John Manke is an active former Bay View resident who is involved in numerous neighborhood organizations, including the Bay View Historical Society, the Humboldt Park Fourth of July Association and the Shore Shore Farmers Market. He believes Bay View has a fine tradition in its past that we do not want to lose in the future.
It has been said that if we do not remember the mistakes of the past, then we will relive them in the future again. During the 1880's, we had a situation in labor where nobody had a guaranteed job. You had no health benefits,no pension, no overtime pay, long hours, low pay and the knowledge if your boss disliked you, he could replace you with somebody new who wanted a job. You had no rights or pension plan on your job. If you were injured, somebody else would get your job, and you were without a paying job. Families could starve under these conditions.
Unions were new then and they brought stability to organized labor. When the unions got rolling, we were able to get job benefits. Eventually we got vacation, workman's compensation, unemployment compensation, overtime pay, reduced work day and a steady job without fear of being fired because a boss disliked you. Our unions became our protectors.
In today's world, unions are being attacked by big business and government. Companies are blackmailing their employees by forcing them to take pay and benefit reductions or lose their jobs. People are afraid to go on strike for fear that their jobs would leave town and go somewhere else where there are no union benefits. In many ways, we are repeating the past and destroying worker's rights and their unions. At this rate we will repeat the 1880's labor situation very soon.
Wake up! If you want to protect your job, don't forget the unions. In unity is there strength. Together we must fight for our rights and benefits. Bring back more jobs to the United States where the quality is the best. If your company wants to move out, then stop purchasing their products. If their sales get too low, then the company will fold. If we buy and manufacture more American products, then more jobs will return to us. Don't let the United States turn into a third world country unable to manufacture its own products. If oil prices go too high, then charge the oil producing countries high prices for needed drinking water which they do not have in quantity. Please protect the United States of America and our jobs. Prevent the 1880's from repeating in the near future. You have the power to vote and buy needed products. Use this power to help our American way of life.