Make Labor Great Again
In this era that has seen the decline of our way of life, it is my sincere hope that you have been duly blessed with peace and prosperity. Difficult though the road ahead may be, we must persevere, taking the good with the bad, remembering that there is a season for all things.
It’s our time again. I know it in my bones, thanks to Henry Ford.
Ford, The Union Engine
By 1937, Ford had a big problem. At the height of The Great Depression, there were massive protests and demonstrations calling for higher pay and better working conditions at the River Rouge factory in Detroit, including the infamous Ford Massacre, itself the result of the firings of tens of thousands of employees who had worked at River Rouge. Police officers and the Ford Service Department (FSD) fired into the crowd, killing 4 people.
Not only that, but the workers at Chrysler and GM had already unionized, and so the FSD was working overtime in order to maintain a union-free work environment. Now, let’s not forget that it has been illegal since 1935 to threaten or fire an employee for organizing, joining, or talking about, a union.
All that said, I get it. Your company hits it big, demand skyrockets, you expand, hire more employees — and poof — nobody can buy your product and you can’t pay your workers. It’s nobody’s fault poor Ford got hit by hard times. What else could he do but fire his workers? But then what were the workers going to do? I’m not without compassion here. Some people own, some people work. People develop routines. There’s a natural order. You don’t want to disturb that.
But everything was thoroughly disturbed in 1937. Ford tried to play tough, sending the FSD to handle some strikers from the United Auto Workers’ Union (UAW) in what’s now called the Battle of the Overpass. It was going to work out great for Ford until one disrespectful photographer got some pictures to the papers that told a very different story from what the head of the FSD said went down. After unleashing his army on the strikers and their sympathizers, Ford had to go explain the situation before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The story ends with Ford signing a contract with the UAW.
FSD beat Richard Frankensteen at The Battle of The Overpass
A Productive Generation
So we made hay minding our own business, doing good work with guys like Hoffa, among others. Of course, The Government tried to change the way our favorite unions ran things with Mclellan. But hey, no problem, they botched the job before any change got going, and our unions stayed strong.
Still, we should’ve seen what was coming. Even though we had worked hard to build — like with The Concrete Club — by the end of the 80s, an entire generation of bosses was incarcerated en masse on bullshit RICO charges. It’s a real shame. Good work got done under our watch. A lot of growth and business came with all of those buildings built with our concrete.
Being asked to do more at the same wages and hours, workers are once again seeing why unions make sense. In light of that, more and more employers are hiring anti-union consultants. That’s great for us: If we get the right workers stirred up in the right parts of the right companies, they’ll make the rest happen.
This more recent development in employer-employee relations gives us another possibility. This exploding market gives us plenty of room to claim our share without too much trouble. These employers aren’t really required to report what these consultants are doing for them. So maybe after the owners have a few years of their union, we make sure they give us a call (we’d have no trouble persuading other prospective consultants that their business would do better elsewhere) and we go in and take out the union we started — we can take a big bite out of the $340 million going to bust unions. After that, the same idea can be applied anywhere else. Unions — we make ’em, we break ’em. That’s the idea. There’s nothing but a lack of imagination stopping us.
A Growing Threat
But some people don’t think the traditional way of doing work is good enough, so they’re finding new ways to organize themselves…in ways that aren’t so friendly to us. If the tide of the Silver Tsunami turns against us — if workers don’t need unions because workers are also owners — it’s going to be much harder for us than it already is.
When there are more contracts, more subcontracts, more unions, more procedures, more processes, more regulations, we make good. When people are broke and overworked, looking to unionize, we make good. Don’t forget, we were strong — we grew — when there was Prohibition, Depression, monopolies, and all the things that make people desperate for strong, no-nonsense leadership in their representatives.
We can’t afford to get squeezed out as worker co-ops and other employee-owned business models become more popular. We need the distinction between owners and workers to stay clear, or these new structures take over. It is imperative to our long-term success that unions come back in a big way. Before anything else, keep making sure everyone you know knows the right thing so they don’t get confused by the wrong thing.
We can get things back to the way they used to be, when there was respect. When people knew their place. They start forgetting that, they start forgetting who’s in charge, and that makes a lot of trouble for them. We don’t want anybody to have any trouble.
Some things you just can’t change: If somebody wins, somebody loses. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
— Your Friendly Neighborhood Consigliere