A TRIBUTE TO FRANLIN DELANOR ROOSEVELT
I am hesitant to write about labor relations in America for fear of being branded a “liberal” which nothing could be further from the truth. Because I don’t belong to any orthodox system of politics, people find me a difficult person to read. What I am interested in, is not so much orthodox politics, as I am in truth. I think the faulty premise that often your average person, or third semester philosophy student, falls into, is, because X is false therefore Y must be true. In other words, if X is false then everything Y says has to be the absolute truth. Never is this more present than in presidential elections. Regardless of what party I am a member of, I vote for the person, and not the party that represents that person. In this age of American nastiness and mean spirited people it is easy to allow intimidation to rule over you.
So the reader can understand I do not use social media as my source of information. I don’t care for Journalists who believe they are scholars in an area they have not studied or spent years surveying social trends, and then turn around, and write a book on a subject they have put very little effort into. I agree with Donald Trump, “They are TV scholars.” I am a reader of books. Whatever value the reader may find in my writing, if any, just know that I am not sourcing from the TV. And if I do source from the internet, it is an area that I have been formally trained, and/or I have read books about the subject beforehand. I am not a fan of American pop culture, pop psychology or pop theology. If I was forced to brand myself, I would have to write that I am closer to an old FDR social democrat or paleo democrat. My friends tell me I am someone who has stepped out of the Eisenhower era. Such were the views of my grandfather.
This introduces the subject of labor relations in America. President Roosevelt signed off on the “Wagner Act” which was a part of his new deal. He was attempting to stabilize labor relations, which, at the time, were a tumult in America. The “Wagner Act” gave people the right to unionize and access to collective bargaining. As a result, the middle class was born in America. Prior to this, much the way it is today, there were only two classes, the very poor, and the very rich. The “Wagner Act” created an atmosphere of competition between the private sector and the unions, causing private industry to raise their wages equal to that of the unions in order to compete for workers. This created a robust economy and a gregarious middle class. The corporations, unlike today, became friendly with the Unions and were able to work with each other. The corporations and the people amalgamated to protect both of their interests. This is a wonderful example of true democracy.
I find it interesting that Republican Party members are always hawking about the value of competition, and yet somehow, are offended at people “Competing” for a livable wage? Unions are a part of American tradition and have been in our country for over a hundred years. They too, like their democrat counterparts, want to abolish American traditions. It seems that we, as Americans, are moving towards a third world country where the citizens live an impoverished life and have a shorter life span. Given the fact that most people can not afford the high deductibles, due not to wage stagnation, but wage deflation, makes a cleaver pathway for a country to euthanize its citizens through the faulty healthcare system.
This is not a utopian theology, communism or class warfare I am advocating. The bible says, “The Lord delights in the balancing of the scales.” (Apparently Mr. Roosevelt knew his bible) There is such a concept as fairness that is not communism. In the book of Acts there was the sharing of the goods. The people who had material goods shared with the people who did not have. God clearly approved of these kind acts. Although this was a onetime event, it served as an example for people to help when they can. When Christ fed the multitudes, he was aware of the parasites that were only following him for a free meal, and had no interest in his message. Creating a fair labor system where everyone benefits is not enabling dependency or parasitism. Under such a system, EVERYONE IS WORKING, just so my republican friends can understand the logic.
To be sure, there are corporations who pay a fair and livable wage, two of which I have previously been employed, Peavey Electronics, and Wilson World Corporation. Such corporations are where unions are not needed. Mr. Wilson I have already mentioned elsewhere. Hartley Peavey was the founder of Peavey electronics. He made a variety of musical amplifiers, vocal projectors, and guitars. When I was 21 I worked in his speaker plant. Hartley perhaps paid the highest wage in Mississippi. The work environment he created, unlike today, was non hostile, and very pleasant. One could bid on jobs across the spectrum of his massive company, and achieve higher pay while making a lateral move into an area where there was greater work satisfaction. I like to think Hartley created a company that had something to offer for everyone. He was keenly aware that higher pay, good working conditions equaled greater productivity. The proof of his formula was in the numbers.
At that time, there was no available science to back up Hartley’s economic theory. Today, there is overwhelming scientific evidence to support Hartley’s, and Kemmons Wilson’s social/pay structure. Both of these men made enormous profits, and at the same time, took care of the people who helped build their empires. Tolstoy seemed to support such a paradigm, “For every palace, there are a thousand people who built that palace by the sweat of their brow. The same chance that made you Solomon today can also make you Solomon’s slave tomorrow.”
What is interesting about today’s corporations and government entities is all the science has emerged that supports the economic philosophies of Hartley and Mr. Wilson, yet such are vilified by both the democratic and republican parties.
That year the union representatives came through and secretly distributed cards to all of us. Hartley got wind of this and set up a companywide meeting to address the issue. In his address to all 6,000 employees that day, Hartley warned us that if we organized any union, he would shut down his operation and there would be no jobs. What he was not aware of, we had already thrown all of our union cards in the trash. There was no point in organizing a union in a company that treated us with such high value.
Some scholars believe America has transitioned into an oligarchy, from the Greek word, ὀλίγος or oligos, meaning “few.”The post modern term, plutocracy, is often used in its place. Under this system all wealth and power is concentrated in the hands of a few. I don’t need to explain how far away an oligarchy is from what our founding fathers had in mind. Had they have been resurrected in today’s America, I suspect they would be abhorred, and horrified, wondering what happen to their constitution they had drafted.
If one listens to the cultural overtones, he/she will notice the oligarch language on various, social media outlets. For Example the term, Job Creators, (We’re the ones who create the jobs. We’re the ones you owe your puny, paltry, little existence to) has a messianic, elitist tone to it, a title my former employers from the 70s decade would have never used. American Exceptionalism is another self- aggrandizing descriptive. Exceptional people don’t go around telling everyone about their exceptionalism. Truly exceptional people do not know they are exceptional. Someone else should use this term if he/she believes the other person has admirable qualities.
Working in the modern workforce of America is emotional slavery. Upper level management may not take a whip to you, however, I can attest they will threaten to do this and they will surely meter out the psychological torture through emotional manipulation. I suppose if your employer sees himself as a God like figurehead, you may expect to be treated accordingly. Fallen man does not make a very good God. He doesn’t know everything, albeit, in this age of big self-esteems, he believes he is omnipotent.
So, here is the denouement, either pay Americans a livable wage while offering a non-hostile work place, and thus, bring back the middle class (I think this is Donald Trump’s vision), or the unions will once again flourish in America, and the oppressors will be forced to raise a middle class where all Americans have a chance at the American dream.