Monday, May 01, 2006

May Day Solidarity For Working People & Immigrants

Today working people around the world march, demonstrate or remember the struggle to survive day to day in life in societies in which they are dependent on jobs from others in order to merely survive. Prior to the Industral Revolution, in agrarian societies, the individuals were responsible for their own fate by how productive they could make their land or how much they could hunt or fish. Today, with so many individuals removed from their land and totally dependent on some corporation or employer for an income, their life is totally dependent on these institutions.

But the role of the wealthy employers is often to seek to maximize profits solely by utilizing the cheapest possible pool of labor. This has created new tensions in what can be called "postIndustrial Revolution" societies. This has led to outsourcing of jobs or the exploitation of immigrants for very low wages.

Labor cheap nations such as China and India are now increasing poverty levels among workers in "postIndustrial Revolution" societies such as Japan and the U.S. In Japan, welfare rolls as well as poverty rates are increasing as industrialism rolls towards labor cheap nations such as China to construct formerly Japanese produced products. In the U.S. a similar roll of jobs to China and India have taken at least four million of the best paying factory jobs. Union membership has sunk to a mere 15% of workers.

With corporations such as GM seeking to void pension contracts, and wages falling among areas such as meat processors who once earned $19 a hour, but now earn just an average of $9, workers and immigrants both march and demonstrate around the world and in the U.S. today for decent wages, good and safe working conditions, and respect on the job by their employers.

Today is only one day in this long daily struggle for respect for workers, decent wages and decent benefits such as health insurance coverage. To provide food, clothing, and a decent life for the worker requires a constant struggle that workers must engage in. Workers need to form more unions and use this voice to best represent them in negotiations with management. Standing alone against the corporation the individual is nearly powerless. The power of companies such as payday loan or car title loan businesses must be blunted by legal limits on unfair interest rates that take advantage of the working poor. More corporations such as Wal-Mart need to provide health care to their employees and families.

From it's roots in the Haymarket Riot in Chicago on May 4, 1886 at the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company, International Workers Day has grown into the peaceful movement to seek fairness in the workplace. Workers the world over share the same struggle to seek fairness from employers who often pay the lowest possible wages or offer the least benefits possible. But life should not just be good for this wealthy class of employers. The workers who are the soul of productivity for a society deserve to share in some of the wealth of that society.

Today, immigrants also march in many U.S. cities seeking respect from American society. They provide so much labor to many industries that Tyson, Purdue and Cargill Foods and others have actually closed. These workers deserve fairness and respect in society. They provide much of the labor that puts food on America's tables.

A very happy May Day to all. Today is only the first day in the long struggle towards fairness and respect for workers and immigrants. The general well being and wealth of a society is only good if it lifts all up to a better life of more quality.


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