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The War on Labor Unions is a War on All of Us

 
 
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 09:31 am
FEBRUARY 24, 2011 8:50PM
The War on Labor Unions is a War on All of Us
by Martin Hill, A former newspaper and magazine writer and editor, and now work a military operations analyst.

It is obvious now there is a full court press by Republicans across the country to destroy organized labor among public employees. To hear the GOP, these public servants – teachers, fire fighters, police officers, public works employees, criminal justice workers, etc. – are some sort of privileged elite. Make no mistake about it; this is nothing but a cynical attempt to destroy the one social community that can prevent the Republicans from fulfilling their dream of a one-party government. Am I exaggerating? No. Just look at history.

Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany through the manipulation of rich German industrialists. The first thing he did was to outlaw independent labor unions. He knew the only groups in Germany that could muster opposition to his plans to dominate the German government were the unions. In abolishing these unions, he portrayed them as puppets of the communists in the Soviet Union, and a danger to Germany. Ironically, the Soviet Union also abolished all real labor unions, replacing them with worker unions that were little more than fronts for the centralist government.

Today’s attacks against labor unions, as in Germany, are being financed by American – and, in some cases, foreign-owned – corporations who want to destroy the American middle class and return the country to what Mark Twain called the Gilded Age of Republicanism, the era of the late 1800s when the GOP virtually controlled this government. It was an era when workers in this country had no rights, the vast majority of Americans lived in poverty, and the small number of elite rich – the Robber Barons – did whatever they damn well pleased, including murdering their own workers. In this most recent attempt to destroy organized labor, the corporatists and their Republican shills are trying to pit non-union workers against unionized workers.

Non-union American workers, instead of being jealous of higher paid union workers, should support those who are today protesting the attacks on organized labor in Wisconsin and elsewhere. What benefits union workers, benefits everyone. And when unions disappear, oligarchies – or worse – reign.

Since Ronald Reagan became president in 1980 and began the right-wing’s war on labor, union membership in the private sector has virtually disappeared. What is left of union membership is primarily in public service jobs. Republicans portray these workers as over paid and having too many benefits.

It is true that union members are paid better than non-union workers. That’s the benefit of organized labor and bargaining. It is also true that the better union members are paid, the better everyone is paid. Union wages and benefits set the bar for wages and benefit for everyone else. From the 1930s to 1980, American wages increased nearly every year, reaching their peak in 1979 when overall union membership stood at about 35 percent of the workforce. This created the American middle class, and reduced the rate of poverty in the country.

In the 30 years since Reagan declared war on unions by firing striking air traffic controllers, U.S. union membership has drop about 68 percent. In the same period, American wages have declined some 30 percent – a direct response to the decline in union membership. During this same period of decline for U.S. workers, jobs also declined, shipped overseas as another means of killing off union membership. The middle class shrunk while the growth of poverty in the country has mushroomed, doubling in just the eight years George W. Bush was president.

At the same time the GOP is attacking workers, they are falling over themselves to cater to the wealthy elite of the country and the corporations they controlled. Thanks to the Republicans – and some Democrats – few corporations in this country today pay any taxes at all, and some receive tax rebates despite record profits. It is not a coincidence that the amount of the ginned up state budget deficit in Wisconsin nearly equals the $140 million Gov. Scott Walker gave out to local corporations in tax cuts.

Non-union American workers, instead of being jealous of higher paid union workers, should support those who are today protesting the attacks on organized labor in Wisconsin and elsewhere. What benefits union workers, benefits everyone. And when unions disappear, oligarchies – or worse – reign.

 
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 12:44 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
One of the main reasons the Republicans want to destroy labor unions is to weaken the Democrat parties ability to win elections. If they don't have the union money and people help during elections, the Democrats would be weakened in comparence of the vast amount of money and staff that is supplied by the corporations and the super wealthy to the Republicans.

The Democrats are the only protectors of the working classes. You can already see the results of the Republicans' damage to the well-being of families as ordered by the powerful business owners, whose goals are to make big profits with the lowest possible salary costs. They don't want to provide benefits, such as health care and retirement funding to their employes, yet they appose President Obama's medical health plan.

