Last week, a rare thing happened: Some old guys challenged a big corporation and won.
They actually got some justice.
A judge said the corporation had to pay for at least part of the health benefits that it had pledged to provide for the workers.
Here’s what happened. The workers made train cars for Freightcar America in Johnstown, Pa., until 2008, when the corporation closed their plant. Like many corporations, Freightcar thought that once it had tossed the workers aside, it would be fine to shirk all of its obligations to them as well.
So in 2013, Freightcar informed them that it would break its pledge to fund their health plans. It would, in fact, completely eliminate the benefits.
Workers everywhere are at the mercy of employers like Freightcar, whose goal is profit and shareholder satisfaction, not worker well-being or community welfare. In the vast majority of cases like this when corporations renege on promises to employees, workers are powerless.
Not this time, though. These workers had long ago banded together and joined a union, the United Steelworkers (USW). They found power in speaking as a group. It got them better wages and benefits.
And when Freightcar told them it planned to cancel their health benefits, the USW law department sued. And since this story has a happy ending, you know who won.
That’s the power of collective bargaining. And that’s why the 1 percent hates unions so much and is so intent on killing them.