Labor unions are as vital to workers today as ever before because "industrial safety and health remains a national outrage," Lloyd McBride, President of the United Steelworkers of America, told a crowd of more than 200 at the Forum last night.
"When a giant textile concern like J.P. Stevens can treat its workers like slaves and thwart their legitimate organizing efforts" the continuing importance of labor unions is evident, McBride said.
"I have a message for J.P. Stevens and all the other Union-haters in America" that the labor movement is going to prevent "demeaning and degrading treatment of American workers," McBride added.
McBride said Southern labor groups remain disorganized because employers have instilled fear in them. "They believe that a bad job is better than no job," he added.
No Greediness Here
"The right to organize is granted to every worker in America, and collective bargaining is the only way I know to combat against the greedy," McBride said.
We live in an adversarial society in which the role of unions is to seek change and reform so that workers benefit, McBride said, adding the economy benefits from a stable and experienced work force.
McBride said unions were neither against capitalism nor technological innovation in industry. He added that he does not share the socialist views of some of his colleagues on the AFL-CIO Executive Council.
"I stand for responsible unionism and will run for reelection despite the objections of J.K. Galbraith, who may well work for the opposition candidate," McBride said.
With more than 1.4 million members, the United Steelworkers union is the largest industrial union in North America.