IAL C E SP ON! I EDIT
taking care of
BUSINESS WOMENâ€™S PERSPECTIVE ON LABOR ISSUES, PAST AND PRESENT
WORKERS FOR JUSTICE Pomona dining hall staff speaks up (pg 4)
(pg 17) rosie the riveter, rosie the racist?
the marginalized vs. the management (pg 14)
the norris - la guardia act
TABLE OF CONTENTS
COMMON STRUGGLE IN THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE LIA METZGER
2 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
CESAR CHAVEZ AND THE SALAD BOWL STRIKE TARYN RIERA
ROSIE THE RIVETER, ROSIE THE RACIST? JILL PENMAN
ALL FOR ONE, ONE FOR ALL: THE TAFT-HARTLEY ACT TANYA TABOREK
THE NORRIS-LA GUARDIA ACT
THE MARGINALIZED VS. THE MANAGERMENT
DON’T LIKE IT? STRIKE IT!
UNIONS IN THE 90’S
PROPOSITION 32 AND ORGANIZED LABOR
LUCIA NUNEZ & LAUREN ROWSE
TENSIONS ON THE TABLE: POMONA DINING HALL STAFF SPEAKS UP
US LABOR HISTORY TIMELINE
ANNA LOUGHRIDGE DECEMBER 12, 2012
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
Dear Reader, On behalf of the entire magazine staff, I am very pleased to present you with this special edition of Taking Care of Business in which we trace the path of collective actions in the United States labor movement from the 1920’s until the present day. The issue you are holding in your hands represents the culmination of months of collaborative hard work and research. The end result is a fascinating look back at the historic events that have led up to the present climate of encouraging social change and activism. The concept behind this issue was born out of the prominent Workers For Justice campaign on the campuses of the Claremont Colleges. The movement encompasses many of the ideas and struggles that are so crucial to understanding the importance of a collective voice -- namely, administrative attacks on unionization, public support, vocal protests, civil disobedience, and direct action. Our cover story features interviews with students and staff to gain a wider perspective on this narrative. From there, we double backwards in time, examining many of the key events in labor history. We take a look at women’s movements in the 1970’s, the TaftHartley Act of the 1940s, and the prevalent strike culture of the 1920’s. Each of these remarkable occurences laid the building blocks for the presence of continuing labor struggles today. Their history is rich and inspiring, and we hope that you will feel the need to refer to this special edition throughout the years as new challenges, and new chances to create change become increasingly visible. Sincerely, Anjali Gupta
DECEMBER 12, 2012
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 3
NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
TENSIONS ON THE TABLE:
Pomona Dining Hall Staff Speaks Up
BY: LUCIA NUNEZ AND LAUREN ROWSE It all started a few years ago when a couple of students at Pomona College began speaking with the workers in their dining halls. The more they spoke, the more stories they heard of the workers feeling unjustly treated by management and concerned about frequent injuries and surprising firings. These conversations quickly led to the formation of the Worker’s Work Committee through which workers and students attempted to settle specific instances with the Pomona administration in which workers had felt unfairly treated. As time wore on and the instances compiled, the committee began to question why conditions weren’t significantly improving and if there was a way to make changes guaranteed to last. Their solution? Unionize. On March 1, 2010, un-backed by any specific union support, the movement went public. The dining hall staff turned in petitions signed by more than 90% of the workers asking the administration to provide an environment free from intimidation and interference from the college. Workers, students, and alumni began working together to gather union support, forming an organization called Workers for Justice. In a letter sent to the dining hall staff in response to the petitions, Pomona Col4 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
lege’s president, Dr. Oxtoby (2010), wrote, “We are open to an ongoing discussion with you about how we can put into a place a process that provides for a free exchange of information on both sides of the issue and a thoughtful decision.” However, according to Workers for Justice, the administration merely created a “climate of fear,” utilizing union-busting tactics such as starting intimidating one-on-one conversations between management and individual workers. “We started feeling intimidated by our managers,” said Rolando Araiza, the only remaining worker of the original unionization committee, “I had a couple instances where, after marching and rallying, managers would come up to me and say, ‘Well aren’t you happy with what you got or you still want to fight for the union?’” Yet one of the most dramatic examples of intimidation was a policy that entered the campus at the end of summer which stated, as Araiza recalled, that “any student that belonged to an organization couldn’t talk to any worker while during work service.” This rule essentially prohibited all communication between workers and students because, as Araiza noted, “in this school, almost every student is part of some kind of organization.” Members of Workers for Justice saw this as a direct attack on the unionization movement because it strove to isolate DECEMBER 12, 2012
NOW the workers from a support base. This rule was overturned in November, thanks to the workers filing an Unfair Labor Practices complaint supported by activism of the student body. Later that year the movement gained backing from UNITE HERE Local 11, an international union that works mainly with restaurant and hotel workers. With support from the union, students from all five undergraduate Claremont Colleges, and alumni, the movement seemed to be on its way. Then the letters came. In spring of 2011, President Oxtoby received an anonymous complaint from a Pomona employee concerning the college’s documentation practices for hiring employees. The complaint was passed on to the Board of Trustees leadership who decided that investigation was necessary. Although the Sidley Austin law firm confirmed that the college had in fact been following correct procedures, in November of 2011, the college sent out 84 letters to employees of the college, including faculty, staff, and students who work for the college part-
who was interviewed for this article, “but it was a bonding experience.” The next day, according to Juarez, the 17 fired workers gathered in Frary dining hall with approximately 200 students and community members to deliver the message to the Dining Services General Manager, Glen Graziano, that “all of the workers were very dedicated and passionate about their work and serving the students, and serving the college.” After the fired workers had each shared their testimonies, Juarez, along with 16 others (including faculty, alumni, members of the union, and students from Pomona, Scripps, and Pitzer), blocked an intersection near Pomona and forced arrest. Each was carrying a picture of one of the 17 fired workers. After this act of civil disobedience, the remaining protesters and community members gathered to hear speakers. One of the speakers was a representative of Judy Chu, the congressional representative of Claremont, who came to declare her support for the workers and state that she had called Dr. Oxtoby to request an extension of the deadline.
