Cutting Class Essay

1507 words - 6 pages

In his essay “Race Over” Orlando Patterson spoke of a shift in the underclass that will include more whites or “European Americans” if one wants to use the politically correct vernacular. He wrote of the middle class exodus to gated communities or rebuilt inner cities and an intermingling of the races (Patterson). I believe this to be true not only in the northeast but all over the country due to shrinkage of the middle class. The decimation of the once prosperous backbone of American society cannot be blamed on any one element. I do believe that the contributing factors are: corporate America’s practice of union busting, a poorly educated younger generation and ensuing inadequately skilled workforce, and the real estate housing bubble and subsequent foreclosure scam that followed.

Ever have those Stella D’oro cookies or biscotti at your grandma’s house? Not bad for a store-bought cookie or pastry. That’s because since 1930 they were made by a family owned business that paid people a living wage. The workers at Stella were union members. They had benefits, paid vacations, sick days, all the great things you don’t have if you work at Wal-Mart or Sears, Kmart, most restaurants. These people knew other very well since some of them worked together for thirty years. Most of them were immigrant women from Latin America, with some from Italy, Greece, and Africa.  
The family that owned the business sold the company to the Nabisco/Kraft corporation (yes Tom Brady’s boss) for 100 million who then sold it to Brynwood Corp. fourteen years later for 17.5 million. Brynwood is known for buying companies, gutting them to make them look profitable, and then reselling them for a markup. When it came time to renegotiate the workers’ union contract the new owner’s changes were so “draconian” that they had no choice but to strike. The strike lasted eleven months and during that time these tight knit people stuck together. Some of them lost their homes during the strike. The strikers finally won, the courts forced Brynwood to pay back pay and honor the old union contract. The problem is the courts can’t force a company to stay open, or to stay in the same location, so Brynwood sold it to Lance Corp. and they moved the company to its non-union facility in Ohio. Some of the displaced workers are still out of work. It’s been said that the practices of Brynwood Corp. are unethical and their rate of return for their investors is far beyond a normal investment group’s rate of return. They destroyed the lives of 135 workers (and their families) for an above average rate. How much is enough, and at what cost? This Wall Street rape of the American worker can now be seen on HBO; it’s called “No Contract No Cookies.”
Two years ago in the month of September there were 102,134 foreclosures, that’s roughly one family homeless every thirty seconds (Goodman). All of the major lending institutions were found to be operating what was deemed “foreclosure mills” (Goodman). Many...

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