While I hate to be the bringer of bad news at a time when people are finally beginning to secure a few wins in the workplace, we need to talk about what’s coming, about how working people are about to be on the receiving end of yet another attack from corporate power and the elite politicians they own.
While October has been renamed #Striketober due to the increasing number of labor actions going on across the country, and the coverage of those actions has been fairly positive, this trend simply can’t continue, and there are a number of very simple reasons why.
The legislative response to the strikes is a key indicator here. In the video below, Rick talks about two proposals meant to “address” the shortage of labor not by addressing the real shortage (which is in substandard wages & conditions) but by attacking worker safety and finding new ways to exploit the working class. One bill calls for a lowering of the minimum age for CDL drivers from 21 to 18, and the other intends to make it legal for children as young 14 to work until 11pm at night. Both will harm worker safety, and very likely drop wages as well.
To batter an overused cliche’, these proposals are the canary in the coal mine, and they signal the coming turn in how the fight for better wages, hours, and conditions is presented to the American people. This is not a prediction. It is a certainty.
Rick: “If we do hit an era, a period of of high, inflation, I can see it coming – and mark it on your calendar that I said it today – this is going to turn around and be blamed on all of the striking workers who are demanding better wages hours and conditions.
This is going to be put on all the people who marched out of jobs and said ‘No, we’re not working in this service industry for crummy wages. We’re not working without health security or retirement security. We demand better for ourselves and for our fellow workers.”
I guarantee you that the message will be ‘Well see – they got what they wanted. They wanted higher wages and they got higher wages and it ends up costing you – you the consumer … end up costing you more.’
I can see this coming as clear as day.”
As I said before, this is a certainty, one of several, actually. When it happens, the language used will be exactly what it always is. The words used to describe working people will be “them” and the words used to describe the corporate marks will be “you” and even though “you” and “them” are economically identical members of the same team, the corporate wedge will try to divide us. And this division will come from everywhere, including the more trusted media sources. After all, every single one of them is owned by the same people who have been dragging down wages for 50 years, and fairness and objectivity left journalism a long time ago.
And if history tells us anything on this subject, it tells us that corporate power wins this fight every single time. But unlike the certainties mentioned above, this outcome has not yet happened this time around, so we can still choose to stick together and support working people through the attacks that we all know are coming.
I’m not saying we will, because I don’t believe we will. But we could, we should, and I choose to believe that people can still surprise me.
Brett Pransky is a writer, an English professor, and the Executive Producer of The Rick Smith Show. When not in the classroom, Brett uses his graduate degrees in Rhetoric and Business to help people understand the dangers associated with increasing corporate control over the levers of government and how to confront the deception used by those who profit from that control. Brett calls Columbus, Ohio home, and he hates writing about himself in the third person.