On a completely different subject, those of us who believe that the only path between corporate greed and worker safety and a living wage travels through the right to organize and negotiate have always believed that theirs is a dangerous life. Witness the depressing facts that a September 2000 survey by the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) uncovered.
In the 113 countries surveyed, 140 trade unionists (i.e. union members or leaders) were either assassinated, disappeared, or committed suicide after being threatened as a result of their labor advocacy. The study also found that nearly 3,000 people were arrested, more than 1500 were injured, beaten or tortured and at least 5,800 were harassed because of their union activity. Another 700 received death threats. 12,000 workers were either unfairly dismissed or refused reinstatement, usually with the overt assistance of the government itself.
Now, just how often do you see some hypocritical elected official marching in a parade, proudly associating themselves with the thousands of union members in his or district (unless they've succeeded in making their state a so-called "Right to Work" state which just means they've busted every union in their area and cut wages and benefits to the workers)? What government actually supports and encourages the formation and recognition of organized labor?
Most assuredly not in the United States. The outgoing administration did its very best to send as many high paying union jobs as possible off into the black maw of the Global Economy. Hundreds of thousands of decent jobs are now filled with Indonesian or Vietnamese or Chinese children or political prisoners simply because a very profitable company wanted to become even more profitable even at the expense of the workers it abandoned in America.
Now, we have a moron of a President who has claimed that one of his proudest achievements was the busting of the majority of the unions in Texas through the enactment of another "Right to Work" law. Now there's a lot of low paid and unprotected workers in the once great state of Texas. Of course, the moron's masters in Corporate America couldn't be happier with the situation.
I know that Corporate America's dream is to copy those nations and areas that the survey reports shows, ruthless repression in Latin America, attacks and interference in Asia, arrests and imprisonment in Africa, severe restrictions and non-payment of wages in Eastern Europe and a growing trend to 'union busting' activities in industrialized countries." To be able to squeeze the American workers under the thumb of dangerous working conditions and low wages and the threat of dismissal for speaking out must seem like Nirvana to Corporate America's executives and the stock holders who benefit each time the workers suffer.
To cap it all off, what nation do you think had the highest number of assisinated or missing trade unionists? I'll give you a wee hint. We are sending billions upon billions of dollars to this nation's government with no restrictions on who, exactly, the money is used to kill - drug growers and dealers or anybody who might be considered (if you'll excuse the expression) a loose cannon. Give up?
In 1999, alone, 76 trade unionists either were outright murdered or simply disappeared in Colombia. That's right, gentle readers, your tax dollars are going to a nation that really doesn't have any qualms about murdering its citizens for either of the sins of growing a product that the United States has such a huge demand for - cocaine and marijuana - or murdering its citizens for the foul and depraved act of trying to organize workers for their benefit and protection.
In as much as that old coke-head Tumbleweed is now our fearless leader, you can rest assured that this won't be the last of your taxes that will disappear into the black hole that is anti-union corruption in Colombia and around the world. The little moron is just so thrilled to have screwed the working people of Texas that he's probably just squirming in his seat, waiting for the chance to do the same to every worker on Earth.
Gives you a warm feeling way down in the pit of your stomach, now doesn't it? ( 1 )
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