By Kimberly Freeman Brown - 06/15/10 08:03 PM EDT
Time for a new tune and a reality check: Living wages, health benefits, and a secure retirement should be rights that all workers in America have. President Obama certainly should take the high road and side with the men and women who work every day to pay their bills, take their sick kids and elderly parents to the doctor, and put away money for retirement.
Ensuring that government contracts go to companies that respect these American values is not only the right thing to do, it is good business, and is essential to an economy that thrives on a middle class able to spend money on consumer goods and discretionary items. That's how we build a "win-win" economy in America.
I have some questions for WFI and the rest of the anti-worker lobby: since when did a good wage, health care for your family, and a decent pension become luxuries in this country? More important, why do you work so hard to keep it that way? And if you really want America's economy to recover, how do you propose to do that if you keep working families from earning their fair share?
I suspect the answers are obvious enough. WFI – or more specifically, its corporate backers – believe that low wages equal high profits, and they'll say and do anything to make sure America's workers are paid as little as possible in a mad corporate race to the bottom.
That's wrong for America. But WFI is right about one thing: President Obama is facing pressure from Members of Congress and workers represented in labor unions. And that is as it should be. Whether it is protecting the free choice to organize unions that defend workers' interests, or giving companies breathing room to stay in business and meet their pension obligations, or calling on the President to ensure that tax dollars are spent on companies that respect workers and American values, this nation's working families will be pressuring their elected officials to represent them today and long into the future.
We're never going to give up that fight.
Kimberly Freeman Brown is the executive director of American Rights at Work.