Revisionist History: Unions

BDBoop

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Little Love for Labor | The Nation

I didn’t learn much about the labor movement in high school. At best, it was taught like suffrage—a long-ago response to long-ago problems. At worst, it was taught like prohibition—curious, misguided, and painfully anachronistic. Most of the time, my history classes didn’t discuss the labor movement at all.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

Last week the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank endowed by the American Federation of Teachers, released a report, American Labor in US History Textbooks, documenting the movement’s compressed portrayal in our major textbooks. It offers a stark assessment: “If, while driving to school, students happen to see the bumper sticker: ‘Unions: the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend,’ that may be more exposure to American labor’s historic role as a force for social progress than they will ever get in the classroom.”

Three historians wrote the report after reviewing the main high school history textbooks of the four chains that together dominate the industry (if you’re an American high school student, chances are your textbook is one of them). They found that the textbooks portray strikes as violent, disruptive, and socially negative, while downplaying employers’ role in instigating violently repressing job actions. Social and economic reforms like the New Deal are credited to visionary politicians and the critical pressure from labor protests is studiously minimized. Social movements for civil rights and women’s equality are divorced from labor concerns or participation. With the exceptions of the United Farm Workers organizing and air traffic controllers getting fired, unions virtually disappear from the textbooks after 1960—as does workplace injustice.
The question is - why? Why is this happening?

Then of course I wonder if it's easier to lie about history when generations are fragmented like never before.

Little Love for Labor | The Nation
 

Nosmo King

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This is happening because pundits have been issued their talking points. Drive home the idea that labor should just be a commodity, not families. Drive home the message that cheap labor is responsible for outsourcing and, consequently, accepting less (wages and benefits) will make us competitive and stave off losing your job.

Make the American lifestyle seem unsustainable as a wealthier middle class cuts into the wealth available for the richest. Drive home the point that to stay competitive, Americans must accept third world conditions in the work place, in the environment and in the pocketbook.

And somehow, the fear ginned up over canards (Obama is a secret Muslim, he's not a natural born American, he's a Socialist/Marxist/Fascist) will blind Americans to the truth of their own circumstances. They will blame Obama for their lot (despite the fact that this whole Trickle Down lie has been championed by the Right for 30 years).
 

The Infidel

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At one time unions were a useful thing.
They allowed companies to hire better workers by offering more than the government mandated pay scales (gov't over reach). "Benefits" were added to supplement income.

Unions are driving companies out of business and this is driving unemployment rates thru the roof.
They are unsustainable.

Believe me, I acknowledge that they were a necessary thing, but their usefullness is running out.

As for strikes being non violent.... now thats a joke! History will prove that. Just do some research, its not hard to find.
 

JoeB131

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Nobody denies Unions performed an important function in their time.

It's whether they are still valid now that is a valid question.

I grew up in a union household. Frankly, I see them as sort of corrupt. They are only interested in protecting their own perks and their own leadership.

As my brother says, "If they stopped worrying about what their pension fund was worth, and more about the pensions, they'd be doing it right."
 

The Gadfly

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Organized labor is organized thuggery; always has been, always will be. Unions are the only legal criminal enterprise in America (aside from the democrat party, that is). Incidentally, need I point out that this is a Union sponsored book, and might be just a little biased?
 

JoeB131

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Organized labor is organized thuggery; always has been, always will be. Unions are the only legal criminal enterprise in America (aside from the democrat party, that is). Incidentally, need I point out that this is a Union sponsored book, and might be just a little biased?
Corporations are organized thuggery. So all unions do is meet thuggery with thuggery.

Clearly, what unions were meant to originally address- six day, 70 hour work weeks, child labor, machines that took off arms, company stores- these things were attrocities, and it was a good thing someone confronted them.

Now, the need was more compelling when people could only work at the places they could reach by foot, rather than being mobile and having choices. People believe that they are more capable of managing their own careers today, and to a degree, that's true. And the corporations have choices, too. They can open a plant in China, and many of them do.

