With a pivotal election coming up in just days, I am reminded of one very important and universal truth when it comes to political matters and the basic wishes of most voters - People Just Want to Work.
There are of course your big government lovers out there. You know, the ones that are obsessed with "free this, and free that." The ones that claim that capitalism is evil, and that all businesses are run by so-called "Fat Cats" that light hundred dollar bills to spark up their 500 dollar cigars.
These individuals are mostly a lost cause until many grow out of this phase as they take off their Che Guevara T-shirts and put down their Molotov cocktails and mature, have children, or eventually learn what many conservatives already know all too well, if they dare make the bold leap into capitalism themselves, opening up a coffee shop or handmade sandals store or what have you.
But for the sober-minded working class American, just praying for an opportunity to continue to be able to feed their family, this election means many things, but for most of them, the key issue is job security in the face of an uncertain and changing world post-COVID.
Under the Obama administration, America saw its lowest Labor Force Participation numbers since the Carter Administration almost 40 years earlier. Jobs in the manufacturing sector continued to pour out of the country, landing in places like China - the country that America can easily define as its most powerful rival and most dangerous geopolitical and national security threat.
As short-sighted, and in some cases, greedy politicians, set up the stage for China's ascension towards the top of the labor food-chain, there was one key group of organized Americans that railed against the rise of the "Red Dragon" - Labor Unions.
Say what you will about the unions, but as Communist China was getting set to be legitimized by President Bill Clinton on the global stage due to horrifically unfortunate U.S.-China Relations Act of 2000, which set up the country for inclusion as a founding member of the World Trade Organization, they were one major group that had the foresight to predict the impending economic disaster that accompanied a legitimized China.
In the years prior to America joining the WTO, major US labor unions in the manufacturing sector vehemently opposed the organization due to fears (that would eventually be realized) that as a result of the our inclusion in the organization, eventually the much cheaper labor in China would lead to massive job losses and factory closings in America.
And the unions were right about this, between the years 1999 and 2011, more than five million U.S. manufacturing jobs were lost. Further reinforcing fears of the globalization of vital manufacturing was a landmark study that attributed nearly one million of these manufacturing job losses, and almost 2.5 million total job losses, to competition from China.
Nowadays, as unions should be using the power they wield to rail against Chinese global influence, many find themselves embroiled in scandal. Many of the most powerful officials tasked with protecting and fighting for the workers that pay a significant portion of their earnings to fund the salaries for these individuals, are taking advantage of union members as they enrich themselves by using the dues collected, as well as the selling the political influence they hold within their organizations.
Earlier this month, a powerful and politically connected union leader in New York State, James W. Cahill, was indicted on racketeering and fraud charges. Federal prosecutors allege that Cahill and 10 others accepted more than $100,000 in bribes in return for using their influence to help businesses who had hired nonunion labor, a direct attack against the very workers they are tasked with protecting.
The past few weeks also saw former United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams plead guilty to embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the union. Williams' guilty plea came nearly four months after Gary Jones, his successor, admitted to helping steal more than $1 million from rank-and-file workers.
Controversy also surrounds Teamsters Solid Waste and Recycling Division Director Chuck Stiles, as he was accused by Mike Drummond, an active member of Chuck’s local, in a YouTube video of receiving a $60,000 dollar payout, for what Drummond called a “phantom job, a ghost job created for Chuck Stiles.” This payout is on top of his $150k yearly salary. In addition, according to Union filings, Stiles was also able to net his son, Corey, a curious $10k payout from the union last year for what was defined as "organizing."
Stiles has also attempted to leverage this summer's Black Lives Matter movement into increased support for the labor movement. Hypocritically enough, there is no evidence of Chuck Stiles ever supporting any black political candidates and this seems to be another political "jacking" of the black struggle, used to further an unassociated cause.
Union members rely on their leadership to protect their rights and fight for their best interests. When corruption and greed are the agenda of these so-called leaders, the average American worker and their families are forced to suffer as some "fat cats" in union leadership enjoy benefits and payouts that the average union worker could only dream of.