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Unions Unite Against Food Insecurity



The top five worker unions in the U.S.A,. such as the Communications Workers of America (CWA), United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW), International Brotherhood of Teamsters (Teamsters), American Federation of Teachers (AFT), and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) have been able to maintain incredible collective bargaining power when it comes to negotiating better conditions for workers.


However, there is a cycle, a pendulum that swings back and forth over time. Sometimes swinging towards and favoring the labor movement and sometimes towards the capitalist.


The capitalist needs three tools to fulfill its objective to have more currency flow to shareholders: capital, labor and physical resources. When unions are weak the capitalist takes advantage of the worker to get more done in shorter periods of time, tries to find resources (including capitol itself) more cheaply. Lowering those cost leaves the capitalist with more currency to put towards shareholder profit or towards innovation of their product, service or expansion of the business.


In a system of capitalism this is the natural dynamic.


In the name of higher profits, we will move labor to low-cost countries when we can, we will find physical resources such as cotton, wood, food, energy at the lowest cost globally, and we will lobby government officials to do things to make currencies cheaper to borrow and laws of all sorts less financially burdensome to business.


The negative effect of this over time is that we will see workers unable to put bread on the table, employment will go down as we will export jobs to the low-cost bidder, and the wealth divide will increase. The positive effect to capitalists is we will see higher profits, expansion, innovation, and usually a significant pay raise to the CEO.


There is a fine balance between owner-shareholders and workers without whom the business will not function.


If a union abuses it’s power, taking so much profit away from the business that it is not viable or attractive to investors, then the business is at risk of shutting down and no one wins. Shareholders pull out their investments and put it to use where they can make a greater return. CEOs don’t make their bonuses and go somewhere else, or the Board of Directors replaces them.


On the other hand, if a company abuses its power, pushing the worker into worse conditions in the name of profits (or other things), then the worker, if they can afford it, can go somewhere else, or, if they can’t relocate, they may form a union to push the company to provide better conditions.


At this point in our short history, America is again at a crossroads. The worker is under incredible pressure as food inflation, energy inflation and supply shortages increase. It remains that the majority of our country’s workforce can’t afford a $400 emergency. Where can anyone move with only $400? Are they not prisoners in a form of serfdom, unable to buy food, to put gas in their car to get to work? Do they have time to find another job, to go on interviews and risk losing their existing work?


And so, unions will be coming back, and with them some negotiating power to swing the pendulum towards the labor force.


However, many corporations aware of this dynamic have a great degree of compassion for their workforce, knowing a symbiotic relationship exists and that a fair balance must be maintained for business to continue undisrupted. They understand that to keep a workforce doing quality work and performing at their best not only must they be able to put food on the table but to know their employers are taking care of them in other ways that they cannot afford. This can come in the form of subsidized health insurance, a 401k with matching funds, a fun work culture that offers a clean workplace and for someone to have the freedom to be themselves.


With only $400 dollars to their name, however, their personal pantry is not full and there is no emergency plan for themselves or their family. Many businesses in the country, in fact over one third of the counties in the United States, have been shown to be at significant risk to climate disasters and the knock-on effects thereof.


As capitalists and unions feel tensions, we need to able to confront the day-to-day pressures our workforce is under by the capitalist need for profits, by the increasing pressures of inflation on everyone, the pressure of a tumbling stock markets, especially on retirees, and find ways to help each other develop a more stable future that secures us all.


While Secure Foods is not a panacea for all of these issues, the union workforce and the capitalist organizations that serve each other would benefit from the peace of mind that comes from everyone in an organization knowing that if disaster strikes, especially in those counties most at risk, the food portion of their disaster planning efforts is settled.


A backstock of food, on-hand, ready to hand out as if the organization itself is FEMA, is the hero of their workforce is the caring attitude a workforce would never forget should hard times fall upon them all.

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