Monday, March 07, 2011

Back to the Past

It amazes me that we are in the midst of an argument and divide that sounds like it could have been out of the last Century- and not the 1990s. It could have been in the first few decades as workers began to see that they were not well represented in negotiating with their bosses. It could have been in the 50s and 60s when, finally, some places like steel mills began to give their workers the right to strike and negotiate- form a union.

But it is 2011, for God's sake. We are supposed to be more compassionate, more civilized, a long way from the union wars of 100 years ago. All of a sudden (or maybe not all that suddenly) unions are again the enemy and public workers are becoming the scapegoats of a recession. They are about to be punished in many places because they have jobs- jobs which are important and even essential to our continued growth and well-being as a nation.

We must be a community. We must have public workers who can have dignity and acceptance. It doesn't matter whether they are teachers, who have been scapegoats for years, police and firefighters, snowplow drivers, or sanitation workers. We need them- and we need them to get a fair wage in a fair market. To deny them the right to have collective bargaining is to take a HUGE step into the past. It is a step into a country and community that was not, in any way, shape or form, anything like the "good, old days."

Let's not allow our nation to go backwards.

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