It is amazing that there are so many uninformed and naive people concerning the labor movement.

People who have never been associated with unions and who use the stereotypical caricature of a union boss affiliated with the mob know not of what they speak.

Anyone working today, whether being paid a salary or punching a clock, has the labor movement to thank for the protections and benefits received in the workplace.

It was the labor movement of the past century that pushed government to enact laws that gave us child labor protections, overtime pay, safety and health protections (OSHA), benefits such as health care, vacations and sick leave, all of which was born out of the labor movement, with unions at the forefront.

Nonunion companies had to offer similar benefits or risk losing employees to union companies offering better pay and benefits.

Does anyone really think a company gives perks and good pay because of a sense of obligation to employees?

Of course not.

Left to their own devices, companies will work employees around the clock under sweatshop conditions, treating their "valuable" employees like slaves. Those employees would have no safety protections and would be cursed and threatened so that such issues would never be brought to anyone's attention.

Without the environmental and safety laws enacted with the help of organized labor, companies would, as in Third World countries, dump their toxic waste directly into the fields and waterways surrounding the plant. Workers, along with the neighboring public, would have no protection from such toxic emissions. Does that sound far-fetched? Just look at what occurs in developing and underdeveloped countries.

Companies, especially the large and powerful ones, have only one goal - to maximize profits. There is no interest in creating jobs because having employees reduces profits. Big business, and its puppets, the GOP lackeys in government (state and federal), are holding this country hostage to increase profits without creating any jobs or having any sense of a company's obligation to the country and community that allows it to make its profits.

What is the first thing a company does in recessionary times? Rather than accept less profit or slash the obscene salaries of upper management, which in itself would save hundreds or thousands of jobs, a company will lay off employees, making a bad economic situation worse.

The people in this country need to wake up to reality.

Companies are not your friends nor are the politicians who carry their anti-worker banners. Big business and the GOP want not just to crush the unions, but to make all workers, and the country, slaves to corporate whims.

Michael Polito

former chemist