Henry Ford understand why this is stupid. He paid his car making workers paid enough that they could buy his cars. The Republican rich will soon find that the working classes cannot buy their products, as so many are unable to do today. They will soon realize that the working classes cannot afford to send their children to college and gain the skills the rich need to work for their businesses.

Wise up, Republicans!

BBB

Fido
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 01:01 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
What you say is true, so that any strong economy needs a strong domestic market... The best think for the working class would be for the unions to be destroyed... First, because union divide workers rather than uniting them; and, second; because they are seen by the idiots as anti individualistic, and that is the philosophy they are robbed by, and think much of even though it leaves them standing like all the other idiots in the soup line...
Unions were only allowed because even rich people prized labor peace, but with soviet communism broke, they no longer think they need the unions... With the unions out of business the only boogey man left for the idiots will be the rich, and people will look to government for relief from exploitation, but they will not get it...

Our constitution was formed in part to achieve everything any union was formed to gain... The government is jealous of its tasks, even when it is not taking care to do them... It wants to deny the power to the union to be effective, and it should because the unions, like the corporations cannot prove a pure public purpose... Even when they unite their workers they divide the whole working class... We will be that much closer to uniting the whole working class when the unions are crushed...Race is another impediment to unity, as is sex; but there is little the people can do about that... As the Romans used to say: Divide et Impera... If we can find no line upon which to unite we are doomed to slavery and eventual defeat...

The democrats are no defense for the working class.. They kept the necks of the red necks red for years until the republicans got the job... Each party has its hot button issue which they use voters with, and never give their people any victory... Labor justice is one of those things democrats promise and never give, and the republicans promise an end to abortion, but if they did end it they would lose much of the support they have now...Only by losing on their issue can they win their elections year after year...
0 Replies
 
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 01:42 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

One of the main reasons the Republicans want to destroy labor unions is to weaken the Democrat parties ability to win elections. If they don't have the union money and people help during elections, the Democrats would be weakened in comparence of the vast amount of money and staff that is supplied by the corporations and the super wealthy to the Republicans.
I suppose there's some truth in that. By the same argument I could assert that one of the main reasons Democrats want to destroy businesses an to deprive Republicans of all the money they contribute. Alternatively, and more likely, they can regulate them to death and thereby use that regulatory power to get businesses to contribute to the Democrats, just to ward off further harm at the hands of stupid and greedy bureaucrats & politicians. That is precisely why Wall Street firms contribute far more to Democrats than Republicans.

BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

The Democrats are the only protectors of the working classes. You can already see the results of the Republicans' damage to the well-being of families as ordered by the powerful business owners, whose goals are to make big profits with the lowest possible salary costs. They don't want to provide benefits, such as health care and retirement funding to their employes, yet they appose President Obama's medical health plan.
Most employers long ago opted to provide health care to their employees even without unions. Obamacare is inducing many employers to abandon the practice just to escape the endless, and often mindless regulations flowing out of Wasshington. The U.S. industries most infested with the union plague have all died and gone overseas. This isn't much of a record of "protection". Intelligent parasites don't kill their hosts: unions are stupid and primitive parasites.

BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

Henry Ford understand why this is stupid. He paid his car making workers paid enough that they could buy his cars. The Republican rich will soon find that the working classes cannot buy their products, as so many are unable to do today. They will soon realize that the working classes cannot afford to send their children to college and gain the skills the rich need to work for their businesses.
Henry Ford established the then higher wages to which you referred on his own, without the "help" of a union. He was a was a bitter opponent of the UAW.

BBB merely recites the standard union talking points without bothering to note their many inconsistencies and self contradictions.

