OPINION: Reflections on Labor Day 2020



Labor Day 2020. Morning walk in downtown Belleville, Ill. A roofing crew is working on a downtown commercial structure. All appear to be Hispanic.

You can’t blame the Hispanic guys for working on Labor Day. They’re not part of the Labor union tradition. They need the money. They take the work when and where they can get it.

I blame the scab employers. And the building owners who hire them.

You can bet your bottom dollar those guys aren’t getting overtime for working on Labor Day. In fact, you can bet they’re not getting union scale. If they get hurt on the job, how likely is it they’ll file for and receive worker’s compensation? If they get seriously hurt and can’t work again how likely is it, they’ll apply for and receive the Social Security disability benefits they should receive?

That is the worker’s comp and disability benefits they would be entitled to IF, a big IF, their employers are paying the premiums and the taxes for worker’s comp and Social Security disability.

Once again, you can bet the scab employers aren’t paying. You can bet they’re calling them “independent contractors” and not paying any of the legally mandated coverages that honest contractors pay.

And that puts union workers and their contractors at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to bidding work. And it puts the buyers of that construction, and the people who will use the buildings, at a distinct disadvantage because the work will be inferior and who know what kinds of problems that will cause them eventually?

It is time to rebuild the union tradition. It is time to rebuild America. It is time to rebuild America with union Labor.

If you are a union member, you believe in union protections for workers and union wages that put bread on your table.

BUT if you voted for Trump in 2016 and are maybe thinking about doing so in 2020, here is what the Republican Party platform for the 2016 presidential campaign said:

“We support the right of states to enact Right-to-Work laws and call for a national law to protect the economic liberty of the modern workforce.”

You don’t have to take my word for it. Here’s the link to the official Republican party platform: www.presidency.ucsb.edu/documents/2016-republican-party-platform.

A Fifth Avenue playboy, born with a silver spoon in his mouth, with a history of bankrupting businesses and refusing to pay contractors and sub-contractors is not your friend.

A party that is actively working to enact a national, so-called “right-to-work (for less)” law is not a party that supports you. I strongly urge you to remember that on Election Day. It’s not a political issue, it’s a pocketbook issue!

(William Enyart is a former U.S. congressman for Illinois’ 12th District and retired two-star general with 35 years in the military serving in the U.S. Air Force, ultimately serving as Adjutant General of Illinois commanding both the Illinois Army and Air National Guard. He started his working life as a member of UAW Local 145, Montgomery, Ill, where he and his father both worked for Caterpillar Tractor Co. The Enyart’s live in Belleville, Ill. You can hear his blog posts at https://www.buzzsprout.com/1089968).


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