Never be afraid to stand with the minority when the minority is right, for the minority which is right will one day be the majority. - William Jennings Bryan

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why I'm Voting for Webb - Part Five of Seven

This is my fifth of seven posts explaining why I support Jim Webb. I suggest reading the first four, too.

And now,

Reason Five: Labor and Outsourcing

Down here in my part of the state, we've been hit hard by, at different times, dishonest coal companies, huge job loss, the influx of cheap labor, non-unionized labor, and jobs going out of the area.

A lof of this area's early economy focused on coal companies. The town of Dante, where my maternal grandpa was born, was created specifically as a coal company town, as were many others. At that time (1910's, 1920's), the coal companies were, at times, pretty unfair with the workers. They paid them not in money, but in credits to use at their own company stores. Nobody could get ahead in life. Until, that is, unions started forming. The UWMA, led by President John L. Lewis, fought in favor of collective barganing and of workers' rights. If not for labor unions fighting for the people in the past, I would be afraid to even guess what kind of situation mine workers would be in today.

My maternal grandpa was a sharecropper. He worked from the 1940's until the 1980's as a tobacco picker. In the beginning, he was paid $1.10 an hour. And, even at the end, he was paid $1.50 an hour. Why did he lose the job? The farmowner brought in immigrant workers from Mexico (illegaly, I might add). These workers worked for, and continue even today, to work for a ridiculously small amount of money (I understand it is now $3.50 an hour).

Our American workers can't compete with that on our own turf. Let alone on foreign soil, where the business wouldn't even have to pay $3.50 an hour.

Very recently, here in Bristol, companies like Dana, Bristol Compressors, and Snack Alliance, and others, have either discussed, or approved moving jobs out of the area, and, in some cases, to Mexico. This, my friends, is perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a working person. Their job goes out of the country because they can't work for $1.50 or $2.00 an hour.

James Webb is the candidate in this race who has been endorsed by the SMWIA, LIUNA, and other workers' rights groups because he is the only candidate in this race who will consistently protect American jobs, and will fight to keep those jobs in America. James Webb will be, as he himself has stated, the "anti-outsourcing" Senator. He will fight for a higher minimum wage, fight for better working conditions, and for more stringint safety standards. It is evident that, according to the AFL-CIO, James Webb is the only candidate who will be one of the "good guys" for labor and for the worker.

James Webb. Working for the working class.


(Coming tomorrow: Part six, plus a 9th CD convention roundup)

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