It Will Happen


My dad graduated from high school in 1931 and was a union member his whole working life.  I have no idea if he ever participated in any strikes or other actions against an employer, but I do remember that he was an ardent union supporter.  As an aside, my dad believed that FDR saved the country.

From 1890 to about 1940, a fifty year period, there were many, and when I say many, I’m talking in the order of many hundreds,  labor-management battles in the United States.  One would have to be a labor-management historian to have a good handle on the subject.

Management, the owners, typically had the upper hand.  The authorities came to help management when ever there were any difficulties with labor.  The police would crack heads and arrest people and if the situation appeared to be getting out of hand, the governor would order in the National Guard.  

People actually died fighting for what we refer to as ‘normal’ today.  The forty hour work week.  Eight hour days. Weekends. Overtime.  Paid vacation.

There is one and only one reason the workers got those five benefits in the last graph.  And it certainly wasn’t because the owners were grateful for all the hard work their employees performed.  No, those concessions were wrung out of management because labor stoppages were very costly and had a negative effect on profits.

Hey, I am not even suggesting, much less advocating any kind of violence.  But right now it would appear that all the protests in Madison were a waste of time.

People such as the Koch Brothers are not going to yield until some type of citizen action not only hurts their bottom line but threatens to put a prolonged hurt on the bottom line.

Quoting from There is Power in a Union  by Philip Dray (p 439), “Like the coal strike of 1902 and the New York garment worker’s uprising of 1909 – 1910, the outcome of the Minneapolis labor crisis came to rely in part on the willingness of wealthy stakeholders who, while remaining out of the thick of the fight, nevertheless had substantial motivation to avoid permanent disruption to commerce.”

I do not know what the future holds, but six months ago, the protests of tens of thousands of people in Madison would be considered unheard of.

More and bigger and probably longer sustained will be necessary before the wealthiest one-tenth of the top one-percent yields.  

But. It. Will. Happen.

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