Labor Day 2012 P.S.

Who hates organized labor, liberated women, and peace?

The war profiteers. The radical right. The power elite within the 1% who seek wealth over human rights, power over fairness, and profitable wars over global peace.

But they are in the minority. Even though they have frightened millions and lured millions into supporting the agendas that hide their greed, they are in the minority.

The majority of Americans:

  • overwhelming support equal rights for women and believe more needs to be done to ensure those rights
  • support the right of workers to organize (e.g., participate in labor unions)
  • support an international order based on international law, which, they believe, imposes constraints on the use of force and coercion
  • prefer negotiation and nonviolence to armed conflict[1]

This majority is not the “silent majority” enshrined by Ronald Reagan, but nevertheless is too often silent in these frightening times.

Don’t believe the hype of the radical right. Don’t buy into claims that big corporations making millions in profits are forced to “outsource” their work because organized labor in America makes “unreasonable demands.”

Don’t be lulled into ignoring the attacks on women’s rights, including voting rights, taking place in this country today. (See, for example).

Finally, ask yourself whether cutting social services, educational programs, and unemployment entitlements for the working class—and increasingly the middle class—while retaining George Bush’s revolutionary tax benefits for the wealthy makes your life better or makes America more secure.

The Occupy Movement of 2011 raised the right questions and offered some provocative solutions. Let’s not allow their demands to get lost in the shuffles of the 1% power elite.

Kathie Malley-Morrison, Professor of Psychology

[1] See http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/ for more detailed results of relevant polls; also informative are http://www.pewglobal.org/2010/07/01/gender-equality/ and http://www.gallup.com/poll/157025/labor-union-approval-steady.aspx .

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6 Responses to Labor Day 2012 P.S.

  1. Gold Dust Twin says:

    I read the “example” link with shock and disbelief–although I know it presents truths most of us are unaware of. How far will the threat to women’s right to vote be carried? Every woman who follows this blog and every fair-minded man should read these facts and rally to combat them.

  2. SStu says:

    “Don’t buy into claims that big corporations making millions in profits are FORCED to “outsource” their work because organized labor in America makes “unreasonable demands.””

    So true! Whenever my friends complain about federal regulations/oversight or unions “taking” jobs away from Americans I point to CostCo. Their average pay is $17/hour, they have really great health coverage, and their employees love working there. It helps that their CEO ONLY takes an annual salary of 350k + bonus of 200k and his philosophy is “Having an individual who is making 100 or 200 or 300 times more than the average person working on the floor is wrong” (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/17/business/yourmoney/17costco.html?pagewanted=all)

    • kathiemm says:

      very interesting article! Thanks for submitting the link.
      DO you have any more recent info on what is happening with Costco?

  3. Shah_pa says:

    I really appreciate this post. I think the beginning was very captivating. I do think that maybe elaborating on the fact that the poor are the majority and yet struggling due to their lack of power might have added more impact. I enjoyed it nonetheless. I really don’t appreciate some of the ruthless and self-righteous right winged sometimes. Especially how influential and often effective they are in “bullying.” And I appreciate you serving as a voice for those of us who have trouble expressing and taking these necessary stands.

  4. Deborah says:

    Great post. I wholeheartedly agree that companies are not ‘forced to “outsource’ their work because organized labor in America makes ‘unreasonable demands.’ ” I believe that greed is at the root of this issue and some corporations are willing to sacrafice the livlihood of others for yacht and a seat at the country club.

  5. Rehana Rahman says:

    This posting brings up interesting notions of the dynamics between socioeconomic status and supporting rights of workers. Though people essentially want to help others, empathy falters when it comes to taking action. Earlier this year, there was an article that was published in The New Yorker, The Case Against Empathy, in which Paul Bloom makes an argument that empathy is privy to the “identifiable victim effect”, meaning that people are more likely to empathize when there is a known victim (2013). In this sense, our initial reaction to feel empathy is swayed by pictures of cute children rather than moved by facts concerning millions of people. Similarly, the author argues that our initial reaction focuses on short term justice, blind to considerations about long term consequences or sustainable programs (Bloom, 2013). Bloom explains that empathy and reason must go hand in hand if mankind is to have a future (2013).
    People have feelings of empathy, but often don’t do anything besides feel. This post makes it clear that although the majority of people care about economic empowerment and social rights issues, they are often frighteningly silent, this is because one, people are more likely to speak out when there is an identifiable, relatable victim and two, because we as Americans have developed a tolerance for violence, even on our own soil.
    Empathy means little when people don’t do anything. Although individuals support the principles of the labor movement, they remain silent. Silence is often taken as consent. Silence is a form of neglect. It reinforces violence and reproduces inequalities. As Hines and Malley-Morrison mentioned in Family Violence in the United States, we need to stop neglecting neglect (2013, Ch. 4, 101). Consequently, Hines and Malley-Morrison indicate that “poverty is the largest contributor of neglect in the country” (2013, Ch. 4, 100). Consequently, Malley-
    Morrison and Hines indicate “the inability of the United States and/or its unwillingness to provide adequate health care, child care, education, and policies to help all families and children in this country [as contributing] to the epidemic of child neglect” (2013. Ch. 4, 101).
    Although there is public discourse on labor rights, the general public has remained silent, partly because there is the issue of accountability within any larger structural context, and partly because it has to do with the limits of empathy. Hines and Malley-Morrison provide further direction for solving this problem that, “perhaps if we target these predictors, we can ameliorate the problem of child neglect in this country” (2013, Ch. 4, 119). Although aspects of child neglect are complex and difficult to tease apart, this demonstrates a shift in public discourse towards prevention.

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