So the employer/worker dynamic has changed. The unions haven't, and that's a large part of the problem.
 

sparky

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Orginized labor is what kept us all from living in grass huts

~S~
 

editec

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Little Love for Labor | The Nation

I didn’t learn much about the labor movement in high school. At best, it was taught like suffrage—a long-ago response to long-ago problems. At worst, it was taught like prohibition—curious, misguided, and painfully anachronistic. Most of the time, my history classes didn’t discuss the labor movement at all.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

Last week the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank endowed by the American Federation of Teachers, released a report, American Labor in US History Textbooks, documenting the movement’s compressed portrayal in our major textbooks. It offers a stark assessment: “If, while driving to school, students happen to see the bumper sticker: ‘Unions: the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend,’ that may be more exposure to American labor’s historic role as a force for social progress than they will ever get in the classroom.”

Three historians wrote the report after reviewing the main high school history textbooks of the four chains that together dominate the industry (if you’re an American high school student, chances are your textbook is one of them). They found that the textbooks portray strikes as violent, disruptive, and socially negative, while downplaying employers’ role in instigating violently repressing job actions. Social and economic reforms like the New Deal are credited to visionary politicians and the critical pressure from labor protests is studiously minimized. Social movements for civil rights and women’s equality are divorced from labor concerns or participation. With the exceptions of the United Farm Workers organizing and air traffic controllers getting fired, unions virtually disappear from the textbooks after 1960—as does workplace injustice.
The question is - why? Why is this happening?

Then of course I wonder if it's easier to lie about history when generations are fragmented like never before.

Little Love for Labor | The Nation
Its been like that since I was boy.

Let me tell you an amusing story about the demonization of unions.

Last week I was working on a book published in 1905.

It is the story of Noah and the Ark, right?

Guess what one of the problems that this author decided plagued Noah as he was building that ark?

UNIONISM!

I kid you not, this book, designed for children, actually insinuated a slap in the face of WORKERS RIGHTS, by implying that the folks who helped Noah build the ark WENT ON STRIKE for better wages!

I expect that I''ll be publishing that book on our site in next few weeks.

Remeind me and I'll point it out for you.

But the USA's master class has hated UNIONS for generations.

That book, published in 1905, is a perfect example of the anti-worker/union proaganda that has been insinuated in popular culture for generations.

As to school text books?

Unionism, the union movement and that whole period when industrial American was basically working on WAGE SLAVE LABOR is usually glossed over, bearly mentioned, and the violence perpetrated mostly by the government on behalf of the "captians of indiustry" against unions is basically overlooked.
 
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konradv

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Organized labor is organized thuggery; always has been, always will be. Unions are the only legal criminal enterprise in America (aside from the democrat party, that is). Incidentally, need I point out that this is a Union sponsored book, and might be just a little biased?
Who brought out the thugs first? Wasn't that just reaction/self defense when the companies would hire "security" to break the strike?
 

whitehall

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The real myth is that republicans are trying to get rid of unions. Republican politicians represent everyone including union members and the middle class people who are swamped with taxes. All republicans are saying is give the taxpayers a break. Let municipal workers contribute to their retirement and benefits just like everyone else.
 

Old Rocks

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The real myth is that republicans are trying to get rid of unions. Republican politicians represent everyone including union members and the middle class people who are swamped with taxes. All republicans are saying is give the taxpayers a break. Let municipal workers contribute to their retirement and benefits just like everyone else.
:lol::lol::lol::eusa_whistle::cuckoo::cuckoo::cuckoo::lol::lol::lol:
 

Mr Clean

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The threat of an organized workforce is the only thing that keeps employers in line and honest.
 

JoeB131

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The threat of an organized workforce is the only thing that keeps employers in line and honest.
The problem is, the unions themselves have become as corrupt as the owners.

Which is why the private sector unionization is down to only about 7% of the workforce. What gives the unions strength is public unions, which shouldn't exist at all. Even FDR was against that.

So it's kind of pick your poison. On one hand, you have the lazy union slug you can't fire because he has seniority, on the other, you have the hard worker who gets fired because the boss wanted to make a job for the daughter of the senior manager's friend's daughter.
 

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Little Love for Labor | The Nation

I didn’t learn much about the labor movement in high school. At best, it was taught like suffrage—a long-ago response to long-ago problems. At worst, it was taught like prohibition—curious, misguided, and painfully anachronistic. Most of the time, my history classes didn’t discuss the labor movement at all.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one.

