Hi Bill, Janet:
First, I think a major part of the issue that organized labor seemed to ignore is outlined in this post and commentaries here:
And Janet, what you need to understand is that you're leaving out and excluding a lot of poor women when you talk only about reaching out to those fortunate enough to have PAID jobs in this economy.
It is also very patronizing to say "women need to understand"...when THIS woman understands that if it were not for the demonization of poor mothers through the gender division of labor which was used to justify job discrimination against women in non-traditional fields (i.e. construction, heavy equipment operator, pilot, etc.), and the assumption that childrearing or caretaking isn't "work", women might not be skeptical towards feminists and unions. I see how the devaluation of all lines of "women's work", especially motherhood, by feminists and organized labor as well as by the traditionally privileged class of middle/upper class white males, was used to hurt the most vulnerable and defenseless in our society and ultimately bring about welfare reform which undermined everyone's wages.
Calling parenting "work" would foster a lot more support for all workers, and for working moms and women in general. If we saw parenting as an actual job, we would garner more support in society. The reasons parenting should be considered important enough work to merit a paycheck, a health benefits and pension plan, and paid vacation are many as this work ensures that our society will continue after we are gone.
Caretakers take care of adult family members so they're fit for another day of paid labor in the corporate scheme of things. Caretakers raise the next generation of worker bees. Our children will fight in our wars, run our country, and keep up our infrastructure (roads, hospitals, personal care, etc). You cannot expect corporations or governments to support working moms with things like paid leave, sick leave, etc., unless they see parenting as a full time job.
Women's work has always been denigrated and raising children and home care has always been disrespected ,even by feminists (which is why I'm not a feminist). If we raised this work to the important place it deserves, we would see significant positive changes in ALL of our economic futures.
In America the unions got fat and lazy and uppity. I asked Hoffa's office in downtown Detroit for instructions in how to unionize my small factory of 8 men and 1 woman. I got told to come back when they could make some money off us. So now unionism lies suffocating in the ditches all across the land. Now I know I must include everybody in my planned union benefits. Everybody needs what the German Danish, French, and Swedish unions put in place for every citizen. Because excluding people like USA unions are doing just spirals down to oblivion, while including everybody in the benefits we earn builds strong families and nations. Again union benefits we earn are not ours to hog. We have to spread the benefits workers earn to everybody.
This is a lot of work when the media is paid to denounce and detract from the goal of family benefits for all. One good thing is millions of the young adults are afraid there will be no life for them, and I can build them up to go get European Benefits for us.