MESSAGE FROM SECRETARY-TREASURER
Steven P. Vairma
Steve Vairma's Column:
Nonunion workers owe thanks to union brothers, sisters
Nonunion workers in the United States have ridden on the backs of their union counterparts since the Great Depression, long before you or I were born.
It's really quite simple. As the union worker goes, so-kind-of-goes the nonunion worker.
That's because organized labor sets wage standards for all American workers, union and nonunion. So to remain marginally competitive in the marketplace, nonunion employers must offer somewhat higher than bottom-of-the-barrel wages to lure nonunion workers.
Without the unions looking over their shoulders, most nonunion companies would be rolling along, happily paying the minimum wage. Beneftis would be nonexistent, and job security would be wishful thinking. And, pity the police, firefighters, and others who work in dangerous professions. There would be no standards for occupational health and safety.
I'm sure that it will come as a surprise to nonunion workers and their bosses that more union workers result in a better economy. Reserach has shown that benefits to the national economy by creating more union jobs would far exceed the economic benefits and be less costly than boosting the share of American workers with a four-year college degree.
While Unions represent only about eight percent of all American workers in today's private sector, they remain the major advocate for the nation's working men and women.
On the federal level, labor was largely responsible for enacting laws such as the federal minimum wage, workplace safety, and health laws, the 40-hour workweek, Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid, among others.
On the state level, unions have always supported pro-worker legislation on workers compensation, unemployment, safety and health issues, workplace discrimination, prison labor, training, and more.
Nonunion workers often work under the delusion that their employers are benevolent bosses who provide for their workforce out of the goodness of their hearts. If that were true, why do business lobbyists in all 50 states constantly fight to take these hard-fought-for gains from working men and women? Ever hear a boss advocate for a statutory raise in the minimum wage?
The indisputable fact is that if they had their way, most employers would excise all workplace rights. After all, business is not in business to provide ender, loving care to the workforce, but to make a generous profit.
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