For some reason it's easy for me to forget this, but my father-in-law, Baldemar Velasquez, is kind of a big shot. Take last week for instance. He's getting the keys to the city of Toledo. My wife and I didn't even go to the banquet. It's sometimes just too much. It's one thing after another with this guy. He's either receiving a MacArthur Fellowship or he's receiving an honorary doctorate. Here he is testifying before a House sub committee. Here's an article from him at the Huffington Post.
He's always in the news as well. I can't even keep up with all the stories. For instance here's a fun little thing for him. The Toledo Blade had various Toledoans singing "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" that was on the news. If it were me I'd think I was famous but it's standard for Baldemar. With regards to his work he's often getting a lot of press. Like a year and a half ago when he went and worked the tobacco fields in North Carolina. I link to just the one story, but there were many.
What he does is he is a farm labor organizer. He attempts to acquire better working conditions and pay for those workers that many of us forget about. These are the migrant workers. He knows a lot about them because he was one. After school as a kid he'd watch his friends run off to play while he and his brothers and sisters would head to the fields and pick row after row in the sweltering heat. It's really a life I can't identify with in all honesty, especially as I consider the life I'm providing for my own kids. But the fact is many people still do live that life today. Well, I guess that's obvious.
Now, I've long been liberterian leaning, which means I find myself sort of objecting to unions. But I'm starting to drift away from that. Not because I love unions and the frequent abuses that go along with them, but because I'm realizing that Adam Smith was right (see paragraph that begins "In the progress of the division of labor". Division of labor taken to it's extreme may improve GDP, but it will also destroy those that are on the lower rungs.
Just as an example, consider the following scenario. Suppose a certain action increases the total GDP by 1%. But that action means that the bottom 90% of wage earners see their real earnings decline. Suppose they experience greater proportional declines the poorer they are. And suppose the top 10% see their real wages increase dramatically. And suddenly vastly more members of the population now finds themselves on the brink of starvation while someone sitting on $50 million now finds themselves sitting on $100 million? Is the greater efficiency worth it? I think this is actually what is happening, sometimes on smaller scales, in various parts of the world. Perhaps unions introduce an inefficiency, but I'm coming to think that they are important in correcting some of the absurd imbalances.
If you think the same way and are looking for a good union to support, consider FLOC. Believe me, I understand that sometimes unions suffer from abuse. Sometimes people are overpayed, the president is getting kick backs, etc. Not in the case. Baldemar Velasquez may be a big shot, but he is also a man of extremely modest means. Likewise his staff definitely is not getting rich doing the work they do. Despite this they are finding themselves in the red and really need help doing their important work.
For me it's an easy decision. I think it is important to give charitably. I used to give a lot to church. Now that I don't do that I can give money to organizations that in my mind do more. And like church this one is tax deductible. So if you're like me and you know it's important to be charitable FLOC may work for you. Or if you still like to give to church but are looking for a way to diversify your giving instead of giving a big wad of cash for these flipping church building funds, here's an option.
Checks can be made to the Campaign for Migrant Worker Justice or CMWJ. Send to the following address:
Toledo, OH 43609