The motives will always be contested by the administration and the community, especially by the students who are supporting this campaign, because the result of the document check was that everybody who was on the committee for unionization was fired except for 1 person. time. The recipients were required to set up an appointment with Human Resources during that week to discuss discrepancies within their i9 files. The college allowed three weeks for the workers to re-submit the appropriate documents. The Claremont Colleges community was outraged. Students, faculty, and alumni called the administration imploring the administration to push back the deadline. The staff members who were unable to present the proper paperwork felt that three weeks was a very small window to ameliorate the damage job loss would impose on their lives, yet the administration persisted. Students held a boycott of the Pomona dining halls for the week leading up to the December 1st deadline, but the date came, and 17 workers were fired. 16 of those fired worked in the dining halls. On the night of December 1st, the students from Workers for Justice, who had been picketing in front of Frary Dining Hall throughout the week, were joined by Concerned Students of Pomona College (a group that was holding a vigil outside of Pomona’s administration building to encourage dialogue about the document verification issues). That night was “the first moment we all realized that we had lost the battle” said Isabel Juarez, a senior at Pomona and Workers for Justice member DECEMBER 12, 2012
The following week, the Board of Trustees was due to arrive at the college and, as they are responsible for overseeing the leadership, planning, and resources of the college, Workers for Justice wanted students and workers to have the opportunity to speak with board members in person. To pressure the administration for a meeting, four students--including Juarez-began a hunger strike which was to end upon the college’s arrangement of a meeting or the arrival of the trustees. They sent their statement of intent to Dr. Oxtoby, who responded within 48 hours. Soon they had set up a meeting for the following week to include students, several of the fired and current workers, and four trustees. Juarez remarked that the administration called the hunger strike “unnecessarily drastic,” but she remains “100% sure that that meeting would not have happened without a push that drastic.” According to Juarez, the trustees have still not provided any response to that meeting a year later, although the workers’ complaints about the firings and working conditions called for one. Yet the question remains, is there any evidence that the firings were tied to the unionization attempt? “The motives will always be contested by the administration and the community,” said Juarez, “especially by the students who are supporting this TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 5
NOW campaign, because the result of the document check was that everybody who was on the committee for unionization was fired except for 1 person.” For Juarez, along with the other members of Workers for Justice, there can be little doubt that breaking the union was the goal. Regardless of the actual motives, the firings were detrimental to the unionization attempt and was a letdown to the Pomona community. As a cook at Frank, Araiza said, “The atmosphere was different; everyone was sad and angry. People come to this school for what Pomona stands for and that day, I felt like a lot of students got their hearts broken by what Pomona did, and that’s something that Pomona cannot take back.” A year has passed since the 17 workers were fired, but Workers for Justice is still active. Currently, the group’s focus is the rehiring campaign, which is working to ensure the rehiring of fired workers who produce the necessary papers for employment. As of December 7, 2011, the College promised to rehire any of the 17 fired workers who could present the relevant documents to Human Resources before 5 p.m. on June 30, 2012--but only if the worker’s old position was still available. The College will not create additional positions to rehire workers because “We are a non-profit organization, and we are strictly budgeted,” said Assistant Vice President of Human Resources Brenda Rushforth. “We wouldn’t create positions outside of what is budgeted.” Workers for Justice is fighting against not only the deadline of that promise, but the caveat that the reinstatement of the fired workers would be considered instead of guaranteed if positions are available. “We feel, since some of these workers have given up 17 to 25 years of their lives to the college,” said Araiza, “it is Pomona’s duty to do more than just give them a chance; they should hold their position.” In order to account for the work openings that were not replaced, Pomona has been using workers from a temp agency. Workers for Justice members have suggested that if all the positions are truly filled, there should be no need to hire temporary workers. The college contends that there are budgeting issues in play and that it is more economically efficient to have temp workers (who do not receive benefits or have an exterior agency responsible for injuries) than permanent workers for these positions. When management brings in new temp workers, the responsibility of training falls not to the managers but to the permanent workers. “So every couple days we’re teaching a new person how to do the same job,” explains Araiza, “It really makes it really difficult when you have a task to do that’s going to take all day for you to do, and on top of that you have to train someone else to do something.” In addition, according to current dining hall workers, conditions have worsened over the course of the passing year in other areas as well. Araiza described how recent changes in job descriptions have added more work and stress for the workers. “What used to be a job that was split up between three people has now been made it into one,” he says. While workers used to each be assigned to attend to a specific station, there are now multiple people working at every station, which often obligates workers to do jobs beyond their positions and/ or training. Araiza described how as a Cook 1, he often does 6 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
Workers for Justice (WFJ): A Timeline SPRING 2010: Current Movement Begins Workers for Justice is formed Joins UNITE HERE Local 11
NOVEMBER 2011: Administration sends out letters
DECEMBER 1: Deadline for workers submitting adequate paperwork
DECEMBER 2: Act of civil disobedience
SPRING 2011: Pomona College receives complaint
LAST WEEK OF NOVEMBER: Boycott of Pomona dining halls
FINALS WEEK: Hunger strike
AFTER FINALS: Meeting of workers and trustees
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Cook 2 and 3 tasks, which increases his responsibilities as well as the potential for mistakes and consequences. On top of that, Araiza notes that “they always put a lot of workers in situations they’re not used to. Like if you’re supposed to be the assistant cook, sometimes, the chef will not come so you pretty much have to step it up and be the chef. And it sucks because if you have never been trained, or never been in that situation, to take on a meal by yourself is really stressful.” Because of the understaffing problems, workers are constantly rushing and sometimes find themselves unable to take their legally mandated breaks. Workers for Justice members have suggested that this hectic environment may contribute to the excessive number of injuries occurring lately. The frequency of injuries and the inadequacy of subsequent treatment became such a significant problem that the workers filed a CalOSHA complaint. According to the report forwarded to Pomona students by Vice President Karen Sisson, several problems were found in the resulting investigation. These included the incorrect marking of work logs tracking days of absence due to injury or illness, deficiencies in employer records of occupational injury and illness, deficiencies in employee training and record-keeping, failure of supervisors to complete reports of occupational accidents in at least six cases, failure to implement the Injury and Illness Prevention Program of the college, and the blockage of an electrical panel in a dishwasher room. Have these conditions improved since the complaint was filed? “I would like to say it did, but at the same time it didn’t” answered Araiza. While it made their managers and the administration aware of the problems, it did not solve the question of who is responsible for preventing these problems. For example, according to Araiza, if the dishwasher has too much work to sweep the floor to help prevent slips and injuries, “they’ll ask like the stock guy to do it,” burdening him with extra responsibility. The members of the dining hall staff are being given more work to accommodate administrative decisions regarding both the fired workers’ positions and the CalOSHA investigation results. DECEMBER 12, 2012
