One of my favorite quotes pertaining to Unionism is from renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright:

“If capitalism is fair, then Unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.”

This quote is one that I feel anyone who supports Labor and Working People should know and use. Whenever I’ve been called anti-capitalist, a communist or similar, I like to pull out this little gem of a quote. I don’t know where the line was blurred, but Unions and most members of them believe in capitalism, otherwise we would be content with working for a pittance.

The very fact that Labor Organizations work to negotiate higher wages and benefits for their members is in line with capitalism and to try and argue against that, well you might as well beat your head on a brick wall. At the simplest level, one worker negotiating a higher wage with their employer is no different than a group of workers banning together to go forth and do the very same. It’s all capitalism.

To say Unions are communist or anti-capitalistic is dead wrong and anyone that says something like that has either been misinformed or is lying. As President Franklin D. Roosevelt once said in a speech back in 1936:

“It is to the real advantage of every producer, every manufacturer and every merchant to cooperate in the improvement of working conditions, because the best customer of American industry is the well-paid worker.”
I've found that most Unionists believe in responsible capitalism. Where the general welfare of the citizenry is looked out for before the monetary benefit of large corporations and those in the upper echelons of the wealth  class. We believe in a family sustaining living wage with good benefits to put a roof over our families’ heads, food on the table, medical care for our kids, and hopefully be able to give our children a shot at having as decent of a life or better. All we want is a seat at the table and a piece of the pie, not to be on the floor fighting each other for the scraps.

We want a cop on the beat to make sure people aren’t ripped off by Unscrupulous Investors and we want to retire with dignity. We believe in safety regulations that protect workers and child labor laws that keep kids in school and out of the factories. So how is any of that against capitalism? The answer: it’s not. Not one bit. Unions are for everyone being able to profit and prosper, not just the few who will take whatever they want at expense of working folk.

Originally posted to Todd Farally on Tue Apr 24, 2012 at 04:47 PM PDT.

Also republished by In Support of Labor and Unions and Community Spotlight.

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