Thursday, August 22, 2013
Public Opinion Matters
Labor fights that were lost or won have always been decided by public opinion, even though there was contributing events, such as the National Guard, law enforcement, and court orders. Public opinion is a largest factor for without public support the elected politicians will not support you whether it’s local government (cities and counties), states, or even federal, for their life is controlled by public opinion, and, of course, lobbyists money, but in the end it still is public opinion that matters. So when labor starts a campaign, it must first test the waters, then plan from there. At this time, the $15 to $16 per hour minimum wage is enjoying very good public opinion ratings, but it needs to be pushed to at least 70 percent of the favorable rankings and made to hold at that rate, which will take money to advertise the benefits and explain about the corporations, that are supporting or leaning in favor of this increase in the minimum wage for all wage slaves in the low-wage industry. The money will probably have to come from established unions, like the AFL/CIO, and this could be one of the best investments the unions ever make for we will be held up as the hero of the low-wage workers, whether they are union or not. We need to show the world where we stand and there will be lots of businesses for unions to organize. If we get the wages up there will be more jobs and better educated workers because they will know the power of what people can do and who their friends are—unions. This is a good time in history to reverse an impending struggle that has a familiar ring of earlier in our country’s division of the classes of bosses and the haves against the have nots, which will only get worse. At this time, the workers are pushing up from a volcano and they are close to the top. Another thing, labor needs to think about is the people who will be returning home from years of war. Where will they work and whose side will they be on? Will they be the volcano cap hired by corporations or will we find a home for them and have their support for the push to the top of the volcano of higher wages and jobs? The challenge to all American workers, as Walter Reuther, leader of the nation’s auto workers, astutely observed was to save truly free enterprises from death at the hands of its self-appointed champions, like Wal-Mart, again higher wages just might be the beginning.