Sunday, July 13, 2014

If It Were Not For Rich People, I Would Not Have A Job!

That’s the sentiment recently expressed by my son. Many, however, have expressed that same sentiment. I have had no success getting across to my son or others that what they believe is simply not true.

The fact is that the rich owe their wealth to those who work for them, and of whom purchase their goods and services. Without the people who work for them, they wouldn’t be able to provide the goods and services needed to continue in business. Equally, without businesses to employ them, workers wouldn’t be able to earn the income necessary to buy the goods and services they produce.

Furthermore, the rich owe a certain amount of gratitude to workers, who for the most part pay for, through taxes, the infrastructure and continued maintenance costs necessary to own a business.

And, the ugly fact is that historically the rich have taken advantage of workers. If it were not for workers forming labor unions and fighting for labor laws to regulate working conditions, the rich business owners would continue their egregious abuses of their workers today.

Over the years, unions have spearheaded movements to secure legislation that mandated workplace safety and health protections. We all can thank working people, not rich people, for the commonplace benefits of today: health insurance, retirement plans, work breaks, weekends off, holiday pay, paid vacations, overtime pay, unemployment insurance, family and medical leave. We are indebted to yesteryear’s workers for ending the egregious labor abuses of the rich.

For example, “in 1881, the first national convention of the American Federation of Labor [passed] a resolution calling on states to ban children under 14 from all gainful employment.” That led to the 1938 Fair Labor Standards Act, which for the first time federally regulated child labor. That further led to International Labor Standards, which established worldwide standards for child labor and other workplace issues.

So, no one should be misled by right wing ideologues who spiel the rhetoric that essentially means we should be grateful to the businesses that provide us work.

It has been the workers of yesteryear while facing extraordinary hardships formed unions and demanded from the rich workplaces that didn’t jeopardize the health or wellbeing of their workers. They are the folks, not the rich, who are responsible for the quality of life you and your family enjoy today.

It’s the sentiment, If It Were Not For Rich People, I Would Not Have A Job, that prior to the labor movement motivated workers out of fear to accept their lot in life by sticking with a work-life that was draining life from them.

Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green


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