Since a union cannot simply jump in and take over management to solve these issues, we asked Araiza what he hopes to attain from the unionization of the dining hall staff. “What I want is the respect that comes with your voice being heard,” he said, “But it’s more than that, it’s being part of decision-making at work. I think in each department, not just the kitchen, there should be a representative that is up in the table of decisionmaking.” The workers are fighting for improved communication between staff members and managers and between managers and administration. Such communication comes from equal respect being shared among all parties and has been denied to the workers as long as they have been unable to collectively communicate. But Araiza sees more benefits of having an organized dining hall than basic improved communication; he sees the chance to create a unique and powerful learning environment. “I just see a future with an organization in the kitchen or nearby that students can learn from. There are a lot of students here that learn about organizing and I would love for them, in their own school, to have a union to be able to understand how it works and what it takes.” Contrary to the corporate stigma of unions enabling workers to take advantage of their new-found community power to work less, he sees having a union as an opportunity for the workers to go above and beyond their contributions in the kitchen to contribute new educational programs in the school. If students want to do their part to fix this broken system of power struggles and exploitation, Araiza encourages students to get to know their own campus staff, and strive to make changes “for the future, to make their campus better than what they left.” The unionization struggle of Pomona College dining hall workers is a perfect example of advocacy for a better world and the obstacles that accompany it. To better our society, it is our obligation as students to promote community in a society that reveres individualism, to cross barriers of conventional authority and privilege, to question the methods and values of our own institutions, and to strive for change when we cannot know the outcome. TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 7
NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
PROPOSITION 32 AND ORGANIZED LABOR BY: LEXY STEWART On November 6th, 2012 California voters came together to cast their votes, and simultaneously, to decide the fate of the voice and political power of organized labor in California. The measure with such huge implications for organized labor was Proposition 32, commonly referred to as the “stop special interest money” act. Officially, this measure purported to prohibit unions and corporate entities from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes and to prohibit union and corporate contributions to candidates and their committees and government contractor contributions to elected officers or their committees. However, while these intended effects seemed to aim at rooting out unfair political influence of both organized labor and corporations, the differences in political functioning of each of these contenders made this bill unfairly prejudicial towards unions. Indeed, Proposition 32’s exploitation of such differences between corporate and organized labor political action would have allowed it to handicap unions and provide advantages to corporate interests while disguising these outcomes under an artifice of fairness. The proponents of Prop 32 stressed that the measure would bring “no loopholes and no exemptions” to the influence of special interests groups over politicians. However, the opponents countered that the measure would exempt corporate super political action committees (PACs) and thousands of big businesses. Meanwhile, where unions depend heavily on payroll-deduction funds for their political endeavors, the corporate use of such funding methods in California is rare. While unions would be left without the financial means to make donations to their favored candidates, these corporate super powers would be uninhibited and would received bolstered power from the lack of union opposition. Keeping these things in mind, what does the presence of such a measure on the ballot reveal about organized labor’s position in the political arena? Labor leaders confirm that Proposition 32 is one of the most overt and drastic threats they have faced in a year of attacks on their influence and power. When viewed in the context of these recent threats to organized labor—the Wisconsin uprising against Scott Walker’s challenge to collective bargaining, Arizona’s bills banning release time and payroll-deducted union dues, and Michigan’s instituting 8 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
financial emergency managers and giving them the right to shred union contracts—it certainly seems that attempts to curtail unions’ voices in politics are becoming more widespread. , Indeed, California’s democratic majority and rich history of union activity and activism makes the prospect of a successful Proposition 32 especially relevant; Art Pulaski, head of the California Federation of Labor asserts “If they can do it in California, they can do it everywhere and anywhere.” However, the defeat of Proposition 32 after extensive fundraising and coalition formation indicates that labor interests are still alive and much supported in California. The Proposition was defeated when 56% of voters voted against it. The opposition also had the use of $60 million from extensive fundraising, outpacing the financial resources of the proponents of the proposition, even though they received funds from conservative billionaires and shadowy interest groups. Proposition 32 was also opposed by the editorial boards of many major California newspapers, the League of Women Voters, and by labor organizations such as the California Federation of Labor. Additionally, support and solidarity from national groups such as the AFL-CIO highlighted the importance of this measure for the broader interests of labor. Additionally, the threat of such an oppressive measure has motivated many union members to be politically active when hadn’t been before. With over 30,000 union members in California volunteering for the opposition campaign against Prop 32, the movement was able to reach over 2 million people in the months before the election. The clear danger of the proposition for unions also motivated labor groups to register thousands of new voters, with coalition and advocacy groups such as California Calls targeting new and irregular voters. Unions have also urged stronger voter participation among Latino populations, encouraging members to vote and oppose the anti-labor propositions. The widespread labor opposition to Proposition 32 also carried over to other issues on the November ballot. Proposition 30, the measure proposing higher income taxes for the wealthy for funding for education and other public programs, was often supported in tandem with Prop 32 among labor groups. This measure, which was passed, showcased the effect that the extensive Prop 32 opposition had on other measures and demonstrated that “by picking a fight with labor, the pro-Proposition 32 faction risked losing not just on that measure but also on other DECEMBER 12, 2012
Art by: Taryn Riera
Supporters of Proposition 32 framed it as a measure to stop special interest money, arguing that special interest groups, like unions, have a monetary stranglehold over California politics. Opponents of the measure, the California Teacher’s Union (CTA) among them, argued that in reality the measure is an attempt by big business to silence unions. Editorials and discourse surrounding the measure tended to almost comically exaggerate the influence of unions, even calling them the “jaws of the monster that ate good government” (San Bernardino Sun) or the “21st century version of railroad companies” (San Diego Union-Tribune) - Taryn Riera fights important to conservatives, including Proposition 30.” Indeed, the dedication to the interests of organized labor generated by the anti-prop 32 faction had an impact on labor issues across the board. This was shown in the success of such small-scale, local issues as providing a living wage for hotel employees in Long Beach and an increase in the minimum wage for workers in San Jose. Such outcomes suggest that for continued success in the future, supporters of labor interests would do well to capitalize on widespread union member activism and on cultivating and reinforcing the feelings of solidarity—between workers from different fields, backgrounds and locations in California—that gave such considerable power to the Prop 32 opposition movement. Such effective coalition formation and member activism that the opposition to Proposition 32 displayed indicates that when threatened, many passionate supporters will champion DECEMBER 12, 2012
the interests of organized labor. However, this cannot hide the fact that unions are being targeted more than ever, by groups with vast financial and political resources. While the success of the anti- Prop 32 movement is reassuring in many ways, its presence on the ballot in the first place indicates that labor interests are nowhere near secure, either in California or in the broader U.S. In accompaniment with other anti-union initiatives that have come into being recently, Proposition 32 serves as a reminder that the tension between corporate interests and those of organized labor leave unions and many working-class people with precarious means of expressing their political voices. While the story of Proposition 32 is an optimistic one— showcasing the power of the unity and solidarity that form the foundation of the collective labor ideology—it should not be forgotten that this struggle may merely be one of many more to come in the future. TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 9
NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
UNIONS IN THE 90’S
BY: TATIANA RUIZ Throughout the last few decades of the 1900s there was a great decline in union membership. There were few successful strikes or even any sort of uprising from unions during this time. Under the leadership of Lane Kirkland, the American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL – CIO) suffered greatly. In the early 90s, and under Kirkland, unions seemed to be irrelevant, weak, and outdated. Although outside of the national union, one of the largest in the country, he was very successful, but compared to most presidents of the organizations he achieved very little. He failed to pass labor law reform during President Bill Clinton’s first term, 10 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
