Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 2 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (2 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   2 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Celebrate Labor Day by Voting Democratic!

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com

Become a Fan
  (2 fans)
- Advertisement -
I was a union shipyard worker for several years, a dues paying member of Local 587 of the Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers, at Bethlehem Steel's Beaumont Yard, where offshore drilling rigs were first designed and produced.


Shipyard Workers, Beaumont, Texas, 1943 by Public Domain


My first supervisory position was as a union shipfitter foreman on an inland waterway drill barge construction project. Later, work as a shipfitter foreman took me into management for Todd Shipyards, Inc. in Galveston, TX and for General Dynamics Corporation at the defense giant's now-closed Quincy, MA shipyard. Laid off by General Dynamics near the completion of the TAKX new construction program (that's those floating warehouses and parking lots that store enough war materiel to supply a US Marine Corps battalion for 30 days on the ground), I found work as a shipfitter one last time, as a civilian employee of the US Coast Guard at the North End Station in Boston, MA. So, I've seen both sides of the private sector labor/management divide as well as government service in the same skilled trade. Later still, I lived and worked in Cambridge, MA for five years as a mid-level manager for the oldest corporation in America.

Today, and since the middle 1980s, the marine construction industry in the USA is a pale shadow of its former self. Bethlehem Steel Corporation, the industry giant that produced the steel for San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and millions of other bridges, ships, skyscrapers, automobiles, rail cars and thousands of miles of rail, is long gone. To imagine for a moment that unions killed the steel industry or marine construction in the USA, or the textile industry, for instance, would be foolish indeed. Unions don't kill industries or jobs; counterproductive government policy and poor management, management that lacks the creativity to adapt to change, that's what kills jobs. Bridges, ships, skyscrapers, and - thanks to President Obama - automobiles are still being built in America, but good-paying steel industry jobs in the USA, like marine construction jobs and jobs in many other areas of manufacturing, are mostly a memory. People are still buying and wearing clothes, but the textile industry jobs are gone too, off-shored by corporate management that lacked the patriotism, the will, and the creativity to put the US economy and American jobs first.

Despite small gains during the last two years, the trend in manufacturing employment in the USA has been downward for 30 years, according to news reports and labor statistics. Unions were not and are not job-killers. The job-killers were and are corporate greed and deeply-flawed government policy influenced if not dictated by corporate power. You can thank Ronald Reagan, who broke the back of organized labor in the USA when he de-certified the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization in 1981, for that. As Thom Hartmann has pointed out: "When Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufacturing goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And, the largest creditor -- more people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now, just 28 years later, we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods; the largest exporter of raw materials--which is kind of the definition of a third-world nation -- and we're the most in-debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics" ( http:// www.huffingtonpost.com/ thom-hartmann/ thom-hartmann-defends-the_b _150964.html).

It's long past time to turn our economy around. But to think of putting Republicans who still worship Ronald "trickle down" Reagan in charge of economic recovery, well, that's just plain crazy.

Happy Labor Day! Vote Democratic!
- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -

 

Michael Gillespie writes regularly for the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. A 1999 graduate of the Greenlee School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Iowa State University, he was inducted a member of Kappa Tau Alpha, the national (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

All Across America, Flags at Half Mast, Again.

The Road to Recovery: Heeding Eisenhower's Warning

Biden and Obama Give Hollywood a Free Pass for Inciting Violence

CBS's Face the Nation: Blatant Pro-Israel Pro-War Bias Revealed

War Alarm: Waking Up from Reagan's Nightmare

Eleven Days before Christmas: Carnage in Connecticut

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
2 people are discussing this page, with 2 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Unions don't kill industries or jobs.  The bi... by Michael Gillespie on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 11:10:59 AM
As unions have lost members and power over the las... by Tom Shire on Tuesday, Sep 4, 2012 at 6:19:32 PM