Annual Fundraising Appeal

Here’s an important message to CounterPunch readers from
BARBARA EHRENREICH…

BarbaraE

Here at CounterPunch we love Barbara Ehrenreich for many reasons: her courage, her intelligence and her untarnished optimism. Ehrenreich knows what’s important in life; she knows how hard most Americans have to work just to get by, and she knows what it’s going to take to forge radical change in this country. We’re proud to fight along side her in this long struggle.  We hope you agree with Barbara that CounterPunch plays a unique role on the Left. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day8

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

 To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Telling the Truth About Women

If Obama Were Serious

by DAVID MACARAY

Even President Obama’s most vociferous enemies would grudgingly admit that the man is a brilliant orator. His speech yesterday (April 8) on the subject of women being paid the same rate as men was nothing short of inspirational. His remarks included everything: steel-trap logic, a sense of fair play, the historical imperative.

But if Obama were serious about giving women advice on how to obtain equal pay for equal work—and wasn’t simply trying to convince eligible females to vote for the Democrats in the 2014 mid-term elections—he would have told them the truth. He would have told them that the only sure-fire way of being guaranteed the same rate of pay as a man is to work at a union job.

Unfortunately, given the success of the anti-union propaganda sweeping the country, Obama would very likely lose votes if he dared mention the virtues of organized labor, and no politician, even an orator as gifted as Obama, is going to utter a word that risks losing votes. So with women earning 77-cents for every dollar a man earns, Obama is forced to pretend that it’s the job of U.S. Congress to remedy the situation.

The truth of the matter is, without a union contract stipulating precisely how much each job pays (regardless of who’s working the job), management will try to finesse the word “equal” until it is practically drained of all meaning. They will always find a way to prove that the jobs being done by a man and woman are not “equal,” and that what the man is doing is worthy of more pay.

I have mentioned the following example before, but it bears repeating. There was an African-American woman who worked in a big-time factory, a paper mill. I shall call her “Lisa.” Lisa was a heavy-set woman in her mid-thirties, who struck everyone—union and management alike—as being “surly.” She took no guff off anyone, and was quick to remind you of that fact. Had she been a man, she would be considered single-minded and resolute. But because she was a woman, she was considered a “bitch.”

If this hadn’t been a union shop, they never would have allowed Lisa her shot at the top machine operator job, and they would have had a dozen reasons to back them up. They would’ve said she was too overweight to move about fluidly; they would have cited her “grouchiness”; they would have insisted that she didn’t have the mechanical aptitude; and they would have said she wasn’t “open-minded” enough to be taught new things. They would use any excuse to deny her the job.

But because it was a union shop, when it came Lisa’s turn (via her relative seniority) to be promoted to first operator, she was given that promotion. And wonder of wonders, Lisa proved to be the second-best (of 24 operators) tissue operator in the whole department. More surprisingly, she was put in charge of an all-woman machine crew, and this machine crew, with Lisa leading the way, out-performed 23 or the 24 other crews. In short, she was recognized as an exceedingly valuable production worker.

To the company’s credit, they admitted that Lisa’s demonstrable ability blew their minds. No one dreamed she could be that good. Again, if this hadn’t been a union shop, this overweight African-American woman “with an attitude” would never have been given the opportunity to prove herself. And prove herself she did. It ain’t Congress that’s the answer, Mr. President. It’s organized labor.

David Macaray, an LA playwright and author (“It’s Never Been Easy:  Essays on Modern Labor,” 2nd edition), is a former union rep.  He can be reached at dmacaray@earthlink.net