failed to gain many new union members (and even keep the ones he already had), which is probably due to his lack of success in achieving more benefits and rights for union members (Wikipedia: Lane Kirkland). It was obvious that a new leader was necessary if unions wanted to maintain and achieve a higher standing in the workforce. In 1995, John Sweeney began campaigning against Kirkland since he refused to retire. He adopted the “New Voice” party political platform and through that created many new programs and ideas that would change the current union system within AFL – CIO. At the end of the campaign he wound up winning with the support of 34 unions. From his campaign alone with the New Voice he almost tripled the number of delegates from state fedDECEMBER 12, 2012
NINETIES eration and local central labor councils. It was obvious that already under Sweeney improvements for unions, specifically AFL – CIO, would occur (Wikipedia: John Sweeney). Once in office Sweeney began using most of the budget to organize AFL – CIO. While that was occurring he began recruiting more members, but this time sought out college students and younger activists. Aside from the youth he also created the Working Women’s Department in order to give women a stronger voice in within the unions and the workforce. During the 90s most of his leadership went to forming new programs in AFL – CIO and restructuring the current ones. He believed that this would make the organization run more smoothly and delegate jobs better for everyone. It was clear that at least in the 90s his influence did benefit AFL – CIO, especially compared to Kirkland, but not everyone was happy about it. With the forming of new programs came the restructuring of current facets of the organization. Sweeney removed the Industrial Union Department, and other departments as well in order to make room for new ones, but this caused certain unions, like the United Transportation Union, to become disaffiliated from AFL – CIO in 2000. Under Sweeney unions gained popularity again, but sadly the way he went about it led to some problems within AFL – CIO, and outside of it as well, into the early twenty-first century (Wikipedia: John Sweeney). One of the few successful strikes in the 90s was the UPS Strike in 1997. The Teamsters Union and the UPS bargaining commitPictured: John Sweeney tee began trying to unite union members in had the AFL – CIO donate money in order to help support order to gain better rights for workers. At the workers during their strike. This presented a strong front time many employees were working part time jobs unable against the unprepared UPS Company and most likely to gain many benefits or even more hours to supports helped them win in the end (Bacon). their family, and the list of people wanted full time jobs In the end yes, President Sweeney did have compliwas just growing longer. The strike against UPS was one cations under his leadership of AFL – CIO, but under his of the first successful strikes for unions since the previous campaign for presidency he raised union involvement. couple of decades. From the strike they gained 10,000 And even though within the new millennium many began new jobs over the next five years with five out of every going against him at least he caused more of an uproar six of them going towards already part time UPS workers. and participation from union members. The UPS Strike Along with the new jobs came higher wages over time for as well served as a wake up call for most unions. Up until part time and full time workers. The strikers did have to that point the success rate of unions was severely lacksettle a bit, but still achieved much success. For the first ing, but the teamsters and strikers greatly demonstrated time in many years unions members began participating how a united front and determination could lead to a triand depending on each other in order to gain success umphant outcome. They truly acted as role models for from this strike. It also helped that President Sweeney new unions and events to come DECEMBER 12, 2012
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
COMMON STRUGGLE IN THE AMERICAN WORKPLACE
1985. $77,644.56 is awarded as a result of comparable worth and equal pay cases.
BY: LIA METZGER At the end of the 1980’s, America brimmed with hope and pride in its country. The United States triumphed the end of the Cold War, the rapid growth of its economy, the flourishing of its public sector, and most of all, the addition of so many women in the workplace. Politicians, corporate leaders, and the media chimed in unison about how women had finally “made it” and how their opportunities were now so abundant. (Faludi 1) At the same time, the Equal Rights Act, an integral step to ending sex-based work discrimination, failed in 1982. Following this, the Wall Street Journal coined the term “the glass ceiling” in 1986 in an article that highlighted the issue of high-profile women being bypassed for promotions into the upper pay bracket. (Civil Rights Monitor) How do we reconcile these different portrayals of women in the workplace during the 1980’s? Did women really overcome the gender barrier or were they still struggling for the same rights and pay as men in equally valued jobs? Throughout the 1980’s, women did make astounding leaps in the workplace, but a significant part of their successes are attributed to globalization and the thriving U.S. economy. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of women working rose from 51 percent to 57 percent, as more women flocked to the job market. This 12 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
increase in women’s participation in the workplace pointed to women’s proximity to equality with men. However, even though women constituted more than 45 percent of employed people in 1989, they were outnumbered 1.5 to 1 by men in high paying jobs such as managers, officials, and other administrators. (Women’s International Center) These statistics point out that the amazing gains that women seemed to achieve during the 1980’s were partly a facade. More women than ever were working in the lowearning jobs, and women who worked full-time increased their hours by about 5% during the 1980’s according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Thus, even as more women entered the workforce and increased their pay relative to men’s pay, they continued to work in lower positions that paid less. Many of these positions, including secretaries, nurses, and teachers had become feminized sectors of the workplace. Thus, even though these jobs had just as much value as typically masculine jobs like being a policeman and or a truck driver, they earned a lower wage. A large part of these wage struggles stemmed from globalization. As globalization increased the flow of capital and pushed for less regulation and more cost-competitiveness, the private sector expanded and increased labor flexibility. (Sen) Unfortunately, the increase in labor flexibility, paired with the decrease in the public spending, DECEMBER 12, 2012
EIGHTIES placed a “double burden” on women; they took jobs that were dispensable, paid less, and had less security and regulations, and at the same time they had the burden of more healthcare, daycare, and social costs, claims Sunanda Sen in the article Gendered Aspects of Globalisation. In addition, globalization created an “additional work effect” that put more strain on women and exacerbated their stereotypical roles, by pushing women to take underpaid jobs in order to provide for their family, which added to expectations of women and limited independence for women. Now women were expected to have a paying job as well as providing and caring for their children. This accounts for their rapid entry into the workforce during the 1980’s. How could women bear these new costs when the majority of women entering the workforce could only obtain feminized, low-paying jobs? For feminists in the 1980’s, the answer to solving the pay equity problem came in the form of comparable worth. Comparable worth stemmed from the issues with the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The Equal Pay Act specifically prohibited sex-based discrimination and required equal pay between men and women with the same type of job, and Title VII set up the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Although these pieces of legislation set the groundwork for progressive pay equity, they failed to overcome a large amount of gender-based pay inequity. Women continued to be paid less than men in dissimilar jobs of equal value, and they earned 32 percent less than men for the same job in 1988. (Women’s International Center) Thus, women took to the courts to change the understanding of the Equal Pay Act so that it incorporated dissimilar jobs of equal value. For instance, in AFSCME v. State of Washington in 1983, the court found that the state of Washington used a wage-setting
DECEMBER 12, 2012
