The American dream is a beautiful thing. It’s the idea we can spend our lives dedicated to working hard and be rewarded for it with the ability to buy a house, settle down and, if we so choose, raise a family.
For our the millennial and Gen X generations, that dream is dead. Wages have stagnated while the people at the top continue to get richer and richer. Housing in metropolitan areas, where your best chance of employment is, like Vancouver, San Francisco, New York and Chicago is incredibly expensive. To top it all off, the price of higher education has become impossible to manage without student loans or, if you’re lucky enough to get them scholarships.
That’s why we desperately need unions to protect our livelihoods from those who only seek to make themselves richer.
Corporations and brands are not our friends. There might have been a time when we could have been lulled into thinking a company we have devoted ourselves to would have our backs when push came to shove — that our loyalty to the company might have meant we could expect some semblance of loyalty in return. That time has passed, and we can no longer bury our heads in the sand and pretend otherwise.
It’s not even like you can pretend HR is there to protect you if something bad happens at work. They are the human resources department and their name alone should tell you all you need to know about our role in the workplace — we’re human resources to the company, meant to be expended and replaced.
Unions are the only thing standing between us and unfair termination. That might sound drastic, but all you have to do is look at Telltale games, a fairly large video game developer, to see why unions are necessary.
Last month, Telltale gathered most of its employees in a room, told them they had been laid off and informed them there was no severance pay or vacation pay. The employees were given 30 minutes to leave the office. This was after months upon months of crunch — a tech term describing long-term unpaid overtime to meet a release deadline — where the employees worked, essentially non-stop, for weeks on end.
A union could’ve negotiated severance pay, holiday pay or back-pay for untaken sick days. Instead, those employees now have to fight through a class-action lawsuit to try to get the money they deserve.
Unions are the only thing that has a chance of getting workers not just the pay they deserve, but also the protections they need to survive.
If they weren’t in our best interest, people like Elon Musk wouldn’t be fighting so hard against them and there wouldn’t have been a massive push in Missouri to enact “right to work” (anti-union) laws.
If the people at the top — people who constantly benefit from underpaying and under-protecting their workers — are against unionization, it’s a no-brainer we should be fighting for it as hard as we can.
Region: Metro East,Feeds,Opinion
October 2, 2018 at 12:43PM