"I think the aim of unions, in theory, is admirable. Especially given the working conditions that existed in America during the industrial revolution. But today they serve only to fatten the pockets of union leaders, raise prices, and destroy companies." — Henry Gómez, "Voyeuristic Thrill," Babalú, January 3, 2008
Henry is a wellspring of unpleasant surprises. Is he seriously in favor of dismantling unions? During the Industrial Revolution, the robber barons' private armies and sometimes the U.S. Army itself or the local police massacred striking workers at the owner's bidding. Then, Henry admits, unions were "admirable" at least in theory. Now, they are not even palatable to him in theory.
In the 1950s, Cuba's unions were the freest in the world and the most powerful. They secured Cuban workers paid maternity leave 50 years before that notion even entered the American lexicon. They obtained for Cubans a 35-hour work week for which they were entitled to 40 hours compensation; paid vacations and a Christmas bonus amounting to a month's pay, the famous aguinaldo, or 13th month.
Castro's first act was to destroy the independent labor unions and eliminate all the rights which they had secured for the Cuban worker.
Does Henry envision a future democratic (?) Cuba without labor unions? Does he want American companies to exploit workers in Cuba as they do in Asia and elsewhere in Latin America? Does the mere notion of Americans enslaving his parents' countrymen fill him with a "voyeuristic thrill?"
Oh, Henry! What a frightening piece of work you are.