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Ubnionism and racist immigration policy

 
 
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 02:30 pm
Samuel Gompers, the creator of the AFL (american federation of labour) dedicated his political life to excluding asians from the USA, ( he wasn't all that fond of african-americans either.
Gompers, like most labor leaders of his era, opposed unrestricted immigration from Europe because it lowered wages, and opposed all immigration from Asia because it lowered wages and represented (to him) an alien culture that could not be easily assimilated. Gompers was born on January 27, 1850 in London, England into a Jewish family which had recently arrived from the Netherlands. He attended the Jewish Free School until age 10 when he left to become an apprentice, first as a shoemaker and then as cigar maker. The family immigrated to the United States in 1863, settling on Manhattan's Lower East Side in New York City. He and the AFL strongly supported the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 that banned the immigration of Chinese. The AFL was instrumental in passing immigration restriction laws from the 1890s to the 1920s, such as the 1921 Emergency Quota Act and the Immigration Act of 1924, and seeing that they were strictly enforced. At least one study concludes that the link between the AFL and the Democratic Party rested in large part on immigration issues, as the owners of large corporations wanted more immigration and thus supported the Republican party
During World War I Gompers was a strong supporter of the war effort. He was appointed by President Wilson to the Council of National Defense, where he chaired the Labor Advisory Board. He attended the Paris Peace Conference in 1919 as an official advisor on labor issues.
* Colored workmen have not been asking that equal rights be accorded to them as to white workmen, but [they] somehow convey the idea that they are to be petted or coddled and given special consideration and special privilege. Of course that can't be done.

Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, September 3, 2007
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Type: Discussion • Score: 8 • Views: 3,742 • Replies: 71
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 02:38 pm
Unionism
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 02:48 pm
@dyslexia,
My favorite anecdote in this spirit is the slogan of South Africa's Communist Party in the 1920s: "Workers of the world, unite for a White South Africa!"

Unfortunately, the process of democratic government doesn't run on lofty principles. It runs on pressure groups organizing around special interests, and ruthlessly pushing them onto elected representatives. This comes at the expense of other special interest groups -- often groups who should be their allies on a lofty-goal basis.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 03:50 pm
I knew a woman who was a member of the Progressive Labor Party, which split with Moscow in the 1930s because the Bolsheviks had, in their estimation, betrayed the dictatorship of the proletariat. She was from Newark, New Jersey, and used to rant on and on about the exploitation of blacks in Newark. Once, rather tired of her rant, i observed to her that the blacks of Newark wanted nothing better than a high-paying job, so that they could buy a large automobile, a large house, the food and clothing of their choice and pay for the education of their children. I pointed out that they were not interested in anyone's notion of revolution which did not accomplish those ends. It stopped her dead in mid-rant, with her mouth hanging open.

Needless to say, she and i were no longer "friends" (not that we ever had been)--but as i was stationed at the same post as her husband, with whom i got along well, she was obliged to tolerate my continued existence.
0 Replies
 
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 03:58 pm
@dyslexia,
I see the union movement as flawed in the practice, as you showed an example of above - but have appreciated much about it.. at times. Other times, racketeerville, and other complications.

My father was at a union meeting instead of my birth (and it was difficult, apparently, me rather blue). I heard about that a lot from my mother ("Joe was..."), but it was an apparent important meeting (she said, "the founding"). I never did think to ask if the timing was a surprise, or ask my father about it. Would that we could have people back for some conversation....

Anyway, why do you bring this up exactly today, did you run into some reference? Thinking about Detroit? Just mulling?



