Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Day, May Day!

There are certain things cool people don’t discuss, among them, labor unions.

Today is International Worker’s Day. I should have a lot to say given that I am a worker and I believe in the work of trade unions. Trade unions created the 40 hour work week, the right to weekends off, maternity leave, sick leave, and minimum many things that make work tolerable.

Employers will take advantage of workers. They don’t measure often what an employee is worth and so there is always a conflict about that quid pro quo approach, I want a fair pay for a fair day’s work but I don’t have access to the value of the company or the value of what I bring to the company.

I am expected to trust the company and that when all other costs are considered and paid, then salaries are worked out and accepted because some money is better than none.

We believe in resistance, I know one writer who signs out by saying “resistance is fertile”: but too one must choose one’s battles and there is strength in numbers and so again the labor movement has my support in gathering the masses.

In Trinidad and Tobago there has been a historical link between Labor and Politics. It was Butler who took on the Williams administration. George Weeks was a senator; the United Labor Front was in Opposition. This makes me uncomfortable in that while both groups seek the interest of the people as a journalist I’m allowed to be only so political and as a worker I must seek the interests of those like me, and there are many of us.

I can’t speak for all workers but one voice is sometimes all it takes so as we observe International Workers Day I wonder how can you make this a better place in terms of the work that you do? Can you be nicer to a low paid worker? Can you ask that your boss be more fair to everyone and not just you at your work place? I don’t know, but for me it’s something cool to think about today.

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