Let’s talk about American Labor today!
Let’s talk about American Labor today vs how they were treated when I was growing up.
I come from a Middle Class family. Both of my parents worked hard to achieve the American Dream. My Dad owned a Commercial Flooring Union Shop for 40 yrs.
He employed immigrant Labor, waves of them as they entered our Country, after WWll, made a Living , sent money home and then moved on to open their own business or return home.
In the late 80’s as my parents health began to fail and I entered the family business, changed it to conform with the times and worked for large Real Estate Corporations , assuring my Labor of a steady stream of work.
Who did I hire? At first ,the Polish, the Irish and the Local African American Community. As we evolved and grew, my Foreman was Hispanic and so were many of our workers. I still employed African American & Turkish floor layers, and Immigrant Bookkeepers & office Managers.
I was a fair ethical employer. I paid Healthcare, gave time off for sick time and paid vacations.
I employed real sub contractors. We negotiated their price and days working. Work performed was paid the following week until the Recession hit and they were unable to meet their bills. My Corporation’s mechanics, now found themselves competing against National Labor Shops, paying their Labor 57% of what my Mechanics were paid. We couldn’t compete.
- Actually, though I blamed the Great Recession for our problems, changes in the treatment of Labor, started when Elaine Chow, Mitch McConnell’s wife, became Secretary of Labor, under George Bush, from 2001-2009. Theft of wages was a hallmark of her governance as she sided with Large Corporations against employees desperate to be paid for work performed and promised.
As I stated previously, once the Recession “hit”, my mechanics took a cut in pay and my Customers dictated our Profits. My shop could no longer compete. Who was my competition? New National Labor Shops , exploiting Undocumented workers in this Country.
These shops unscrupulously exploited their labor, by withholding wages and not providing rest and water breaks, when work proceeded on Construction Projects, in 105 degree weather. To make matters worse, when Mechanics requested fair treatment, they were threatened with deportation to their home countries, not seen since they were 5.
- I refer those who are interested in the plight of Labor today, to rent a film, sponsored by the Ford Foundation, entitled “Building The American Dream”. Cruel punishment for skilled workers trying to earn a living and hoping to enter the Middle Class.
I closed my Corporation, in 2013, because we couldn’t compete on the lowest price. My mechanics owned homes, they had been working and achieving the American Dream. Their dream came to a crashing halt under the deregulated Laws created by Elaine Chow, Mitch McConnell’s wife.
Don’t blame the immigrants for working cheap. With 20:20 hindsight , Contractors & employees, should have insisted upon signed Bonded Labor Contracts, assuring a fair guaranteed wage for Everyone.
It’s not too late. The Rule Of Law was used to take away Labor’s Rights and it can be used to reinstate them Federally once again.
- In summary, I urge everyone who cares about Human Rights to see the Documentary, “Building The American Dream”. It can be rented. Become an informed advocate for Labor.
- One of my followers, asked what Conferences I’ll be attending next. On November 12-14th , I’ll be in Detroit attending a Ford Foundation seminar, entitled Fulcrum on Solutions on the Future of Work.
Thank you for reading. The heart and pulse of “we the People.”