Friday, September 07, 2007

American Labors Forgotten Mission

With the passing of Labor Day, I am beset by the visions I have, of the struggles of the Labor Movement. From its humble beginning, its victories, its defeats, we can find example after example, of how the labor movement changed our workplace and our society. The American Labor Movement of today appears to be in a period of both decline and rebirth.

The established labor unions in traditional segments of our economy continue to decline as they fall prey to multi-national greed and exploitation. Unions like the ones that represent manufacturing workers have become easy targets. They of course have contributed to their own growing weakness. They seem to have many interconnected problems associated with their organizations. Many of these weaknesses are the result of aberrant internal structural evolutions, reactions to various external economic/governmental/societal pressures, or what can only be described as, an institutionalized aversion to change. But the most important fundamental that these labor unions have lost or forgotten is the meaning of the word, “movement".

These older unions have an institutionalized memory of the word “movement", which manifests itself in stated missions and half-hearted, ineffective actions. But they have lost the spirit of the very mission, of which they are a product of. They are a manifestation of the labor movement, a point in its evolution and a vehicle for its change, not the end of its change. They are a stepping stone in a process that began with the Magna Carta and will end, when equality and social justice becomes a reality for everyone, everywhere!


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