My Opinion of the Big News/Unions and Babies (May 3)

Thinking while drinking

Neither unions nor babies are my problem any longer. I’m too old to get pregnant and I’m retired. I say that with a tiny but audible sigh of relief. It really is easier to be in my seventies than it was to be in my twenties.

Yet, I can’t help but take note of how little things have changed. Unions were always hotly contested. People even lost their lives trying to establish a way to take the masses out of the sweatshops by universally bettering their working conditions. The 20th century did more to improve working conditions for employees than any time in history. Unions helped to make that possible. But it was a hard battle and the very people who needed the help often didn’t have the courage or the will to unite.

And, then there’s Roe v. Wade and it’s imminent demise. After fifty years of federal protection of women’s rights, poof! It could be gone.

What do babies and unions have in common? Well, they were both hard-won victories unique to a short time period in the history of humanity that improved the lives of so many people. These hard-won benefits are facing extinction, because the very people who benefitted from 20th century social progress are willing to give it up.

That’s right! It’s women and men who work for Amazon, struggling in dead end jobs with fewer and fewer benefits, that voted against forming a union. It’s women across the country who join hands with men across the country to overturn Roe v. Wade. I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of these people actually work at a place like Amazon.

I say all of this only to make a point.

If you’re an activist, sacrificing your precious time, maybe even risking your own life to improve life for those who are struggling to make it in our modern society where the privileges we gained in the 20th century no longer exist, understand one thing.

The very people that you want to help will often fight you.

They’ll vote against their own best interests. They’ll complain to you about the hardships they endure, but are often nowhere to be found when you ask for their support. They’ll struggle with low paying jobs, unwanted babies, borderline poverty, no health insurance, diminishing opportunities, long work days, no paid vacations, no dental insurance, and yet, when you stand up for them, they will abandon the cause.

I know. I know. It’s not everyone.

But 62% of the New York Amazon workers voted against the union. They’re the ones who make progress impossible. If it were only politicians or the super wealthy joining forces, the masses would win every damn time. But it’s not. The masses won’t unite for better wages, more affordable health care, women’s rights, or improved working conditions. In fact, the masses rarely unite no matter how dire their situation becomes. We give up our power instead.

It’s that easy and that hard to make progress.

Teresa Roberts is a retired educator, author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. You can find her books on Amazon.



Teresa is an author, world traveler, and professional myth buster. She’s also a top writer on climate change and the future.

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