It’s a bit late for Labor Day, but I came across these two images in my wanderings today and started thinking about the assault on organized labor that’s been underway for 30 years now, since Reagan fired striking members of PATCO, the air traffic controllers’ union.
The stamp is significant for a couple of reasons. The US Postal Service that issued the stamp in 1956 is one of the last bastions of organized labor and is under sustained assault; Congress, at the direction of its corporate paymasters, has burdened the USPS with onerous labor requirements designed to break the back of the postal union. The stamp was issued in another time when unions were strong and, not coincidentally, so was the middle class. As the image on the stamp illustrates, people lived better and had more upward mobility because unions protected them against the depredations of soulless corporations. A third of workers in 1956 were unionized; less than 7% are today, and the middle class is vanishing.
The second image shows the difference between the working conditions of unionized and non-unionized housekeepers in Hyatt hotels. As the article the graphic accompanies asks, even if you don’t give a damn how some maid is treated (which would make you a cast-iron asshole, IMHO) which employee would you want cleaning your room, the unionized one or the one who gets paid less than half as much to clean your room in less than half the time?