Last week the Albert Shanker Institute, a think tank endowed by the American Federation of Teachers, released a report, American Labor in US History Textbooks, documenting the movement’s compressed portrayal in our major textbooks. It offers a stark assessment: “If, while driving to school, students happen to see the bumper sticker: ‘Unions: the Folks Who Brought You the Weekend,’ that may be more exposure to American labor’s historic role as a force for social progress than they will ever get in the classroom.”

Three historians wrote the report after reviewing the main high school history textbooks of the four chains that together dominate the industry (if you’re an American high school student, chances are your textbook is one of them). They found that the textbooks portray strikes as violent, disruptive, and socially negative, while downplaying employers’ role in instigating violently repressing job actions. Social and economic reforms like the New Deal are credited to visionary politicians and the critical pressure from labor protests is studiously minimized. Social movements for civil rights and women’s equality are divorced from labor concerns or participation. With the exceptions of the United Farm Workers organizing and air traffic controllers getting fired, unions virtually disappear from the textbooks after 1960—as does workplace injustice.
The question is - why? Why is this happening?

Then of course I wonder if it's easier to lie about history when generations are fragmented like never before.

Little Love for Labor | The Nation
For unions it is the cold war and communism. Because of the brainwashing by government and political parties during the cold war in the US, then anything "socialist", such as a union is bad and evil. This brainwashing continues today to be part of the American mind, which is why anything labelled as "socialist" is deemed inferior and bad for the US. Look at the whole universal health care debate.. the right just had to put the world socialist into the mix and that debate was pretty much over. It happens over and over in US political discourse today. Take the Wall Street protests.. they are socialists, leftists, communists and so on.. but ironically the Tea Party are patriots despite having many of the same opinions.. So it does not help there is one political party that as a policy wants to change history books and facts to fit their world view, and here the idea of unions being bad is a key element. Texas comes to mind here... big time.

Another example.. the Native American Indian has been portrayed in popular culture and history books for many many decades and in part still today as the evil scalp white woman raping barbarian and the US as the victim and fully justified in what it did. Now the reality and truth is something totally different.

It is not unheard of nations cleaning up historical fact, especially when that historical fact clashes with some sort of political ideology or national pride.

Japan still has a very hard time admitting its death camps and does not mention the actions of the Imperial Japanese Army in human experimentation.

Spain still talks about the "evil moors" when it comes to Al Andalus, and still every year they preform catholic parades depicting the mighty Christian army's saving Spain from the barbarian Moors. Thankfully slowly the actual facts of the era are becoming more and more mainstream despite Church objections. It is ironic that the Moors were far more enlightened than the Christians that drove them out... but that was not the "party" line in Spain or around the world.. because the Church dictated it so.

Or if you look at the whole Christian Church. Even that is ripe with revisionist historical fact. The whole role of women in the Christian faith has most likely been butchered by men over decades so to keep women in check and out of power. Only now are we slowly but surely putting together the facts.

Even in Islam, the role of women has since the time of Mohammed been butchered just like in the Christian Church. Did you know that Mohammed was actually a kept man and that his wife was very wealth business woman?

History should be unbiased and factual, but sadly politics and power often influence the writing of history more than it should and that in turn means more conflict.
 

editec

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History should be unbiased and factual, but sadly politics and power often influence the writing of history more than it should and that in turn means more conflict.
It is pretty much impossible to write a history that is not biased one way or the other.

Even assuming that one is setting out ONLY to note facts as they happen, the selection of what facts are germane to the history is a bias.

Totally Unbiased history is a target to shoot for but not one that can really be obtained.
 

PeteEU

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History should be unbiased and factual, but sadly politics and power often influence the writing of history more than it should and that in turn means more conflict.
It is pretty much impossible to write a history that is not biased one way or the other.

Even assuming that one is setting out ONLY to note facts as they happen, the selection of what facts are germane to the history is a bias.

Totally Unbiased history is a target to shoot for but not one that can really be obtained.
I agree, but that does not mean we should not try to target an unbiased history as possible. In this case of the OP and others, that is clearly not happening.
 

daveman

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Nobody denies Unions performed an important function in their time.

It's whether they are still valid now that is a valid question.

I grew up in a union household. Frankly, I see them as sort of corrupt. They are only interested in protecting their own perks and their own leadership.

As my brother says, "If they stopped worrying about what their pension fund was worth, and more about the pensions, they'd be doing it right."
Unions have become that which they were formed to protect against:

Organizations that exploit workers for money,
 

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