COLUMBIA — Thank heavens, the Missouri legislators got it right — the first time. Some workers are still trying to make it to minimum wage. They are not willing to work for free. Fortunately, most of us Missouri residents are not so politically inclined that we would allow politicians to determine how much money we’ll work for.
I refuse to get into a fight over politics. People in my family worked as domestic help for most of their lives. They didn’t have access to union representation. They worked for whatever the people would pay. That was then, this is now. We’re not going back to yesterday. And although some people are determined to do that, I’m not one of them.
I’ve learned over the last few days that some states have governors and majority legislatures of the same political party. Now, this is no accident. People have manipulated the political system to suit themselves. Citizens should have been more mindful and not allowed this to happen.
Some people believe there should be only the poor and the rich. They don’t believe in a middle class. They only want to have poor people beneath them so that they will be able to dictate to them how they should live. You see, this is how we get into these messes in the first place. Some people are determined to have a servant class to work for them. They want to have people who will do all of their work for peanuts.
Union organization broke up that kind of stuff. People who don’t want to pay union dues are not very smart. They don’t understand that they are playing right into management’s hands. Today, some believe that people don’t want to belong to unions. People believe that they can negotiate with management on their own. They don’t realize that it was the unions that opened the door to all the benefits available to workers today.
The bad thing is that our educational system has failed to teach the history of labor in America. We would like everyone to believe that bosses have always been good guys. There was never any child labor. Workplaces have always been safe and humane. We have always worked eight hours a day, five days a week. There has always been overtime and sick days. No one has ever had to fight for these things.
I think that those who want to live in right-to-work states should be allowed to secede. I don’t think that the rest of us should have to support them. Obviously, they don’t want to be paid enough to have a decent lifestyle. It’s wonderful to have successful industries and businesses move into your hometown, but if it doesn’t improve the lifestyles of the citizens who live there, what is the point?
Most people can guess that right to work will not live long in Michigan. The idea will probably follow the lines of leading a horse to water. After all, Michigan was known as the home of the labor union movement. The contributions of that movement to work in America can never be forgotten.
People who have worked hard all their lives in America will always appreciate the sacrifices of the labor movement. Those who have enjoyed an easy time can never imagine the injustices of the past.
Let us continue to build for the future.