Oh, and nodding with Thomas.
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 04:18 pm
@ossobuco,
Quote:
Anyway, why do you bring this up exactly today, did you run into some reference? Thinking about Detroit? Just mulling?
I just had bean reading an article about the Asian Exclusion Act and found it interesting.
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 04:22 pm
Unions are like a function of government, meaning someone gets a chance to exploit it they do so. I prefer a world with unions to without.
0 Replies
 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 06:41 pm
@dyslexia,
When I was active in the Labor Movement, I (and others ) spent most of my time attempting to reform the labor unions regarding racial civil rights, womens' rights, etc. Sometimes it was more difficult than trying to reform the general population. But we were successful---eventually.

BBB

Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 06:52 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Successful by what measure? Did you go to the street and poll women, immigrants, and members of racial minorities how happy they were with American labor unions?

Not trying to argue here -- I'm just curious.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 07:02 pm
@Thomas,
I knew the problems that needed reform from my own experience and from my many friends who were affected.

I know you are anti-union but why do you ask such a question?

BBB
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 07:25 pm
I've had some friends standing up re labor - well, bbb. Another early friend, older sister of a high school pal, who was into the protests with Cesar Chavez, fairly early, moderately high up as time passed, and she was a nun.

Well, she is not me. But, I paid attention.

All this reminds me of the New Yorker profile on Franzia, within the last few weeks.

Lord love a pig.

I suppose that is an irresponsible assessment. So, I'm interested in pros and cons on that, but read the article first.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 07:33 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
I knew the problems that needed reform from my own experience and from my many friends who were affected.

Thanks.

BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:
I know you are anti-union but why do you ask such a question?

Why not? You claimed to have been successful, so it only seemed natural to ask who evaluated your success. From your answer, it seems it was mostly yourself and your friends.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Mon 25 May, 2009 07:49 pm
@ossobuco,
Last I tried to link to the NYer article on Franzia, it was only in abstract.

I'll admit I enjoyed the article - about a primo piggo, not to cast aspersions. Even a homicide by type, from the author.
0 Replies
 
genoves
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 01:40 am
I have heard that Unionism in American Industry is on its last legs--About 7% of American workers in Industrial Unions. What a difference from the John L. Lewis days.
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 09:44 am
@Thomas,
Once again, your assumption is wrong.

I know that to debate the union issue with you is useless. I have better things to do.

BBB
0 Replies
 
genoves
 
  -2  
Reply Tue 26 May, 2009 10:17 am
@genoves,

I have heard that Unionism in American Industry is on its last legs--About 7% of American workers in Industrial Unions. What a difference from the John L. Lewis days.
0 Replies
 
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Thu 28 May, 2009 03:21 pm
Achievements by Australian Unions.

Annual Leave

Paid Annual Leave was first won after a campaign by printing workers in 1936. The Arbitration Commission granted the workers paid leave, which was then gained by other workers through their unions in different industries. Annual leave loading of 17.5 per cent was first won by workers in the Metal Industry in 1973.

Awards

Awards are legally binding documents that set out the minimum entitlements for workers in every industry. The first industrial award, the Pastoral Workers Award was established by the Australian Workers Union in 1908 mainly covering shearers. The shearers had experienced a terrible deterioration of their wages and conditions during the 1897 Depression and decided to take action to protect working people. Since 1904 awards have underpinned the pay and terms and conditions of employment for millions of workers. Awards are unique to Australia and integral to ensuring workers get 'fair pay for a fair day's work'.

Penalty Rates

Penalty rates were established in 1947 when unions argued in the Arbitration Commission that people needed extra money for working outside normal hours.

Maternity leave

Maternity leave was won by unions in the public sector. It recognised that working women had a right to come back to a job after the birth of their children. The Act for public servants entitled them to between six and 52 weeks of leave, including 12 weeks paid leave, if they had done 12 months continuous employment with the employer immediately before the start of the leave. Women working in the private sector were entitled to maternity leave in 1979.

Superannuation

Prior to 1986, only a select group of workers were entitled to Superannuation. It became a universal entitlement after the ACTU's National Wage Case. Employers had to pay 3% of workers' earnings into Superannuation.

