Open thread August 22, 2014 Dan Crawford | August 22, 2014 7:47 am Tags: open thread Comments (1) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
I’VE BEEN EMAILING THE FOLLOWING AROUND to a few taxi unions sites (there aren’t very many) to encourage drivers to join unions just for the sake of joining — if only to set an example for the rest of the country — since they are in a unique position of ownership liking the idea — if only because there is nothing in the way.
This could set up the next step of employees of hostile ownership joining symbolic unions — or joining unions symbolically. 50% of American employees say they want to be unionized (they say that now when there is not even any big movement) — if 50% were symbolically joined to a union that would be a heavy political statement (might even make useless Obama and the Clintons wake up and take the average person seriously). Next step wouldn’t need to be Wal-Mart employees — might be, guess what, fast food employees; because fast food owners know their employees personally and (most) like them (most own a few outlets) and anyway who else are they going to get to work that well for that little?
NEXT I WILL TRY TO EMAIL EVERY ADDRESS AT EVERY TEAMSTER UNION LOCAL imploring the Teamsters to preach to other American unions the gospel that they originated in Detroit in the 30s and expanded for themselves across the whole country by 1964 with their National Master Freight Agreement: centralizer bargaining, mandated by law: the only (O-N-L-Y!) way to restore both economic bargaining power and political balance (or maybe imbalance in favor of the average person’ with equal campaign finance and government lobbying — like back in the 50s — combined with 99% of the votes) to this country (just as it maintains that balance in other countries). It is the only thing that works and they are the only ones here who seem to understand that — time to start announcing the “good news.”
There are about 500 locals, many with multiple addresses — it may take weeks just to get the list together the way I work and at least a week to get the message out as sbcglobal.net shuts me down for a day if I send many more than 300 a day. I use something cal Mail Merge to send a list individually. I use Subject Manager to be able to click on different title lines. Both free programs. I sent $10 to Mail Merge and got an excited answer back from a kid in France — nobody ever donated so much. Some of us are just not supposed to be connected to money. 🙂 I know the feeling.
TO THE (FEW) TAXI UNIONS:
I have driven taxis in NYC, Chi and SF over three decades — which means I am over the hill now (sometimes called retired).
Unionizing cab drivers could be an important path to re-educating America (Americans) about the necessity of collective bargaining power. Unions — if widespread enough — can also provide equal political financing and lobbying (they did 50 years ago) to go with 99% of the vote.
The unique organizing advantage with taxi drivers is that ownership actually has a positive interest in seeing it happen. If taxi drivers get a higher meter for instance, owners can charge more for the lease. Not to mention low paid drivers are short-time drivers — bad of owners; worse for the public. Worse for the public means the public is looking for an alternative. Every taxi driver in America should join a union just to set an example.
The ultimate goal of all American employees has to be CENTRALIZED BARGAINING — where every employee performing the same job (e.g., retail clerk) negotiates one common contract with every employer. The Teamsters Union brought centralized bargaining to this country for truckers in 1964 under its National Master Freight Agreement — after 30 years of struggling to expand it across country. Such diverse economies as Germany (exports 7 out of 8 vehicles it manufactures), France, most continental European, French Canada, even Argentina, even Indonesia (!) have LEGALLY MANDATED centralize bargaining. Only workable way to go.
Wal-Mart closed 88 big boxes in Germany where it had to pay equal pay and benefits for the same work. At 7% labor costs in America, Wal-Mart could double average pay (from $10 to $20 an hour) and pile on half again in benefits and prices would only have to go up about 10%. What effective collective bargaining power would not take advantage of that spread? Under legally mandated, centralized bargaining middle class supermarket contracts would not have been gutted.
But taxi drivers can lead the way by example to re-unionization here. It may be about much more than just us.