Throughout the world today, there is unity that is felt in the Labor force through the Labor unions. Workers from different sectors have united in the past to the present to work together and ensure that their rights as workers are guaranteed especially at their place of work. While in the past these Labor movements were demonized, the situation has changed and different nations have been forced to allow their Labor force to have their own unions that puts in check how employees are treated by their employers. The United States, being the most powerful nation on earth has not been spared either. As every other nation that has Labor laws, it has been forced by the Labor force to give way for Labor union to be formed.
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The American Labor has played vital historical and contemporary roles in politics. As is reiterated by Babson (1999), the Labor movements in the United States have in most cases been one of the determinants of its political strength (168). For example, during the First World War, Labor was used to strengthen the United States by increasing the production rates, thus making it one of the greatest producers in the world at that particular moment. On the other hand, the United states depended fully on Labor to work and increase production as a way of dealing with the shortage of military rations that this nation experienced in 1917 in preparation to join the World War I. For example, the Wilson administration believed that it was only through Labor that the US economy would stand during his leadership time (37). This has gone to the point that today the United States is the most powerful nation on earth because of its economic strength that has been generated by the fact that it has a stronger Labor force that contributed to mass production in its economy. Therefore, since politics go hand in hand with economic strength, this has strengthened the US politically, both on the local and international scene.
On the other hand, the contemporary roles played by Labor have been on the decline in the United States especially with the introduction of machines in factories and industries. Yet the vision of the Labor force has still soldiered on with the fight to raise the standards of the living conditions for every American. Therefore, as the political side of the United states reiterates on its quest to has better living standards, better education, healthcare, and other social amenities, this has all been based on the hope that the Labor market will be enhanced and productivity increased through by making the Labor market as a efficient as possible. On the other hand, while politics can make a lot of promises on increasing the living standards of the people who have been entrusted under their care, this can only be achieved through the Labor force (McCartin).
As a result of the importance of Labor in the United States, there have been efforts to form a Labor based political party. However, these efforts have been met by both challenges and benefits. To begin with, it is important to understand that Labor in the United States pursued a two part system, the American Federation of Labor, AFL, and the Congress of Industrial Organizations, CIO, system. At first, these Labor representations were opposed to each other. During this period, the workers union continued to deteriorate in strength as each side struggled to marshal more members to join its side. Politicians in the United States found ways of lessening the influence of the Labor unions by marshalling one against the other causing there to be a weaker union’s body in the fight for the rights of the workers.
Despite the weakening of the Labor unions, it should be noted that their operation was not without benefits. The CIO organized workers’ strikes that led to the lessening of the terrible working conditions that existed at the time. This was done through legislations that demanded that employers meet minimum standards that were required for the working conditions. On the other hand, while political interference was unavoidable, it was impossible for Labor unions to form a political Labor party since this was seen a burden to the unions. Similarly, forming a Labor party was seen as a hindrance to fair representation of workers because they were affiliated to different political parties that were there already (Unions for Single Payer).
However, there are benefits that could be attained if the workers formed a Labor party. One of the benefits that have been cited by Yates (2009) is that, through the Labor party, the employers will be accorded a fair representation in the government, making it easier for them to fight for the rights of workers that have been violated time and again for lack of proper legislature (135). On the other hand, it would be easier for them to enact the right legislature in both the Congress and the Senate that concerns the working conditions of workers on the Labor market.
In one case where Labor parties were actively involved in national politics is seen in the 1994 elections (Ashby and Hawking 210). During this period, the Labor party leaders thought that they were getting nothing out of both the Democrat and the Republican Parties in terms of fair representations and therefore chose to venture into politics with an aim of ensuring that workers were accorded justice even as they worked. According to the picture that is painted in this section of this the book ‘Staley: The Fight for a New American Labor Movement’, the both the Democrat and the Republican politicians have been blind to the plight of workers in the United States. As a result, workers have languished in poverty, with a majority of them being paid wages that are below the stipulated standards. On the other hand, it can be noted that funds are some of the challenges that the Labor party faces when it comes to the issues of plunging into active politics.
Despite the trials by Labor to plunge into politics, there are critics who have stood against their move to be involved in politics, especially the issue of spending towards campaigns after every two years (Ashby and Hawking 300). While Labor has a responsibility of checking the accountability of political leaders and participating actively in politics through spending, this is a misplaced priority. First, the workers who are supposed to be defended are the same workers who are exploited by Labor. On the other hand, instead of spending large sums of money on elections, this money can be channeled into areas that support workers in order to end their plight.
Therefore, the United States has no need of a Labor Party. This is because Labor can be able to fight from outside the political arena rather than when in politics as this would guarantee that the workers do not carry an extra burden of contributing towards the elections. Similarly, it is important to understand that power corrupts and active involvement in politics by Labor has a high chance of turning them into political leaders rather than people who have given out their lives to champion for the welfare of workers (Unions for Single Payer).
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