During the past 40 years we have built this narrative that “unions are destroying the country.” Really? I don’t think so. There is a political agenda that is fueling that message, and while unions are being attacked, the value of the working middle class has been diminished. The economy is good and financial gains are on the rise, but the workers who create the wealth are not seeing much of that gain.
There is a whole generation of workers that has not experienced the environment of strong unionism and they accept the concept that unions are somehow evil. That of course is not a story the teachers and the police are buying and, I ask, who is better off than most workers? Surprise, surprise! The teachers and the police! As we have systematically destroyed the working middle class, we have made the country weaker. And that makes the country ripe for demagogues. We are seeing it happen.
The instability in the country is not good for any class. Theodore Roosevelt and later Franklin Roosevelt knew that, and they both embraced the empowerment of the ordinary citizen. They came from a wealthy family and were accused of being “traitors to their class.” Apparently they did not see it that way. Trust busting was the hallmark of Teddy Roosevelt (a Republican), and laws passed under FDR (a Democrat) aided the working class for at least 50 years. Leaders of their magnitude are no longer with us.
The answer lies in our own ability to organize and choose leaders of our making. Looking into the established politics for leadership is a fool’s game. It is not that the established political parties are evil, it is that their allegiance is not with the working people.
It is time that we stop looking for Mr. Goodbar in our politicians and simply create the future that we want by organizing our labor forces. Some of us in the business community realize that without the dedicated and talented people that keep business and governments functioning we are lost.
To every person who turns a wrench, who attends the sick, who fix our electronics, guides our planes, polices our streets, builds our infrastructure, drives our trains or any other person that literally keeps this nation functioning, we wish you a wonderful Labor Day celebration.