system that discriminated against female employees. The employer had determined that the jobs that men and women had were of equal worth, yet he continued to pay women less. Not only did this case win one billion dollars in wage increases and back pay, it set up a standard for employers to follow when setting wages and paying women in jobs of equal worth. (Vladeck 1118) If women worked in the same types of jobs as men, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 would have slowed the sexbased discrimination in the workplace and progressed women’s positions more substantially. Women did flock to the workforce in the 1980’s, but the majority of women worked in female dominated positions such as nurses, social work, and civil service, and teachers, which were paid less than male-dominated jobs valued at the same level. (Freeman) Women’s rights activists such as Miriam F. Freeman and Judith Vladeck argued for comparable worth because the feminization of labor causes women’s jobs to inherently have lower wages than men’s, and comparable worth attempts to right this pay inequity by raising the wages of female-dominated jobs of comparable worth. Following this new discourse, hundreds of lawsuits against gender discriminating pay inequity rose and gained enough publicity to encourage pay inequity studies across America that prompted pay adjustments for women. Cathy Collette, acting director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees’ women’s rights department pointed out ‘Yeah, we lost in court in Washington State-but then we turned around and won $101 million and 23 percent increases for nurses and secretaries, so is that really losing?’ (Lewin) Comparable worth became a new tool for feminism in the 1980’s with these significant achievements for progress in the courts and on the bargaining table. Art by: Lia Metzger
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
THE MARGINALIZED VS. THE MANAGEMENT BY: ALEXANDRA RONCO The 1970s started off with a bang for women in the public sphere. With the leadership of the National Organization for Women (NOW), which was founded in October of 1966 on the heels of the civil rights movement and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a march for gender equality took place on August 26, 1970. This was the largest demonstration by women in the history of the United States to date. Women were fed up with unequal pay, unequal opportunities, simply inequality in general. One marcher, Shirley Chisholm described her experience in the workplace with these words, “As a black person, I am no stranger to prejudice. But the truth is that in the political world I have been far oftener discriminated against because I am a woman than because I am black.” Chisholm was the first black woman elected to Congress and, at the time of the march, was in the beginnings of her presidential campaign. This was a time when women were living in a society where ninety-nine out of one hundred senators were men, only ten women were present in the House of Representatives and there had never been a woman in the Supreme Court – not to mention that the idea of a woman president was a laughable ideal. By 1970 half of women were working outside the home and no longer to earn money for luxuries, but they were working for the same reasons as men: to pay for food, clothing, and housing. Women wanted a wage that reflected this change from working for extra to working for necessity. This movement received a lot of attention from the media – much of it sensationalized and biased, but regardless it was attention women needed to revive their movement for equality. As strong as these feminists were fighting against inequality, so were anti-feminists in their fight to keep the gender gap intact. In order to maintain the wage gap many employers gave different job titles to women than to men doing the same work in order to pay them less. However, in 1970 the Supreme Court case Schultz v. Wheaton Glass co. ruled this practice illegal under the Equal Pay Act. In addition to equal pay, unionizing was 14 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
extremely difficult for women. In May of 1973 Crystal Lee Jordan (Norma Rae) was fired from the J.P. Stevens plant in North Carolina for trying to organize a union. Feminists fought back in March of the following year by forming the Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW). The Coalition’s goal was to ensure a woman’s need in the workplace were met. These needs were, “childcare facilities, daycare, maternity benefits, contract negotiations, apprenticeship opportunities, and, equal pay for equal work.” Before the organization of this coalition most, if not all, unions were headed by men who ignored the specific needs of women and though unions may have been a beneficial step for workers in general, without the particular needs of women in mind, women would never achieve equality in the workplace. This coalition forced employers to be responsive to feminist needs and achieved the difference of a $1500 pay difference between organized an unorganized women workers– a step in the right direction for women in the workplace. “Labor feminism” created a new movement - a second movement for women and a new branch of feminism. This “jolt of feminist energy” did not solve all the problems for women in the workplace, but it was a resurrection of the feminist spirit that fought for and gained suffrage and by the beginning of the 1980s Sandra Day O’Conner was appointed to the Supreme Court – a huge step in the right direction for feminists. Like women, throughout history racial minorities have been treated prejudicially throughout history. After the civil rights movement discrimination was officially forbidden in the labor community (i.e. Equal Pay Act, Equal Rights Amendment, etc.), however many unions did not welcome African Americans or any minority members. In response the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists formed in 1972 after black labor leaders came to the conclusion that the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) had been ignoring the voices of African Americans. Similar to the reasoning behind feminists forming the CLUW, the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists had its foundation in a desire for special attention to specific needs of African Americans. Like women, racial minorities were viewed as lesser people DECEMBER 12, 2012
in comparison to white men and therefore endured poorer working conditions and pay for the same work. They needed an organization that catered to and understood the plight of not only being a worker, but of being a worker and a racial minority. Other minorities heavily present in the labor force were Hispanics and Filipinos, specifically Hispanics in the farm industry. The United Farm Workers of America (UFWA) was a “super group” formed by the combination of the Agricultural Workers Organizing Committee and the National Farm Workers Association back in 1966. The UFWA was later accepted into the AFL-CIO (1972). This group was responsible for many strikes, including a California table grape growers strike and a lettuce growers strike. In 1975 these strikes led to the ratification of the California Labor Relations Act, which allowed migrant farmworkers the right to boycott and the right to collective bargaining. This was the first act of its kind to protect the rights of organized farmers. Unionizing was the only way for minorities to achieve the recognition they needed to obtain equality in the workplace. Without bringing their voices together to make a louder call for justice they could not have achieved the greater balance in labor. This is not to say that all injustice was solved; even today there is obvious inequality within the sphere of labor. However, just as with labor feminism, unionization helped minorities garner respect and recognition in the workplace. These movements were both have their origins in larger social movements—the women’s labor movement DECEMBER 12, 2012
came from the broader women’s movement that focused on women’s rights in general and the racial minorities’ labor movement stemmed from the civil rights movement. Having these movements as their foundations gave them forceful backgrounds and momentum needed to effectively fight for their cause. Identity politics gave these labor movements built-in support systems that proved crucial for creating large-scale, national change. Despite the fact that group identification gave these movements communities of passionate and effective supporters, it also drew severe lines of separation and greatly divided labor as a whole. The repercussions of that can be seen from the commencement of these movements to present day. Today labor is still categorized by the identity politics that prompted the need for change and has left workers split and without solidarity. In the American capitalist economy it is difficult to see a chance to fix labor segregation, but just as these movements were products of broader ones a movement for the unification of labor could stem from a broader movement for national desegregation.
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
CESAR CHAVEZ AND THE SALAD BOWL STRIKE
Art by: Taryn Riera
The Salad Bowl strike, so named because of its involvement with lettuce growers and farm workers in general, was a series of strikes led by the United Farm Workers against the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a rival union, for the right to organize Salinas-area farm workers. The Teamsters were losing ground the UFW had won for farm workers with the Delano grape strike, a strike that began in 1965 that led to widespread recognition of UFW’s authority by growers. The Teamsters signed “sweetheart contracts” with growers, contracts that benefit the employer and union at the expense of the workers and refused to let workers vote for the union they wanted to represent them. Cesar Chavez, cofounder of the UFW and known for his non-violent tactics and his refusal to compromise on key issues, played a crucial role in the UFW’s fight against the Teamsters. He went on hunger strikes, led negotiations, and was even arrested. Although the Salad Bowl strike did not end the jurisdictional dispute between UFW and the Teamsters, it inspired Chavez to push for reform and led to the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act in 1975 which established collective bargaining for farm workers in California - Taryn Riera 16 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
ROSIE THE RIVETER, ROSIE THE RACIST?
