Republicans have strangled worker's rights ever since Ronald Reagan was elected in 1980. They have so eroded the protections and safety nets for laborers and working stiffs along with deregulating industry, refusing to properly manage OSHA, EEOC, etc. They have neutered the Department of Labor such that real wages continue shrinking. People are working longer hours for less money when inflation and taxes are factored into the mix. The federal minimum wage has not been raised in ten years.
Meanwhile we continue witnessing worker abuse such as that announced last week by Circuit City. The electronics retailer is going to furlough 3,400 employees to replace them with lower wage people. These "fortunate" souls will have the "opportunity" to re-apply for their old jobs but at lower wages. What a great gift! Imagine what a marvelous company Circuit City must be to work for.
The House of Representatives passed a new bill restoring worker organizing rights and it's awaiting passage by the Senate. As it is unions are at a serious disadvantage vis-a-vis management when trying to organize workers. Companies have a free hand to
propagandize indoctrinate their workers during work time and there is almost no enforcement of violations of current laws when they abuse the organizing process.
Look at all the coal miners dying because mine safety isn't being enforced. Compare this to the millions of dollars in contributions mining companies have given to Republicans. The mining industries have done extremely well under the Bush Administration and federal lands have been handed over to them for plundering.
Companies such as Wal-Mart are routinely violating labor laws and employing undocumented workers. When caught they pay a fine and laugh all the way to the bank with all the billions they managed to save in the process. You subsidize Wal-Mart's low prices by paying for their worker's health care costs through Medicaid. Yet Wal-Mart will close a store rather than see it unionize and provide protection for it's abused workers.
Circuit City isn't much worse with this stunt. Laying off 3,400 employees then saying they can re-apply for their jobs at lower wages is abusive. Workers just continue to lose ground in this economy because the playing field is tilted against them. Do you want to send a message to companies like Circuit City? Don't do business with them. Chains and franchises take money from your community so try to do business with local merchants whenever possible. Tell Circuit City why you won't buy there again.