In Jonah Goldberg’s commentary in the Jan. 28 CDT, he claims: “Indeed, unions by design, are conspiracies against the public to defend the wages and perks of their members.” Conspiracies against the public, indeed. Goldberg’s opinion is either shoddy journalism or propaganda, or both.
Here’s five significant accomplishments of labor unions in the U.S. (thinkprogress.org):
1. Unions gave us the weekend.
2. Unions gave us fair wages and relative income equality.
3. Unions helped end child labor.
4. Unions won widespread employer-based health coverage.
5. Unions spearheaded the fight for the Family and Medical Leave Act.
To that list, ASFCME adds passage of the Social Security Act, OSHA, The Civil Rights Act, and others.
Goldberg’s alleged “conspiracies against the public” made our workplaces safer, shortened the workweek, provided health care and retirement benefits, and promoted equality. It may be accurate to say that unions were a confederation of workers that countered the dark side of unfettered capitalism and led to the decent lives of the middle class and more generally, the public.
The Cold War and fears of communism, along with the union-led successes becoming the norm, led to the decline of union membership. Yet we should remember workers struggled to achieve these successes, and we are all better off. The public thanks you unions, and on Labor Day we celebrate all of these accomplishments and your continued efforts for worker justice.
Andy Lau, State College