Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Non-union exploitation

There doesn’t appear to be much unionization of brick factories around the world (except, oddly enough, in Iran where several thousand brick workers walked out in protest of wages in 2008). That would explain why women & children workers are so ubiquitous at the kilns & why work conditions are so dangerous & unhealthy. It’s very common to see photos of women & men bringing their children to work at the kilns because many are migrant workers without family to care for their children while they work. But brick factories are very dangerous places, especially for children, because of the toxic chemical & particulate emissions.

This photo is of a woman in Lahore, Pakistan kissing her little girl during a break at the brick factory where she works. Despite outrage at her conditions of labor, this is a very tender & touching moment. Unfortunately for the factory owner, it documents child endangerment along with several other criminal charges.

Unions are the first & primary line of defense for working people even though corrupt leaders have turned them into dues trusts to support the status quo & have made a shambles of them in most countries. Misanthropes denounce people for not standing up against injustice & refer to people as “sheeple.” But those who need to eat & feed families are not reckless in defiance. They need collective power, they need a vehicle so they can win & not just get picked off as rebels & malcontents. They need unions & union organizers. And as labor history shows in every country, that is a monumental & heroic effort requiring nothing less than everything.

(Photo by K.M. Chaudary/AP)

No comments:

Post a Comment