The Daft-Heartless Act
By Richard Girard
"The slave is doomed to worship time and fate and death, because they are greater than anything he finds in himself, and because all his thoughts are of things which they devour."
Bertrand Russell (18721970), British philosopher, mathematician. A Free Man's Worship and Other Essays, chapter 1 (1976).
I was listening to David Sirota on his morning show on 760AM KKZN here in Denver on Labor Day, and in the second hour of his show he asked what is wrong with the organized labor movement here in America?
He stated that membership in unions has been declining since its height of 34% just after the Second World War. This was happening in spite of the most recent polls that show 50% plus of American workers would belong to a union if they could. Mr. Sirota further stated that according to a study by Cornell University, twenty thousand employees are fired every year from their jobs--even though it is illegal to do so--for union activities, including attempting to organize a union at their place of work.
I will name the initial source of the difficulty--which Mr. Sirota seemed either unwilling or unable to--that has been used for the last sixty-three years as a hammer to pound America's workers back into their pre-1930's, subservient position.
The Taft-Hartley Labor Act of 1947.
The Taft-Hartley Act was not an act designed to merely correct any excesses in the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, but to cut the legs out from under the labor movement in the United States. It drove many people out of organized labor--including many of the best spokesmen and organizers--for no other reason than their having a brief flirtation with socialism (or even Communism) in the 1920's and 1930's.
The concepts of the open shop, right to work, and having to attempt organizing a new union in full view of ownership and management, have made the organization of new union shops something that borders on the impossible, because those attempting to organize are threatened with or subjected to termination, as the Cornell University study demonstrates. In fact, preventing unionization has become a multi-billion dollar enterprise in the United States.
Even a pro-business publication like Business Week stated in an editorial in its December 18, 1946 edition, that the Taft-Hartley Act "crossed the narrow line separating a law which aims only to regulate from one which could destroy. Given a few million unemployed in America, given an administration in Washington which was not pro-union--and the Taft-Hartley Act conceivably could wreck the labor movement."
Which is exactly what the Re-publican Reagan Administration started to do when it came into power in the 1980's. And no President has been actively supportive of labor since LBJ.
We have also been fed a continuous line of anti-union propaganda for the last sixty-some years, trying to destroy the image of the unions in the eyes of the American people. These include:
The unions were responsible for starting most of the violence in disputes between labor and capital. The unions were responsible for less than half of the incidents that marked the start of violence. They did start much more violence west of the Mississippi than they did east of the Big Muddy. It should also be noted that even in cases where labor seemed to start the violence (the Pullman Strike of 1894 being a prime example), there is some question whether it was actually the strikers who started the violence, or agents provocateur. When FDR put Federal troops around the automobile plants in Michigan in 1937, their guns were not pointed at strikers; they were pointed at the goons hired by the owners, and the local police who ignored the attacks on the strikers.
That there are businesses where unions were established, promising better take home pay, and that after the unions were established, and the workers started paying dues, they ended up with a lower take home pay. This seems to be in the same category as Reagan's "welfare queen" driving her Cadillac to pick up her welfare check: a complete anecdotal fabrication.