After years of acquiescence to the anti-worker policies imposed by Tobacco Control, two unions have filed unfair labor practice charges against an American corporation that enacted a harsh smoking ban. AWOL is an apt description for supposed civil liberties guardians, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, in the face of the greatest onslaught against the rights of Americans who are being persecuted by the government for lawfully enjoying a legal product. The labor unions have been no better as they sell their members down the river to curry favor with the "health" behemoth rather than forcefully opposing smoking bans, which are ruinous for workers in the hospitality industry, and anti-tobacco policies that criminalize workers in all lines of work. With depressing regularity too many unions sit on their hands while governments and corporations practice job discrimination against workers who smoke.
When Caterpillar Inc. of Peoria Illinois banned smoking anywhere on company property the United Auto Workers and the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers finally stepped up to the plate by sticking up for their members who were negatively effected by the outrageous policy. Pointing out that for 60 years Caterpillar employees have had smoking rights detailed in their contract, the unions claim that the absolute smoking ban, including areas outdoors, is an unfair labor practice. Such a change must first be agreed to through collective bargaining, say the unions.
The company apparently thinks that "health" concerns trump all. A corporate spokesman lamely intones that the company "is committed to creating and maintaining the safest and healthiest work environment," a laughable example of health-speak that is infecting all facets of the United States. How smoking a cigarette outdoors at a heavy equipment manufacturing plant can possible be unsafe or unhealthy for nonsmokers is an indication of the depth of absurdity to which Tobacco Control has brought the nation.
Even in the current climate of hate and hysteria the unions will be able to junk Caterpillar’s paternalistic smoking policy if they remain adamantly committed to the rights of their members. American unions have been on the decline for decades partially due to the transformation of union leadership from tough, street-smart organizers devoted to the welfare of working men and women into effete political operatives who embrace the prejudices of the governing class. It’s long overdue for working people everywhere and those purportedly working for their interests to recognize that the war against tobacco is a covert assault against the middle and working classes, waged solely for the benefit of rich pharmaceutical companies and those in their pay.
For comments on this issue from an air filtration specialist who works to dispel the myth of secondhand smoke and how it applies to the workplace click here (stored). He advises the labor unions to expand their challenge to the sweeping aspects of Caterpillar’s ban, by taking on the Illinois state smoking ban itself, since smoking ban laws “are not based on scientific air quality test results.”