".........Apple today announced that the Fair Labor Association will
conduct special voluntary audits of Apple’s final assembly suppliers,
including Foxconn factories in Shenzhen and Chengdu, China, at Apple’s
request. “We believe that workers everywhere have the right to a safe
and fair work environment, which is why we’ve asked the FLA to
independently assess the performance of our largest suppliers,” said
Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. A team of labor rights experts led by FLA
president Auret van Heerden began the first inspections Monday morning
at the facility in Shenzhen known as Foxconn City............."
The Unions!................. A political impasse.................
Feb 13th, 2012.
Given the increasing furor of the anti Union forces, not only in America but seemingly worldwide, it is perhaps time to investigate their purpose more thoroughly, and indeed highlight the very essential part they played, in the creation of a just society throughout the western democracies over the last 150 years.
That developing and emerging nations are now rushing to become "enriched" and to drink from the fountain of plenty, is not a bad thing. However, that they are doing so on the backs of their lowly paid and generally ignorant citizenry, and which comparative labor pricing advantage, effectively eliminates the jobs of once great and productive workforces in other nations, is a truly significant and Global problem!
All this, while using a capitalist model that deifies only profit at all costs, and is not in any way deflected from this goal by a social conscience, nor by any practical societal integrity! This new and fast developing global servile dynamic, should be of great concern to all of the peoples and governments of the planet! The "Human equation" is once again confronted with the great threat of enslavement to a new hierarchical system, interested only in profits and in the human resource, as simply a balance sheet equation.
It is impossible not to understand the vital role that Unionism has played in the protection of not only the worker, but indeed in the establishment of moral standards of labor across the entirety of Western society. Samuel Gompers of New York, in his efforts to establish the AFL/CIO, beginning with his election as a simple local official in 1875, could never have foreseen the Global scope of the future of the labor movement.
Although he indeed understood the essential need for any decent society to have beneficial labor and management relationships. A 'partnership of ideals', to go forward and to maintain the engine of his nation America and it's great growth potential.
Without this, at first very difficult to achieve cooperation, between labor and management, it is doubtful that American society would have become the wonder of the modern world? As it did in showing the peoples of the world it' s support for the inherent rights of it's citizenry, to the pursuit of happiness as well as the nation's expressed pride, in it's ability to reward the working class with some measure of personal dignity and hope. An essential dimension to the masses of immigration that were attracted and who ultimately came in their millions, to work in the factories, schools and industries. The seeds of this ideal for the rights of the working American citizen, were planted in his and his associates early efforts. Workers across the Western world today owe him and his fellows a great debt for this cooperative blueprint.
Today we are again witnessing increasing anti Union backlash of an unprecedented viciousness? Together with the shrinkage of any rights to collective bargaining and the degradation of the worker, as somehow the tool of some foreign anti capitalist sentiment? This of course is not a new phenomenon, but it is of great concern, in that the economic conditions are so dire at present and labor is under such stress, not seen in the West since the great depression! The "strawdog" arguments used historically, to paint unions and their members and indeed all workers, as somehow agents of corruption, are once again seeing the light of day and are being used to clawback the rights of all workers!
That there may be 'need for change' is an adage that is always true in any venture, but to destroy the rights of the working man to have a strong voice in the destiny of any nation, is to destroy the heart and soul of that nation!
The question becomes, do we therefore allow our Global union model to be undermined by a corporate dynamic, that is seizing this opportunity to abuse the labor forces of their new 'profit sources' to such an extent, that workers from these new societies have no supportive structures to look to, to define their rights as members of the human family? These emerging "economies" however, will at some near juncture, be faced with similar challenges as those witnessed during our own western history. It's violence and efforts to define the use of labor and it's role in the already developed world, must serve as their model, if they hope to avoid the unnecessary repetition of that same civil strife and violence, witnessed at the birth of the earlier Union movements in Western Democracies. These new societies will need a functional model to emulate, if the Globe is to avoid the civil commotion that western societies and their workforces suffered in the early days of labor unrest?
This western model of union solidarity however, is being undermined at every turn by todays modern example of an age old pettifogerry! " The masses must be dominated by an 'uber' class! They must know their place! Unions are corrupt! Workers are too greedy! etc etc etc..........."
"..........We must close Union offices, confiscate their money and put their leaders in prison. We must reduce workers salaries and take away their right to strike........... Adolf Hitler May 2nd 1933."
Even ordinary citizens have been convinced by the efforts of a few disingenuous ideologues, that indeed Unions have outlived their usefulness and are a burden upon society! To these people I would urge that they allow themselves to learn from the records of the labor Union movement. The history of mankind in the modern era must be relied upon, as the window of truth to what working mankind has suffered, when their wages, rights and quality of life is dependent solely upon the capricious nature of the corporate dynamic and the balance sheet!
Follows is a segment from an important speech made by a great American President who knowingly honored the place of labor and who also incidentally warned us of the military / industrial complex..............
---James M. Convey---
President Dwight D. Eisenhower to the AFL-CIO, December 5, 1955:
"........................You of organized labor and those who have gone before you in the union movement have helped make a unique contribution to the general welfare of the Republic–the development of the American philosophy of labor. This philosophy, if adopted globally, could bring about a world, prosperous, at peace, sharing the fruits of the earth with justice to all men. It would raise to freedom and prosperity hundreds of millions of men and women–and their children–who toil in slavery behind the Curtain. One principle of this philosophy is: the ultimate values of mankind are spiritual; these values include liberty, human dignity, opportunity and equal rights and justice.
Workers want recognition as human beings and as individuals-before everything else. They want a job that gives them a feeling of satisfaction and self-expression. Good wages, respectable working conditions, reasonable hours, protection of status and security; these constitute the necessary foundations on which you build to reach your higher aims.
Moreover, we cannot be satisfied with welfare in the aggregate; if any group or section of citizens is denied its fair place in the common prosperity, all others among us are thereby endangered.
The second principle of this American labor philosophy is this: the economic interest of employer and employee is a mutual prosperity.
Their economic future is inseparable. Together they must advance in mutual respect, in mutual understanding, toward mutual prosperity. Of course, there will be contest over the sharing of the benefits of production; and so we have the right to strike and to argue all night, when necessary, in collective bargaining sessions. But in a deeper sense, this surface struggle is subordinate to the overwhelming common interest in greater production and a better life for all to share.
The American worker strives for betterment not by destroying his employer and his employer’s business, but by understanding his employer’s problems of competition, prices, markets. And the American employer can never forget that, since mass production assumes a mass market, good wages and progressive employment practices for his employee are good business.................." D.D.E.