BY: JILL PENMAN Rosie the Riveter is an unforgettable image that symbolizes female strength in an uncertain time of war. As American men were taking up arms around the world, the women at home were supposed to take their place in factories and other jobs. Propaganda of the strong-armed woman doing her part at home for the war effort was directed at women from many angles including television campaigns and flyers. Through these ads the government told women what role they should assume at that moment and directing them, for the first time, out of the home and into the labor force. The government changed the commonly accepted stereotypes of women not being fit for “masculine work” as women became necessary for the war effort (Sorrel). This new workingwoman became idolized by propaganda and women stepped up to the challenge that Rosie presented (Sorrel). Looking back, we see Rosie as a positive image and think of the opportunities that WWII opened up for DECEMBER 12, 2012
women on the home front. There is, however, another side to this image. Rosie is a reoccurring and persistent image of a white woman, yet women of various races were also working in the factories and aiding the war effort. Discrimination was all too common within the workforce as minority women answered the call of the nation just the same as white women. This somewhat changes our view of the image we see today along with the aftermath of the war when women of all races were fired upon the return of America’s men. Women were mere placeholders and as the labor force returned to a system America was more used to, so did the stereotypes and propaganda that encouraged women to stay home and raise families. While today Rosie is seen as a symbol of women’s power and unity, she does not describe all female workers of that period. Many stories and struggles of minority women get lost behind this image of a white woman. This call for workers impacted women of all races and, though Rosie’s image has become the most recognized from that period, their effort and struggles should not be lost within generalizations and stereotypes. TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 17
FIFTIES The propaganda of the “Rosie” image that remains today shows the manipulation of the government at that time. Playing on preexisting stereotypes of women, one ad compared feminine homemaking tasks to the labors of a factory. Instead of using a washing machine or juicer at home a woman could be welding in a factory (The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter). In this way, society was challenging the traditional roles of American women (Anderson). They were also made to feel guilty in order to increase their presence in the workforce. Since men were dying on the battlefield for them, the least women could be expected to do was to help out in the factories (The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter). This propaganda was successful: between 1940 and 1945 the number of women in the workforce increased by 80% (What Did You Do in the War, Mom). Despite the sexist images, campaigns and shame tactics, this propaganda did get women out of the home. The working world they entered, however, had issues of its own. In the film The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter the women interviewed described the communities that formed during the war on the home front within factories, unions, and among women in general. However, discrimination targeted minority women who wanted to work and contribute just as white women were being given the opportunity to. There were pay differences between the races and also certain jobs were only given to white workers. As the film included interviews of both black and white workers their first hand descriptions make it clear that everyone did not have the same ideal job situation that the propaganda of the time tried to promote. One woman, Wanita Allen, described how her friend tried to use a new shower that the factory had installed specifically for women. Because the woman was black she was yelled at and her job was threatened based on this simple action. Although there was the apparent need in the U.S. for all women to come out and work, it quickly became clear to black women that they were of less value in the workforce than whites. Although job opportunities in WWII did bring black women out of their domestic and service jobs to new fields with better pay, it was merely a quick glimpse of change as they were the first ones fired when WWII came to an end (Mudd). Chinese American women, particularly on the west coast, also answered Rosie’s call. One author, Xiaojian Zhao, writes that during WWII, “there were no articles or editorials in Chinese newspapers specifically calling on Chi-
nese women to enter defense industries,” yet these women still sought jobs that aided the war effort (142). For these women, another minority group that the Rosie campaign failed to represent, their work during WWII represented more than just a job. For many Chinese American women these jobs gave them a chance to prove themselves as Americans and aid their assimilation into U.S. society (Zhao 140). This profound moment is disregarded in the Rosie campaign. Zhao comments on this saying that, “existing literature has overlooked the profound impact of the war on Chinese American women,” and this is true (140). The image of Rosie we still see constantly today gives us automatic associations with white women. But the work force of women that answered the government’s call was of mixed races and backgrounds. Rosie’s image makes it easy to remember the white women who worked during WWII, but we need to also be reminded of the other women, the minorities, who were crucial to the war effort. The Rosie campaign brought with it societal demands and discrimination, yet it was successful in introducing many women to the work force in unprecedented numbers. In a positive light, this campaign and this time in American history led to women becoming a permanent addition to the workforce. In a pamphlet distributed by the U.S. Department of Labor in 1952 titled Recommended Standards for Employment of Women, women asked for equal pay, maternity leave without penalty and other fair standards. Less than a decade after the war, this pamphlet shows that already the labor force was changing and women were expecting to be treated equally to men. These changes stemmed directly from the Rosie days when women were given a chance to work outside the home. Though this pamphlet deals with women’s issues directly, it does not address any issues of minority women facing discrimination and hardships in their jobs. Though this shows that Rosie made huge strives for women, she was less successful in aiding black women as most returned to domestic work after the war. While today the Rosie image assumes a generally positive mood for American women’s labor, it covers up many of the harsh realities about discrimination and racism. Though Rosie was calling for women to help, promising work, she was not promising fair wages or an environment where women’s work was equally valued regardless of their race.
While today the Rosie image assumes a generally positive mood for American women’s labor, it covers up many of the harsh realities about discrimination and racism.
