Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2010

Real labor

September 9, 2010


To the editor:

Ah, Labor Day. The once-public national holiday gives us an excuse to stay home, cook out, or take a last fling at summer fun. That’s nice.

It seems we have, in the midst of the Great Recession, another way to view Labor Day. If you read a recent Journal-World editorial, it’s a good day to be optimistic about the economic future of the country. The Ford Motor Co. is doing well. That’s nice, too.

You can also treat it as a partisan holiday, “founded primarily to recognize the efforts of labor unions in gaining better working conditions for American workers.” That’s not quite as nice as it sounds because after more than 150 years of “efforts,” 93 percent of private-sector American workers have no union representation, 9.6 percent of them are out of work, and most of the rest are deep in debt.

A certain irony attends the celebrating of the 40-hour work week, wage gains and employee benefits when those gains have been eroded by longer work hours, real-dollar income reductions, corporate raids on retirement funds, and the shifting of bloated health care costs from employers to employees. Oh well, they tried. That’s sort of nice.

If we can’t, without risking irony, wholeheartedly celebrate the traditional meaning of Labor Day, how can we acknowledge it? Well, there’s that KU graduate and Ford CEO, Alan Mulally. From union concessions, Ford made $2.7 billion in 2009 and Mulally got $17.9 million.

Now that’s really nice. Hooray for the American worker!


sierraclub 3 years, 7 months ago

Lets Deomcrat and be a Deomcrat and be Republican and be a Republican and be rich.....


TheNorthSee 3 years, 7 months ago

Unions are a big reason why work has left this country. Unions like government are the cause of and solution to life’s problems. Only the bosses and politicians get rich and tell you what you can and can’t do.


UNIKU 3 years, 7 months ago

Union workers are whiny, lazy and often times unrealistic as to what their salaries should be. Do your job and be thankful you have one.


Flap Doodle 3 years, 7 months ago

In other news: "Need picketers to goose up your protest? You can hire picketers – yes, demonstrators-for-hire that march wherever you want them to march and chant whatever you want them to chant.

That in itself may be a smart solution, but when you’re a labor union protesting the hiring of non-union workers, then that’s just a whole ‘nother level of irony:

Billy Raye, a 51-year-old unemployed bike courier, is looking for work.

Fortunately for him, the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council of Carpenters is seeking paid demonstrators to march and chant in its current picket line outside the McPherson Building, an office complex here where the council says work is being done with nonunion labor.

"For a lot of our members, it’s really difficult to have them come out, either because of parking or something else," explains Vincente Garcia, a union representative who is supervising the picketing. So instead, the union hires unemployed people at the minimum wage—$8.25 an hour—to walk picket lines. Mr. Raye says he’s grateful for the work, even though he’s not sure why he’s doing it. "I could care less," he says. "I am being paid to march around and sound off."


Turbin_Cowboy 3 years, 7 months ago

A recent Princeton study by renowned thinkers says that people only need $75,000 a year to be happy.

When are the union government people going to give back their surplus of happiness?


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 7 months ago

And US private sector is sitting on $1.6 trillion dollars in cash.


Tom Shewmon 3 years, 7 months ago

Things change, Paul. One-hundred years ago, you would have paid a mere fraction of what you pay today in taxes, government imposed fees, licenses etc. And I mean a mere fraction.....not half, not a fourth-----a mere fraction.

May god bless Mulally. (I'll never own a Ford again as long as god allows me to keep huffing and puffing around this beautiful planet).


Richard Heckler 3 years, 7 months ago

$17.9 million = 600 workers that need employment @ $30,000 a year.

Some celebrated Labor Day by working.

Thanks for the reminder Mr. Fairchild.

Unions were created for the workers to protect workers. The 40 hour week came as a result of unions if my memory serves me well.

Corp BOD"s,CEO's , golden parachutes and shareholders cost all of us a lot of money which in turn increases our cost of living. Notice how many CEO's walk away with tens of millions aka golden parachutes no matter their performance. People this nonsense costs you and me a lot of money.


imastinker 3 years, 7 months ago

Without Alan Mulally there, 100% of those Ford workers would be out of work. That's a fact. The guy saved the company and is worth every penny of that 17 million.

Also, Ford didn't make 2.9 billion. they sold 2.9 billion worth of cars. Ford lost money. They would have lost more if they hadn't sold all but one corporate jet, mortgaged all their assets, sold off Jaguar and Land Rover, and demanded union concessions. This is how he saved the company billions of dollars.


Liberty_One 3 years, 7 months ago

"9.6 percent of them are out of work"

Let's not confuse being unemployed with being out of work. The unemployment numbers reported by the government are manipulated so as to paint a rosy picture. They don't include the long-term unemployed and people who would like to work but have simply given up, nor do they include people who can only find part-time work and want to work more. The real number is around 22 percent.


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