While I don’t generally make it a practice to steal posts outright, in their entirety, from other sites, I just read something on Metafilter that I want to share with you. It concerns the busting of the machinists’ union at Caterpillar, and I really doubt whether I could say it any better. Here’s the post, entitled “Kicking Labor While You’re Up,” as written by someone calling herself moammargaret.
Caterpillar, after record profits, squeezes its union for a six-year wage and pension freeze and increased insurance contributions – not because it has to, but because it can. As the machinists’ union enters its fourth month on strike, the company says it’s getting along just fine with temps and union workers who have crossed the picket line. Private-sector union membership is now at an all-time low of 6.9%. Even as calls to remedy America’s income inequality grow from Occupy and other movements, nobody in power is helping. The Democratic Party’s ship has long since sailed. (previously)
As for the question that I posed in the title of this post, I don’t think that the American labor movement is truly at its end. I think labor will eventually reemerge as a force to be reckoned with. I just think it’s going to take a while. Eventually, though, all of the fights that our great grandparents lived though, and, in some cases, died as a result of, are going to be fought again. It’s unfortunate that we let it come to this, but I suppose that’s the way it goes. It’s the cyclical nature of human existence. I’m just hoping that we’re as successful against drones, and today’s high-tech security apparatus, as we were against the industrialists of old, and the Pinkertons that did their bidding.