.. the working class decreasingly capable of independent action. They had constant pressure to produce as much as they could so that the company could sell it at the lowest price possible. To make it possible, however, the workers’ wages had to be kept low and the hours long. They were exploited and even though they managed to raise their wages a little, other concessions were not granted because management did not see the union as threatening.
They actually helped the companies by keeping the workers in good conduct. The discipline that the unions managed to achieve in the factories was one victory for them with the management of the factories, because the managers could not complain about the production rate. This however kept the businesses from taking the workers as seriously as before because they do not pose such a threat anymore with strikes. Also, the government put their foot down when it came to when the unions actually did strike. The Taft-Hartley Act of 1947 took away many of the rights that were granted to the unions by the Wagner Act of 1935.
“It gave the employers the right to enjoin labor from striking, established a 60-day cooling-off period during which strikes were forbidden, outlawed mass picketing, denied unions the right to contribute to political campaigns, and abolished closed shops. Most importantly, however, the law required all union officers to take oaths that they were not members of the Communist Party.” This oath was mandatory for recognition by the National Labor Relations Board of the union. This shows how the government went to extremes to keep unions in line, and to not interfere with the businesses’ production and the revenue that the businesses will bring in for the government. The governments of each state are so money hungry that they even fight over who will have the next corporation building or factory in their state. Governments are dependent of the businesses for economic purposes.
One thing that is favorable about their lust for the corporate move into their state is that it will create jobs for their citizens. There are, however, many side effects from this. For example, in the situation when Frito-Lay was looking for a new location for their plant, they went into Evansville, Arkansas with the intent of building a new factory that would produce their popular chips. Arkansas’ government wanted to have them set camp there, so they offered them a $10 million dollar incentive package plus they would cover all the costs to build the new plant. Frito-Lay got a “140-acre plant site, a rail spur, road improvements, a construction grant, tax credits for new employees and a 20% discount on sewer bills for the next 15 years.” What did the people of Evansville get, may you ask? They got a “no” to a request for a new water system.
They received water pollution, and more traffic congestion. First of all, there are not that many jobs that are created for these plants. Secondly, it puts the citizens of the city in danger. The citizens of the city have the deadly E. coli pollutant in their well water. Because of the plant that the government begged to come to its city, the citizens are not able to drink the water from their water systems.
The government was willing to spend more than $111 million on a company that would basically destroy its area, but it is not willing to spend $750,000 for the citizens to be able to drink their water. The government is too profit involved. The phrase “Money makes the world go around” is very true in this case. The citizens would not be giving them any money in return for the clean water, but the company would be creating jobs and revenues for that state. The jobs that the companies would be creating for the state are not the greatest jobs ever. In the case of Nebraska Beef Ltd., an Omaha beef-packing company, the jobs it created involved sweatshop conditions.
The workers were not given more than one bathroom break, they had one break 7 and a half hours before they ended work, and that is only if they worked ten hours. If they worked nine hours in one day they got no break. The state of Nebraska gave the corporation approximately $31.5million and even with that much money, it was not able to fully train its workers and provided them with low-paying jobs. The state did not even think about putting work laws on the plants; it made no demands as to what it wanted in return for providing so much to the company. One can say that it did create a program called Nebraska Quality Jobs Board, but apparently it didn’t help out in this situation.
What is a quality job for Nebraska? Because of their bad choice in corporation to bring into its state, the citizens refuse to work for the corporation. Citizens from other states are the ones that are working in the plants, which pretty much defeats the purpose of bringing the corporations to the state. All it did was create more problems for the state such as traffic and pollution for the citizens of the state. One question that I have to ask myself is, if the situation is this bad here, how is it over in the other capitalist countries? In Cohen and Rogers On Democracy, they say that “while capitalist democracy cedes workers certain rights and liberties, including suffrage, it does not eliminate the subordination of the interests of workers to the interests of capitalists remains a necessary though insufficient condition for the satisfaction of the interests of workers, and the welfare of workers is thus dependent on the welfare of capitalists.” In Western Europe this idea would not be completely true. The unions in Western Europe, first of all, are stronger than the ones here in the United States.
Europe was industrialized before they became democratic. Therefore, they had to get together in order to get anything done within the government in their favor. The workers do have an interest in the capitalist, but not to the extent where they would do whatever the capitalist tells them to. The Western European governments involved their poor workers more than the US when it came to policies because of historical legacies and because of the constructed institutions. One thing that failed in America did manage to work in Europe, and that is the labor parties. The workers had to create their own parties.
In the United States, the politicians crushed the labor parties, but in Europe they remain strong. One thing that is important to remember is that governments that are very favorable towards the poor do so because the poor are able to overcome the resource constraint. In Europe this is true but what is also true is that there is great solidarity in Europe, which made the workers so strong. Along with this the Industrial Revolution that happened in the last half of the 18th Century greatly helped the labor workers. “The Industrial Revolution was the first step in modern economic growth and development.
” The workers in Europe are big in number and the Revolution brought on new work conditions to the workers. Labor Parties established better wages and hours for the workers. The labor parties were huge in number and couldn’t be put down by the government as easily as the United States put down its unions. In the United States, we have always believed that all men are created equal. Americans, however, know that even though we were created equal, we are not treated equally. The rich are the V.I.P to the government.
They are taken care of well, and pampered with money and privileges that the other hard working Americans deserve more than them. We are in the age of profits, and if the government does not see any monetary value in something, they will not bother with it, even if it is its own people. Bibliography Peterson, Robert A.,Gerald Albaum, and George Kozmetsky.Modern American Capitalism. New York: Quorum Books, 1990. Perlo, Victor. Superprofits and Crises: Modern U.S. Capitalism. New York: International Publishers, 1988. Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward, Chapter 3 from Poor People’s Movements: Why they Succeed, How they Fail,(Vintage, 1977), pp96-180.
Lembcke, Jerry. Capitalist Development and Class Capacities: Marxist Theory and Union Organization. New York:Greenwood Press, 1988. Joel Roers and Joshua Cohen, On Democracy, (Penguin, 1983), Chapter Six, “Democracy”, pp146-183. “Industrial Revolution” Encarta Encyclopedia.