Why Union?

Why not!

By Sandra Habr-Valle
Published on LatinoLA: January 12, 2008

Why Union?

Its hard to make some people understand why it is so important to have a union. They don't get it. When explaining what I do to some people, I encounter those who blankly stare at me wondering why it is I am so passionate about fighting for worker rights, when in their understanding of the world, certain workers should be happy they have a job at all.

They don't understand that these workers work hard, very hard and still can't afford to feed their families. They don't understand that these workers have to choose between health insurance and their meals. They don't understand that these workers are exploited, oppressed and intimidated to such a degree that to speak up against their oppression would indefinitely mean losing their jobs. Worst of all, they don't understand that their labor rights are being violated every time they are denied a break, denied a lunch or not paid their overtime in the pursuit of the capitalist profit agenda.

Why is it that some of these workers are homeless? How can they work so hard and still not afford a roof over their heads, while the corporations they work for earn millions from their blood and sweat. Is this not injustice?

No one is saying they need to split their profits with their workforce equally. What a union is simply saying is share some of your riches enough so that those who help you become rich can live decent lives without the worry of feeding their families or without access to health care. It is also saying that workers are human beings that deserve respect and dignity. It is not only the rich who deserve these things.

So for those of you who do not understand why people need unions, let me tell you. It is because without one, no matter how well you think you get paid, and no matter how well you think you get treated, you make nothing compared to your bossess and you have no protections and no voice and these rich corporations can care less about you as an individual. What comes first is profit. You need a union because you stop becoming just one person, you become part of a family that will stand up for you when Big Brother comes stomping on your head.

So if you think you are safe, just stick it out long enough and you will soon realize that your 2 or 3% raise, if you get one at all, is just a way to appease the workforce without compromising profit. Or stand up for yourself one day when you think you were unfairly treated and see what happens. Or better yet, do nothing, say nothing and be happy you have a job at all.

They would rather you compromise yourself than compromise their wallets.

About Sandra Habr-Valle:
I am proud to be part of a union family fighting for the rights of hotel and restaurant workers, and I will continue to fight for worker rights.

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