be able, via general strikes, to bring any state to its knees for refusing to negotiate with its own employees. Or any rapacious private corporation.

Call any existing union near you. Ask how they can help you get the workers in your own office unionized. Then go do it! And tell the bosses they can go thank Scott Walker that their own employees are unionizing.

1 comment:

Buce said...

You want to know which jobs will not be outsourced, you consult the Teamsters Union website and see where they are organizing. They are not going to waste time and energy on jobs that will be going away.