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Narrowing Income Gap Between Rich and Poor Essay

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Updated: Sep 22nd, 2021

Introduction

The history of labor unions in the US

The text written by Michael Hout and Samuel Lucas focuses on the issue of trade-unionism in the U.S. It represents a comprehensive outlook of its history and current situation. In this essay I am going to try to make contribution to this problem.

The history of trade-unionism began in 18th century when first local unions appeared but the process of their development was halted by civil war and opposition of commercial and industrial elite. The first labor union was named National Labor Union but it was short-lived. Later the American Federation of Labor (AFL) was found in 1886 by Samuel Gompers. The beginning of the 20th is connected with development of so-called industrial labor unions. For instance, in 1905 Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) was founded and 1933 the Committee for Industrial Organization. After this the development of trade-unionism continued on the wide scale.

Unjust social construction as a cause of labor movement

The premises of labor unions development was the increasing exploitation of labor force resulting from unjust social construction. This connects labor oppression with its other types such as gender and race discrimination. At the beginning of 19th century with the development of industrial economy the majority of poor were transformed into industrial workforce. The conditions of their work were inhuman, they had to work for more than 16 hours a day to earn their living, their families and children had to work much time too. The beginning of the 20th century came with the adoption of repressive “fordist” system based on the principles of specialization designed by Taylor and known as taylorism. (McNamara, 1997-2007).

This discrimination was in harsh contradiction with the claimed liberal rights of freedom, human dignity etc. Of course, the mobilization of workers’ movement as it expressed in the activities of trade-unions has to do with combating this unjust social construction. The people “had nothing to lose except their chains” in Marx famous words and that is why they managed to gain some advantages from the rich. The main achievements of labor-unions is the reduction of working day, normalization of working environment and conditions, the ability to have certain guarantees in regard to accidents, vacations etc.

I consider labor unions to play an important role in the movement for social and personal rights. Their activities show that workers have managed to gain many concessions from the rich the best examples of which is Roosevelt’s “Big Deal” and so-called “welfare state” in Europe. Workers have now more comprehensive social and individual rights than they had in the beginning of the 19th century.

Legislation and social control

The discrimination of workers is deeply rooted in economic discrimination. As Macpherson (1973) notes, market does not provide workers with opportunities but only with coercion. The system of labor law regulation is constructed so as to protect the interests of the owners and ensure the highest possible norm of profit, which presupposes the reduction of payment (only to sustain the life) and avoidance of some positive social guarantees for the workers. Furthermore, in some periods of history as in 19th century or in Thatcher’s Great Britain at the beginning of 80-th there existed the legal limitations of the activities of labor unions and legal possibility of unmotivated lay-offs. This assault on the labor and human rights must be taken in question to understand the history of labor movement in terms of its current situation.

In my view it is a big prejudice to consider labor unions to be extremist or radical. Those who utilize such “frames” have a certain interest in reduction social guarantees for the people since they are claimed to diminish firm’s efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The new tradition of such approach to labor unions as represented in the works of Friedman (1982) states that the developing of labor rights contradicts the notions of free choice and opportunity. So, who are the extremists? Workers or “marketeers”? I guess it is rhetorical question.

Social constructions and coming to understand

The fact is that, various social, institutional organizations somehow or other subjected to make various choices, based on racial, gender or class grounds in employing or preferment. It is well known, that women, men, people of color, and whites are not treated equally as the work force. Women and colored people still tend to be gathered in lower positions, whilst the upper ranks of administrations are still subjugated by white men (Blau, Ferber, & Winkler, 1998). Women still usually are paid less than men for the same job done, and the same situation is with the colored people in comparison with the whites. If the dissimilarities in opportunity and salary still occur at all levels of the institutions, they are predominantly obvious in the higher ranks (Morrison, Schreiber, & Price, 1995). Affirmative action principles have been applied and scholars commonly terminate that these attempts have increased possibilities and decreased some of the harmful consequences of discrimination. Though, almost nothing has been made in order to implement measures for preventing further discrimination in the future.

It is also known that some of the activities adjoining prejudice have transformed over the recent decades. Though intolerance and discrimination have traditionally been more direct and explicit, the up to date adaptations are often more delicate and indirect For instance, there seems to be a re-allegation of pro-white stances and policies rather than actively aggressive direct discrimination toward people of color.

The role of art in making difference

The tendency of the up-to-date art is the elimination of any displaying of discrimination: sexual, racial or class. But people still use the stereotypes of white race superiority, and it often leads to discrimination, even inspite of the broad anti-discrimination propaganda.

This essay, as the manifestation of student art, discovers some ways of signifying the importance of reflexivity in the measure it is possible to gender interviews, an idea undeveloped in but relevant to communication studies, feminist theory, interviewing tools, and narrative history.

A review of this literature is essential for the study of racial discrimination, as it can be noticed, the street gangs mainly consist of Blacks, Hispanics or Europeans (mainly Italians). Such called “broken windows” literature offers the strongest contemporary argument for anti-gang injunctions, and argues on the issues of nationality of the gangs. Thus, an inspection of such literature logically precedes an informed discussion of such restrictions. Pity, that promoting the discrimination of the black population by the black codes, this kin of literature stays legal, and is not subjected to strict censoring. Two prevailing stereotypes of ex-slaves merge to explain the editor’s termination. The first belief–that blacks are in nature servile – is apparent in the arguments of postbellum southern officials deemed responsible for “Negro affairs.”

References

  1. Bond, Meg A. “Gender, Race and Class in Organizational Contexts.” American Journal of Community Psychology 27.3 (1999): 327.
  2. Blau, F. D., Ferber, M. A., & Winkler, A. E.. The economics of women, men and work. Upper Saddle Rive, NJ: Prentice-Hall. (1998)
  3. Frable, Deborrah E.S. “Gender, Racial Ethnic, Sexual and Class Identities.” Annual Review of Psychology (1997): 139
  4. Golombisky, Kim. “Gendering the Interview: Feminist Reflections on Gender as Performance in Research.” Women’s Studies in Communication 29.2 (2006): 165
  5. Morrison, A., Schreiber, C. & Price, K. A glass ceiling survey: Benchmarking barriers and practices. Greensboro, NC: Center for Creative Leadership. (1995)
  6. Poole, W. Scott. “Religion, Gender, and the Lost Cause in South Carolina’s 1876 Governor’s Race: “Hampton or Hell!”.” Journal of Southern History 68.3 (2002): 573
  7. Reuman, Ann E. “Coming into Play: An Interview with Gloria Anzaldua.” MELUS 25.2 (2000):
  8. Sagaria, Mary Ann Danowitz. “Constructions of Feminism in Unequal Relationships: A Personal Account from a North American in a Cross-Cultural Household.” NWSA Journal 12.1 (2000): 100-118.
  9. Sharfstein, Daniel J. “The Secret History of Race in the United States.” Yale Law Journal 112.6 (2003): 1473
  10. Stewart, Gary. “Black Codes and Broken Windows: The Legacy of Racial Hegemony in Anti-Gang Civil Injunctions.” Yale Law Journal 107.7 (1998): 2249-2279.
  11. Friedman, Milton. “Capitalism and Freedom”. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982.
  12. Macpherson, Crawford.B. “From Democratic Theory: Essays in Retrieval” London: Oxford University Press, 1973.
  13. McNamara, Carter. “Very Brief History of Management Theories.” New York: Authenticity Consulting, LLC, 1997-2007.
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