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
ALL FOR ONE AND ONE FOR ALL: The Taft-Hartley Act
BY: TANYA TABOREK The 1940s were the booming period for American labor. Wages and benefits were on the rise, people were joining unions left and right, and there was an upsurge of political power for the labor unions. Labor was the main power behind the “New Deal coalition” assembled by Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic Party because it could bring out millions of votes. Another reason labor’s power became so strong during the war was because its membership and existing structure made it the easiest way for people to rally together and cooperate to produce at maximum efficiency. This was ideal for unions because politicians and corporations allowed the unions to do what they do best and unify the workers to make them work as a well-oiled machine for the war effort. Although large unions at that time agreed to a no-strike clause, many workers struck anyway for better working conditions. However, as soon as the war was over, unions lost much of the power they had during wartime because cooperation wasn’t as vital anymore. The government and corporations after the world war tried to curb the effects of the New Deal. Although the majority of people were pro-union at that time, with the revival of the American economy and full-fledged peace, huge corporations began with great effort, to turn the tide of public opinion in order to destroy the unions. This brought up the creation of the Taft-Hartley Act, an Act that severely limited union’s powers. It was major business entities such as the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable that lobbied for the act, and the Republicans who crafted it. The Red Scare also massively created uncertainty about unions, since unions tried to rally people for equality they were an easy group to target as communist. The Taft-Hartley Act disallows certain privileges the unions had before. First it grants the President permission to appoint a board of inquiry to investigate union disputes when he believes a strike would endanger national health or safety and obtain an 80-day injunction to stop the con-
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tinuation of a strike. It declares all closed shops, where the employer agrees to only hire union workers, illegal. It permits union shops only after a majority of the employees vote for them and forbids jurisdictional strikes and secondary boycotts. Furthermore, the Act ends the check-off system whereby the employer collects dues from paychecks for the union. It also forbids unions from contributing to political campaigns. All of these limitations on unions were created solely to limit their power. The labor unions realized what an effect this Act would have on its power, and, soon, the influence of the unions began to wane; labor organizers new they’d have to start recruiting harder. They realized that their lack of organizing in the south left it open for business. At the same time, unions were trying to repeal the Taft-Hartley act that destabilized them, so unions began what is now known as “Operation Dixie”. Operation Dixie was an attempt to raise numbers, especially in organizing poor whites and workers of color in the south. While businesses were trying to disassemble the New Deal, unions were working to build their numbers. Although it was clear that interracial solidarity was needed, it faced rigid resistance in the racially tense South. Union leaders opened up offices and tried to recruit people in the South to join labor unions but this plan failed miserably as anti-union propaganda was disseminated throughout the country by big businesses, which would stand to lose much with strong unions. The attacks due to the Red Scare, on left organizers within the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizers, also further hurt Operation Dixie. The aftermath of the Taft-Hartley Act has been devastating overall to the power of labor unions. In 1946, the CIO’s membership had been 6.3 million; by 1954, it was 4.6 million that’s roughly 2.2 percent of the labor force. To place so many limitations on what unionized workers as a majority can do shows that our political powers put corporations higher on their agendas than the workers of the United States of America. Corporations resist unionization because it can cause TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 19
FORTIES them to lose money by paying higher wages and making them give workers better working conditions. They say that unions cause businesses to go bankrupt, however Professor John DiNardo of Michigan University says “This research provides evidence that this causal effect of union recognition… is in short, the biggest fear voiced by employer groups regarding unionization—that it will inevitably drive them out of business—has no evidentiary basis.” His research involved using regression analysis on businesses that were unionized and businesses that were not, and whether they declared bankruptcy. He found that there was no statistical significance that the unification of businesses caused them to fail. Compared to the cost of health care and to military costs, workers nowadays are paid dismally, about the same as working conditions in the 1960s. However, unions help grow the middle class because they fight for higher wages within the poor and lower middle-class workers. Why is the middleclass important? The middle-class grows the economy, not the upper-class. During 1947, the middle-class received 54 percent of the nation’s GNI, and the economy grew at a steady rate, around four percent. From 1980 to 2010 the middle-class had shrunk to 46 percent and consequentially the economy’s growth fell to 2.7 percent. When middle-class families can no longer afford to buy the goods and services businesses are selling, the entire economy is dragged down. The middle-class also promotes better governance from the government. When only .01 percent of the population can afford the high price lobbyists, government begins to favor the wealthy by passing initiatives that only help certain individuals. A strong middle-class assures a strong middle-class-minded government that favors the population as a whole. As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Instead of clamping down on the labor movement, Americans should be extremely grateful to unions.” Therefore the result is that what hurts unions hurts the majority of workers and people in the United States and the economy. And the Taft-Hartley Act deeply hurt unions
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Art by: Tanya Taborek
and therefore the middle-class. There have been many attempts to over turn the TaftHartley Act, however, none have been close to succeeding. Nevertheless, bits and pieces of the Act have been changed due to the people’s determination and strength. The pledge of anti-communism was overruled in 1965, after the red scare of McCarthyism ran its course. The banning of closed shops was also ruled unconstitutional in 1965. Although there have been some efforts to repeal the Taft-Hartley Act, there needs to be a united front to overturn the entire Act because even though the workers, organized or not, do not notice it, they suffer from the effects of the Act every working day. There will not be a time when the government realizes the harmfulness of the TaftHartley Act until the people of America show them what we want and need for this economy to get better. Citizens of America need to always remember that collectively we are stronger as one than as many. As Alexandre Dumas had said quite clearly through his characters the Three Musketeers, “all for one, and one for all”.
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NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
THE NORRIS - LA GUARDIA ACT
BY: ANNA LOUGHRIDGE
WHAT WAS THE NORRIS-LA GUARDIA ACT? The Norris-La Guardia Act was an Anti-Injunction Act passed in 1932 in order to limit the jurisdiction of federal courts. “Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That no court of the United States, as herein defined, shall have jurisdiction to issue any restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction in a case involving or growing out of a labor dispute, except in a strict conformity with the provisions of this Act; nor shall any such restraining order or temporary or permanent injunction be issued contrary to the public policy declared in this Act.” (Norris-La Guardia AntiInjunction Act of 1932)
WHY WAS THE NORRIS-LA GUARDIA ACT ENACTED? With the rise in industrialization the labor world saw increasing problems with working conditions, wages, DECEMBER 12, 2012
and many other disputes. With this workers began to protest and favor unions that fought for better working environments and overall conditions for employees. Labor disputes had become more common and employers began threatening and coercing employees into signing “yellow-dog contracts” which would prevent employees from joining unions and organizing against employers. Another tactic used by employers was to secure federal court injunctions again labor activities such as peaceful striking over labor disputes. The Norris-La Guardia Act was not only passed to prevent Federal Court injunctions against labor activities but the act also made yellow-dog contracts unenforceable in United States courts. With this act, employees were free to organize and make labor disputes public without employer restrictions.
WAS THE NORRIS-LA GUARDIA ACT SUCCESSFUL? To this day, the Norris-La Guardia Act still plays an important role in United States labor laws. Although several Acts granting more power and freedom to unions have been passed over the years, the Norris-La Guardia Act was among the first to support organized labor. TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 21
NOW / 90’S / 80’S / 70’S / 60’S / 50’S / 40’S / 30’S / 20’S
DON’T LIKE IT? STRIKE IT!
