Saturday, April 23, 2016

What Working America Needs to Understand


The strike going on now at Verizon is something that anybody steeped in labor history can appreciate. Big, profitable company continuing to marginalize skill groups not only because they can, but because it makes their bottom line look even better to investors, even as their price structure continues to stay more or less competitive. And that is the only set of criteria that really matters to big business and big money. Whether the working stiffs still required to provide a service, or hard copy product, have a viable living wage or not is simply quite beside the point.

And the really sad thing here is this: even if these folks could gain the temporary group clout necessary to force an industry sector, or individual company, to bargain with them as equals, it could not be allowed to continue for very long; especially if that inserted a cost factor that any other competitor in the world did not have to deal with. In that context the company, or sector, in question would either eliminate the requirement for that human skill, or cease to exist. That is simply the cold hard fact of capital, and the irreducible relationship that owners of capital have over those who simply try to survive by selling a skill.

The hard truth here is that workers trying to organize by industry, to have a seat at the table where who gets what is decided, is simply not going to work anymore; precisely because it is currently being done within the narrow context of preserving the system that gives capital its supremacy in the first place. Until we all face the fact that it is that system, and not simply one industry group, or another, that is the real problem, we will always be standing on ground that can be cut out from under us.

The fact of the matter is this: We must organize as all working people, and we must do this not to fight for living wages any more, but to take this fundamentally flawed economic operating system away from them, and put a new one in place. Until we start doing that working people will continue to lose ground in having any clout at all in how who pays and who benefits gets decided.

Verizon Strike A Fight For Future of Labor


Image: Verizon strike U.S. East Coast states