August 4, 1942, in labor history!
Erik, thank you so much for your labor articles and especially for all the references you provide!
I wonder how many H1-B workers are still trapped in Elon's funhouse...
"And all they will call you will be 'deportees.'"
Americans at large have no idea how much of our economy is dependent on migrant labor. If every undocumented worker were to strike for even one single day, this country would come to a screeching halt. I invite everyone who screams about open borders or the benefits of slavery to spend a day harvesting mangoes or orange, without gloves, in 100 degree heat with 95% humidity. (For those who haven’t had the pleasure of picking either, mangoes are part of the sumac family and have an incredibly acidic sap which spurts out from where you sever the fruit from the tree. Orange trees can sport 2 inch thorns which happily imbed themselves into your hand and then snap off.)
All jobs deserve a Living Wage. I am of the opinion that the more the average person does not want to do a particular job, the more the person who does end up talking that job should be compensated.
These days, when I look at the issues of labor I’m reminded of a scene from the recent movie Blade Runner 2049. In it, Niander Wallace (Jared Leto), whose company picked up replicant production after Tyrell Corporation went belly up, bitterly laments to his subordinate that “humanity lost the stomach for slaves” as he casually murders a “newborn” replicant.
We’re all just flesh machines to these people. They say they want “employees,” but what ALL capitalists want-be they techbro tobber Barton’s all the way down to small business tyrants-are slaves. They want someone who will do their work without ever cutting into their precious, precious profits.
I worked in Houston from 1977-83 at two manufacturing plants. Hot dip galvanizing and oil pipe finishing. 90% of our labor was undocumented Mexicans. 100% of the managers and corporate officers were Republicans. They loved the reduced labor costs. I loved the people. Hard working and salt of the earth. The good old days!
As always, your posts are illuminating; thank you.
As though seasonal slavery wasn't slavery.
Reminds me of the history of Oakland which, during labor shortages in the Second World War, saw an influx of Black people move in to shipyards and railroad jobs; jobs they were promptly kicked out of the moment the war ended and white people wanted those jobs again.
Every time I read one of these I get so angry at the truncated, all-white history of the US that I learned in school.
If your nation is founded in, and governed by, racism and ruthless fucking capitalism at all costs; your citizenry and culture are going to reflect that. We are a nation of wannabe cowboys at best.
This post should have as a sound track "Deportees" https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=aBdj_G7udyw&pp=ygUOc29uZyBkZXBvcnRlZXM%3D
(Million versions but I like Joan's the best)
Same problem as with super-low minimum wages: If you can't pay a living wage to run your business, you don't deserve your business.
One my first acts of political activism (at age 12 I think?) was doing the "stand at busy intersections with signs encouraging Angelenos to support the grape boycott" action. Day started in the early hours with meeting in a park (McArthur? ) and having a breakfast of tortillas, beans and rice. Looking back I'm amazed my parents let me go to this thing alone but the did.
There needs to be a documentary like, “How it’s made” called “Who it’s made by” that details the history of exploited cheap labor.
Dehumanization for the sake of the almighty $$$.
Basic human decency must not be allowed to cut into profit margins.