How far will your employer go to keep you poor?
How far will your employer go to keep you poor?
By Wilson Nathaniel Thomas
It is a cold winter’s day, the announcer on the radio just said that it was a brisk 22 degrees, but she smiles, as she wakes her three year old granddaughter up to prepare her for an exciting day of school. It fills her heart with joy as she prepares her little pumpkin for her day, and she is comforted because she knows that while she is at work, her granddaughter will be taken care of, and kept safe and out of harm’s way.
As she begins the journey to the Head Start Center, some 14 miles a-way from where they are currently residing, she thinks of the 55 hours that she has already put in on her job this week and it is only Thursday, and she smiles, as she is grateful that she can drive to Head Start every day, and that there is a program available to her that will keep her little one until 6 p.m., because she never knows when she will be required to work overtime. If it were not for Head Start, she knows that she would have no place for her little one to go, because although she works on an average of 60 hours a week at the local hospital, she cannot afford even the most modest of housing, as she and her grand-daughter sleep in her truck at a truck stop at night, and the two prepare for their days in the truck stop bathroom.
It is not the best situation in the world, but it is all that she has, it is the best that she can do. Although she cannot afford breakfast for herself and will work God knows how many hours today, she is comforted by the fact that her little one will eat her fill at the Head Start Center. She will get a hearty breakfast, a good lunch, and two healthy snacks. She will eat her one meal of the day in the hospital cafeteria courtesy of a two dollars per day discount voucher that is issued to all hospital employees.
Life for a worker in the Environmental Services Department is not easy, the days are long, the pay is short, the carts are heavy, the management is abusive, and staff in other departments are dismissive and often cruel, but she hangs on because what else is she going to do? She will work her day, pick up her granddaughter, go to the mall or the library for a couple of hours, and then she will drive back to the truck stop, to bed down so that she can get up the next morning to start her day all over again.
Her story is more than just a story, this is a reality for thousands who live and work in the United States every day. Specifically, this is the story of a worker that I actually met at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington. I can tell her story with conviction because I know her, and although I may not know the thousands of others like her, I do know what they go through.
Corporate America and its’ political cronies have done one heck of a job on the American people, as together they have somehow tricked Americans into believing that Labor Unions are the spawn of Satan, and that the company that they work for is the angel sitting at the right hand of God. Union members have been painted as greedy, money hungry people who only want as much money as they can suck out of the companies that they have managed to stick their fangs into, and they could care less about how they go about getting what they want.
As with anything in life, there is some good, and there is some bad, but in between the good and the bad, there is a little something called the truth, and the truth in regards to labor as a whole in the United States of America is very rarely if ever in this country spoken. Part of that unspoken truth lies in the hands of your employer, another in the hands of the union, another in the hands of the United States Department of Labor (DOL) and the final part lies within the hands of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Millions of people live and work in this country and never have any dealings with the NLRB or the DOL, and even less people in this country have any idea as to what these agencies do and how much of an influence they actually have on their employment.
There are far too many employers in this country that not only count on, but thrive off of the ignorance of their employees. The less that you know about the NLRB and the DOL and the information that they provide as a matter of public record on their websites, the better off they are. You see, ignorant employees who refuse to read, and have a disdain for anyone or anything that pertains to a union is exactly what 80 percent of the employers in this country want.
With the new attack on union rights, and the legislative manipulation that has taken place in Wisconsin, Ohio, and now Michigan, it is time for workers in this country to under-stand that when you have decided that you are tired of being abused, and you and your co-workers decide that you want to organize and you call a union, your company is going to go to the furthest extent possible to make sure that it stays union free, and that it continues to operate as it pleases, and in many cases federal law be dam-med.
While many employers and members of the Republican party have spent the entire Obama Presidency telling Americans that the job producers are in dire straits, and that they cannot afford to hire more people because of Obama’s policies, and Obama’s economy, they have failed to tell you just how much money American companies, large and small, have spent to keep the majority of the American working class either a little above or just below the poverty line.
There are big profits to be made off of keeping poor Americans poor, and driving middle class wages down. The average American has no idea that there are companies who specialize in helping their employer deny them of the rights that have already been given to them, and while the boss is telling you that they can’t find it in their budget to give you a fifty cent raise, they are paying these companies hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep you in dire straits.
One of these such companies just happens to be one of the two largest in the nation. How large are they, large enough that they boast their recognition by FOX Business News, and Forbes, and large enough that one of their very own is a FOX Contributor. On its website, www.lrionline.com, Labor Resource Institute (LRI) pedals tons of anti-union rhetoric, and videos that they sell, some for $895, and others as a part of a package for $1,495; however the price of the videos do not even begin to compare to the amount that an employer pays to place some LRI boots on the ground. LRI charges its clients a standard rate of $3,000 per day per consultant. LRI gets $1,500 per day and the consultant gets $1,500 per day.
Now the average anti-union campaign usually last somewhere between four to six weeks. So if your employer is a pretty decent size, LRI may deploy at least three of their finest to take care of their clients’ needs. So think about this for a moment and do the arithmetic, three consultants at $1,500 per day is $4,500 per day. Now multiply that out by five and you get $22,500 per week, now multiply that by six and you get $135,000. This is a rough estimate, but in documents that anyone can obtain by logging on to the DOL website, it is revealed that many of this country’s employers have paid much more than that. Some deals have been made in upwards of well over $300,000 and others near the million dollar range. How many raises could your boss afford to give with that kind of money?
The truth of the matter is this, for many employers it is not that they don’t have the money, it is just that they choose to give it to companies like LRI because they know what they hope that you will never find out, unions equal people power, and upward financial mobility and financial freedom for the average American. To view financial disclosures (LM-20) filed with the DOL visit this link https://cslxwep1.dol-esa.gov/Disclosure/OnlineSR.jsp?ReportId=LM20 to your browser, look on the left side of the page for view reports online, and click, then look for search for consultant about business box and click on the arrow, scroll down and select any individual or business to view contracts and agreements, and just how much individuals got paid to keep you uninformed, and at the mercy of your employer.
Be sure to follow us next week as we delve deeper into Labor in the United States.