Equal Pay for Women

Although there were attempts to introduce equal pay, going back as far as 1949, the principle of equal pay for women was finally adopted by Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in 1969.

Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation

Workers compensation laws first came into existence in West Australia in 1902. For many years unions agitated and campaigned for health and safety laws which compelled employers to provide a safe working environment. In Victoria, legislation was introduced 1985 which saw the active role of workers in maintaining safety on the job. Building unions agitated for many years to ban asbestos finally succeeding in the 1980s.

Sick leave

Started to appear in awards in the 1920s. Different unions have campaigned for better sick leave conditions over the years in different industries. Before sick leave, you turned up to work if you were sick or you went without pay.

Long service leave

Coal workers went on strike in 1949 over a 35 hour week and Long Service Leave. IT was finally introduced in New South Wales in 1951. Unions in other states follow.

Redundancy pay

The Arbitration Commission introduced the first Termination, Change and Redundancy Clause into awards due to work by metalworkers and their union. This entitled workers to redundancy pay.

Allowances: shift allowance, uniform allowance

Unions in different industries have campaigned for different allowances that pertain to their members. Many workers who are required to wear uniforms in their jobs get an allowance for this rather than having to pay for it themselves.
Shift allowances are money that's paid for working at night or in the afternoon. Different industries have different allowances that were won by workers and their unions over the years in those industries.

Meal Breaks, rest breaks

Before unions agitated for meal breaks and rest breaks to be introduced, workers were required to work the whole day without a break. In 1973, workers at Ford in Melbourne engaged in industrial action over many issues, one of their demands being a proper break from the production line.

Collective Bargaining

Enterprise Bargaining was introduced in 1996 which allowed workers and their unions to negotiate directly with their employer over pay and conditions. Evidence from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that collective bargaining delivers better wages than individual agreements for ordinary workers.

Unfair Dismissal Protection

Unfair Dismissal Protection came from the concept of a "fair go all round" after the Australian Workers Union took a case to the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission on behalf of a worker who had been unfairly sacked in 1971. Since then, unions have campaigned for laws that reflect that 'fair go' principle which is about having a valid reason to sack someone and that the dismissal cannot be harsh, unjust or unreasonable.


It should be noted, that all of these benefits are now enjoyed by ALL workers. Even those who have never been in union and bitch and moan about union's actions (those worthless scum sucking pricks called conservatives)
genoves
 
  -2  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 01:48 am
We really should be able to get more people into Unions. There should be a law( I already wrote to the President on this) to confiscate the assets of any corporation which goes outside the country to avoid unionization of theirworkplace.
Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 03:22 am
@genoves,
genoves wrote:

We really should be able to get more people into Unions. There should be a law( I already wrote to the President on this) to confiscate the assets of any corporation which goes outside the country to avoid unionization of theirworkplace.


You don't think that would stifle investment? Unions aren't out to prevent business from operating and making a profit. It's in their interests for business to be viable and profitable. All they seek is an equitable share of the profits to those who are responsible for earning it. In the company I work for, it works very well. Even when this country had a super conservative government that passed laws basically removing EVERY right from workers, our organisation signed an enterprise agreement with the unions ahead of the legislation, and which didn't expire until after said government had been removed.
Now that we're in an economic slump, the company is keeping us fully informed, and is working closely with the workforce and the unions to prevent any need for workforce downsizing. Co-operation is in everyone's interests.
0 Replies
 
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Fri 29 May, 2009 06:57 am
@Wilso,
Wilso wrote:
It should be noted, that all of these benefits are now enjoyed by ALL workers. Even those who have never been in union and bitch and moan about union's actions (those worthless scum sucking pricks called conservatives)

Thanks, Wilso! I'm inclined to believe that competition in the labor market would have brought about these benefits sooner or later anyway, even without unions. But admittedly I can't prove that because there exists no industrial country without unions. And there's no doubt the points you mention are real progress.
0 Replies
 
 

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