BY: ALANA POKORNY Unions have been around since 1866, it would be a very different United States for public workers without them, but what is not commonly known is how hard it was for unions to be a stable facet of the workplace. Many unions only gained the rights to protect employees through strikes, often utilized were ‘selective strikes’. This method of strike keeps administrators on their toes because they do not know when the workers will strike for they do so sporadically. This makes it difficult for employees to find replacements, since employees will work most of the time, but will strike occasionally and far in between (IWW). These types of strikes, and more commonly held day to weeklong strikes became prevalent around 1909 with the female shirt makers uprising (aflcio). Strikes are 22 l TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
often used because, if successful, yield the greatest benefits; however contain the largest risk: complete termination of employment. It took many strikes and many defeats before the unions acquired any status in the United States, a status that unions continue to build on today. In 1919 local teacher’s unions joined together to form the California Sate Federation of teachers to be a more powerful division (Oviatt Library). Although this step was a good one, the teachers needed more than a hundred teachers banding together to receive the rights they deserved. However, with the violence and negative outcome of the steel strike for the steel workers, teachers were worried that they would be treated similarly. As a result teachers ceased to push too hard for better working conditions to let the anti- union sentiment die down amongst employers and government officials. DECEMBER 12, 2012
TWENTIES Before the steel strike occurred, during World War I, workers were treated better since employers needed their work more than ever. Steel was a major contributor to war efforts, for ships, weapons and tools; consequently business was thriving for steel company owners. But after the war ended, the improved treatment did not last long; so steel workers began to strike. The Steel Strike lasted for months, and after those passed violence erupted at the last demonstration. Many were injured while some were even killed by the police, being attacked by officers when the demonstrators had stayed nonviolent for the entire length of their collective actions (Ohio History Central). After this strike, many workers were frightened to fight back, since their own lives may be on the line. Another detrimental factor for union activists was that after WWII government and law enforcement officials began to deport and arrest those they felt were “bolshevik”, thus beginning the red scare in America (California Federation of Teachers). Many union activists were targeted for this because members in their unions were recent im-
Even today teachers and other public workers are struggling to acquire more respect and higher salaries through unionization. Picture a tall woman, five foot eleven, dark hair, kind eyes but commands a lively and endearing presence. Every day she greets her classes with the beginning of “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang and asks a student for a joke to share with the class. Of course this is not part of a curriculum the school board devised, nor will she test her students on the lyrics to “Celebration”; this is just her way of connecting to the students and vise versa. This quirky woman also just happens to be my mother, and I saw all these traditions first hand my senior year of high school, when she was my teacher. Teachers constantly go above and beyond with all their students. From buying materials for a project out of pocket, to staying way past school hours to speak with students or to plan lessons for the next day. Growing up I would hear what my mother talks about at her union meetings with other teachers, for they were held in our living room, and hear how parents and students alike
Unions will continue to fight for the rights they need, just as members did a hundred years before them as long as a passion to be respected and a love of a profession and willingness to keep it thrives within the hearts of workers in every sector of this country. migrants, making it easy for owners of companies to accuse them of communism, preying off the fear Americans had for communists (Steel Strike). The owners accused immigrants along with union leaders in order to lessen the abundance of union membership by threatening to publicly announce their “communist roots”. By eliminating many of the union’s largest advocates and leaders through libel, unions lost much of the momentum they had gained from previous strikes successes, deterring future members for the fear they will be falsely accused of communism as well. After the Red Scare died down in the 60’s and in the years to come, teacher’s unions began to strike in groups to gain small rights for themselves; from fighting for better pay, to receiving better funding for books and supplies in the classroom. From the 1920’s to the present day, teachers still strike to gain better working hours, better health benefits, longer maternity leave and more money to help teach their students. Without strikes and the formation of unions, teachers and other public sector workers would not begun to gain the money or respect they deserve. DECEMBER 12, 2012
disrespect them and that their salary can hardly support young, single teachers. My mother’s small union is in constant battle with the Coronado School Board regarding higher wages and how the board members attempt to micromanage teacher’s approach to lesson plans and teaching styles. Two years ago, however, the union fought for a daily ten-minute break before lunch, and succeeded in its implementation. Since many teachers would begin to teach at seven A.M and would not receive a break until noon, they could not use the restroom, run copies or have a quick snack to stay energized. My mother played a huge role in this triumph. She talked to school board members, her administrators and even students. Although this is one of their only large changes the union has acquired, they continue to meet and work on projects to earn the respect and salary they deserve. Unions will continue to fight for the rights they need, just as members did a hundred years before them as long as a passion to be respected and a love of a profession and willingness to keep it thrives within the hearts of workers in every sector of this country. TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS l 23
A QUICK GLANCE AT THE HISTORY OF US LABOR:
A Quick Glance at the History of United States Labor
COMPILED BY: ANNA LOUGHRIDGE
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WORKS CITED TENSIONS ON THE TABLE: POMONA DINING HALL STAFF SPEAKS UP 1 Oxtoby, David. “Response to petitions.” Pomona College website. 3 Mar. 2010. Web. http://www.pomona.edu/administration/communications/special-features/unionization-efforts/files/oxtoby-response-030310.pdf 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 Araiza, Rolando. Personal Interview. 27 Nov 2012. 4 Lindt, M. and Cohen, R. “Letter from Sidley Austin to the Pomona College Community.” The Student Life 2011: n. pag. Web. 6 Dec. 2012. http://tsl.pomona.edu/articles/2011/12/10/opinions/854-letter-from-sidley-austin-to-the-pomona-college-community 5, 6 Juarez, Isabel. Personal Interview. 20 Nov. 2012. PROPOSITION 32 AND ORGANIZED LABOR “Endorsements: Proposition 32 power play deserves a ‘no’ vote.” Editorial. Sacramento Bee 23 Sep. 2012: Web. 1 Nov. 2012. United States. California Secretary of State. California General Election Official Voter Information Guide: Prop 32: Political Contributions by Payroll Deduction, Contributions to Candidates, Initiative Statue. California Secretary of State. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. Nagourney, Adam. “California Is Latest Stage for Election Battle Over Unions.” New York Times 1 Oct. 2012. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. Owens, Leigh. “Arizona Anti-Union Bills Fueled By Americans For Prosperity, Koch Brothers Support.” The Huffington Post. 1 Mar. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. Kroll, Andy. “Behind Michigan’s “Financial Martial Law”: Corporations and Right-Wing Billionaires.” Mother Jones 22 Mar. 2011. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. Harmon, Steven and O’Brien, Matt. “Proposition 32: Measure that would restrict union donations is defeated.” Mercury News 7 Nov. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. Smith, Steve. “AFL-CIO President Trumka Rallies California Union Volunteers to Get out the Vote, Stop Prop 32.” Labor’s Edge: Views from the California Labor Movement. California Labor Federation, 25 Oct. 2012. Web. 1 Nov. 2012. Mishak, Michael J. “Labor mounts massive effort to get out vote and defeat Prop. 32.” Los Angeles Times 2 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. Healey, John. “Proposition 32 Cost the 32 Far More than Mere Money.” The Los Angeles Times. 9 Nov. 2012. Web. 8 Dec. 2012. UNIONS IN THE 90’S “John Sweeney (labor Leader).” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 May 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ John_Sweeney_(labor_leader)>. “Lane Kirkland.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lane_Kirkland>. Bacon, David. “The UPS Strike - Unions Win When They Take The Offensive.” Stories Photographs. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Nov. 2012. <http://dbacon.igc.org/Strikes/07ups.htm>. Borstelmann, Thomas. The 1970s: A New Global History from Civil Rights to Economic Inequality. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2012. Print. Cobble, Dorothy Sue. The Other Women’s Movement: Workplace Justice and Social Rights in Modern America. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2004. Print. Gourley, Catherine. Ms. and the Material Girls: Perceptions of Women from the 1970s Twenty-First Century, 2008. Print.
through the 1990s. Minneapolis, MN:
Kapsa, Michael J. Labor Strife and the Economy in the 1970’s: A Decade of Discord. New York: Garland Pub., 1998. Print. Common Struggle in the American Workplace Faludi, Susan. Backlash, Broadway, Ed: 15, August 2006, http://www.civilrights.org/monitor/vol8_no1/art7.html Freeman, Miriam F, Pay Equity and Social Work, Affilia, 6.7 (1991): 1-14. <http://aff.sagepub.com/content/6/1/7>
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