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Article posted: 8/31/2012 5:00 AM

We need more, not fewer, unions

My goodness, by the sound of the recent Fence Post letter calling for strikes to be illegal (Aug. 25), you would think Ms. Andres wants us to return to unpaid slavery.

Apparently 99 percent of us living as wage slaves doesn't satisfy her. I don't know how Ms. Andres supports herself, but workers do it by offering our labor for agreeable wages, hours and working conditions. We negotiate with employers, if we have organized enough of our co-workers, and we reach an agreement on a contract.

Both sides work under its terms. The employer does not and cannot provide his product or service without labor. Labor adds value to the product and the employer, while paying himself, also appropriates to himself a profit. That profit comes from the added value the worker provided.

However, when an agreement cannot be reached, the workers have the right to withhold their labor. Without the right to withhold our labor, we are in fact slaves to what the employer dictates. And whenever the employer can find somebody who is willing to work for less, they will fire the higher-paid employee and hire the new lower-paid worker.

Grapes of Wrath ring a bell? Strikes by workers may be uncomfortable, but that's the price of democracy. We should be asking, why aren't there more of them?

Matthew LaPierre


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