Solidarity: An Injury To One Is An Injury To All
Andrew Carnegie, nineteenth-century financier and steel magnet, once said, “The greatest discovery of my life is that the men who do the work never get rich.” Carnegie knew what he was talking about. He made a fortune off the toil of others. Working people are still getting the short end of the stick. While productivity is up, real wages have declined in every year since 1973. The so-called Reagan Revolution began with the smashing of the air traffic controllers’ union. It has been downhill for organized labor ever since. Union membership, once 35% of the work force, is now at 15% and dropping. NAFTA was another blow to unions. Their paltry and underfinanced efforts were denounced from the White House to the editorial pages of the New York Times, while massive corporate support for NAFTA was barely mentioned.
Elaine Bernard is the executive director of the Labor and Worklife Program at Harvard Law School. She is past president of the New Democratic Party of British Columbia, Canada and she is the former director of the Labor Program at Simon Frazier University in Burnaby, B.C. She lectures and writes extensively on political, trade and labor issues.