My friend and I were having a conversation last night about how little we know about the history of the food we eat. I asked her about one of the major food movements in history, the labor movement. She told me about the mass strike for better working conditions in the early 1970s. I told her that strikes aren’t exactly uncommon today, but not nearly as common as they were in the 70s.
The first labor movement in the United States was the National Labor Union, which arose in 1864 in response to poor working conditions at the Chicago Stock Yards. A union is an organization of workers who are organized together to represent a common interest. When a union is formed, each worker joins with a number of other workers who also want to unite in their own interest.
The AFL-CIO has over 20,000,000 members, which is, by the way, more than all the professional baseball players combined. In fact, the top players on the MLB team are members. But the union is mostly a union of professional players, and by the way, one of those men is our favorite character in the game.
In the game, the four main unions are the North American Meat Cutters and Packers, the Warehousemen and Food Processors, or “The WFOs,” as they’re known around the offices of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 464. The WFOs were recently honored by the AFL-CIO as the top union in the U.S. by membership, and by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The union has its own website, the union.us. The page is where you find out more about the union and how to join.
The union.us website is still in a very early stage, but the union still has a very active Facebook page, the unitedfoodandcommercialworkers.org, where you can read a ton of information about the union.
The U.S. Department of Labor recently put forth an updated FLSA wage schedule. The revised wage schedule includes a new “maximum hour” which is the highest hour you can earn in a work week. According to the new maximum hour wage, you can earn up to $500 per week. This is because the current FLSA maximum is $455 per week.
The first step for a union to successfully launch is to get local officials to go along with the idea of the union and be supportive of it. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if the union eventually gets some help from the state. This is because the FLSA was created to protect job security for those who work in the restaurant, retail, and service industry. The FLSA is not really meant to guarantee that employees get any sort of wage increase.
That said, the FLSA is great for protecting employees from being laid off. While the FLSA does not offer salary increases, it does offer workers who work in these industries the opportunity to opt out of the collective bargaining process and negotiate directly with their employer. The FLSA could be a great way to strike a blow against the current practice of non-union labor.
While there are some things that unions can’t do, it doesn’t have to be a pain to strike. The FLSA is available for employees who work in retail, service, and transportation to opt out of the union. The FLSA doesn’t mandate wage increases, but it does say, “If you cannot afford to join the union, you will not be paid.