In 1944, I was employed by Western Union for 65 cents per hour, while union railroad telegraphers earned 86 cents to $1 per hour. I moved over to Great Northern Railroad.
When I started, Great Northern employees worked 12-hour days, seven days a week, but within a year our union negotiated a six-day week, with no wage loss. In a few years, we received a five-day week and cost-of-living increases.
Unions protected workers with fair wages and hours, and improved health and safety regulations.
Some people, accustomed to union benefits, believed that under right-to-work laws they would receive union benefits without paying union dues. However, right-to-work laws allowed employers to receive more profits, while wages sank to less than a living wage.
Often no consideration was given workers who provided the profits. One instance is miners; not much mining would be done without those who risk their lives in which management ignores unsafe conditions.
Henry Ford recognized that paying a living wage allowed workers to buy his cars. This helped Ford Motors thrive. His motto, “A Ford in every garage,” proved the maxim that all ships rise with rising water.