Monday, July 2, 2012

BUSINESS AND LABOR NEED EACH OTHER

Letter to the Editor, The Star Herald, June 27, 2012


On May 8, Mike Willette, candidate for reelection to the Maine House of Representatives, posted on his Facebook page the following:  “I was told by a very, very, very liberal lawyer in town today that she is going to do all she can to make sure I lose my legislative seat in the upcoming election because I support small businesses in our state. The silly season is upon us.”

I don’t know who this lawyer is, but I am a "very, very, very liberal" voter, and I don't know any liberals who do not support small businesses.  I have to ask Mike, “Are you sure you heard right?” As a liberal, I am a strong supporter of local small businesses who hire locally and keep their money circulating through the local economy. But I do not support the greed of so many major corporations who swoop into Maine; hire at minimum wage without any benefits so that their workers must get health care and other basic necessities at tax-payer expense; lobby against organized labor; and sweep up huge profits that go to out-of-state investors, owners, and executives instead of benefiting and improving the local economy.

Some comments to Mike's post criticize Bob Saucier, Mike's opponent for the same legislative seat, as “a big union liberal” and suggest that if you support labor, you must not support business.  But I know Bob, and I know he is very supportive of small businesses and has owned a couple of small businesses himself.  And Dan Levesque, business man and candidate for Maine State Senate District 34, says, “I support corporations and businesses that are good for all of Maine—its communities, its natural resources, and its workers.”

Business and labor need each other.  The best business climate is one in which owners and workers respect and support each other which means one in which workers are allowed to organize and negotiate with owners for mutually beneficial conditions.  Think about this:  Wouldn't it be silly to try to make policy or law that would not allow business owners to organize?  Isn’t it likewise silly to allow owners to organize but not workers?  Not only silly, it is unconstitutional.  Section 8, “Congress shall have the power to . . . provide for the general welfare;” and Amendment 1 of the Bill of Rights, “Congress shall make no law  . . . prohibiting . . . the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition . . . for a redress of grievances.”  It is not only possible to support both business and labor, it is good to do so.  Vote for the candidates who understand and respect this if you want a sustainably prosperous economy for Maine’s businesses and workers.

3 comments:

  1. Workers don't need bosses! The best businesses are actually those run by employees. For a cooperative economy...

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  2. Rereading this post today, Alice, I'm impressed again by your cogent argument. Business couldn't exist without workers, and workers would have no employment without business entrepreneurs. I'm impressed by some thoughts I've heard about chambers of commerce and local businesses working together to increase local industry, even with--gasp--collective and communally owned businesses. It's possible for people to be both pro-business and pro-worker. Aren't all of us Americans? Wouldn't that just make us pro-American?

    I highly recommend this podcast, with some innovative solutions about how we can develop new economic models that would support all of us: http://www.wings.org/ftp/WINGS%20shows%202011%20series/WAV%202011%20shows/WINGS%20%2344-11%20Domestic%20Feminism-28_49.wav

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  3. Martha Dickinson9/29/2012 8:41 AM

    Very interesting blog, Alice. Thanks.

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