However, one must recognize that as an enterprise, labor unions are a great racket. The government (in non right-to-work states) enforces a monopoly for them on employment and even relieves them of the need to invoice their members or collect their revenues as real businesses do. Instead it is dutifully deposited electronically in the Union account every payday in a prededuction from employee wages by the employer. (Without this the workers would likely soon quit paying them.). If Obama gets his way they will soon do away with all those nasty and disagreeable secret ballots for union organizing. Instead the union organizers will simply fill out preference cards for the workers (i.e., dupes) for them - clearly a much fairer and more efficient system. The Mafia never had it this good in their protection rackets.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 02:06 pm
@georgeob1,
You must be one of the very rich who make up the 1% or you wouldent buy into this bull shyte. Even you couldent be that stupid if you belong to the 99%.
Irishk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 02:55 pm
Public sector unions probably are going down the same path to extinction that the private sector unions did decades ago, but if so, it's a nonpartisan effort as shown by this map from the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Quote:
From 2009 through 2011, 43 states enacted major changes in state retirement plans for broad categories of public employees and teachers to address long-term funding issues. Their changes were designed to reduce pension fund obligations by increasing employee contributions or age and service requirements for retirement, or both, and adjusting benefit provisions in various other ways that reduce costs. Such legislation was rare before 2005, but became national in scope from 2009 on. Ten states made such changes in 2009; 21 did so in 2010 and 32 did so in 2011. Several states acted more than once, for a total of 43 states over the three years.


http://www.ncsl.org/Portals/1/ImageLibrary/WebImages/employment/pensionleg_2009-11.gif


0 Replies
 
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:44 pm
@RABEL222,
I'm in the 99% and I don't buy all this union BS. In fact screw the 99%, its the +50% of the people who are doing ok. The unions have been losing ground because most people realized they didn't need a union. As a worker in the IT field what would a union do for me? I already make decent money, I have full health insurance, I get vacation time and sick time. I work between 40-50 hrs a week and I have weekends off. What else could they do for me?
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:46 pm
@Baldimo,
Baldimo wrote:

I'm in the 99% and I don't buy all this union BS. In fact screw the 99%, its the +50% of the people who are doing ok. The unions have been losing ground because most people realized they didn't need a union. As a worker in the IT field what would a union do for me?


Oh, probably keep you from having to deal with the terrible working conditions that run rampant through the IT industry. But, there's no union, so it's 'work 75 hours a week or give your job up to a kid who will.'

Quote:
I already make decent money, I have full health insurance, I get vacation time and sick time. I work between 40-50 hrs a week and I have weekends off. What else could they do for me?


You know how rare your situation is, amongst programmers?

Cycloptichorn
Baldimo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 05:58 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
I'm not a programmer, I'm tech support. I fix what they can't program properly.

Quote:
Oh, probably keep you from having to deal with the terrible working conditions that run rampant through the IT industry. But, there's no union, so it's 'work 75 hours a week or give your job up to a kid who will.'


My hrs don't get that bad, but they can. Its part of the job. Sometimes things have to be updated and it can't be done during business hrs. Who does that leave? The geeks of IT, the unsung hero's of every company. You are kind of proving my point though. How many jobs out there could be unionized? Would they really call for unions?

Quote:
You know how rare your situation is, amongst programmers?


As stated above I'm not a programmer. Those monkeys get to pound keys all day, I get to talk to the walking ID10t error who is the IT guy for your company.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 06:02 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
And yet it remains a fact that Labor Union organizing efforts in the private sector have been failing at an increasing rate steadily for the past three decades.

Only in the government (federal and state) where friendly politicians could administratively organize their bureaucrats & staff without any votes among the affected workers, have union organizing efforts been successful.

State & local governments across the nation are coming to grips with the growing financial crisis created by the collusion of government employee unions and legislators in their pay. Together they have created pay and benefit programs that are literally insustainable under any financial perspective, and labor contracts that prevent any accountability for the quality of work or output.

Where workers are given a choice in the matter, unions usually fail. In right to work states where employees retain the individual choice about union membership, unions are exceedingly rare. Where they are established and given legal monopoly control on employment, unions succeed for a time. However, they almost always end up destroying the economic competitiveness of the industries they infest, thereby destroying the very jobs they claim to protect.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 06:51 pm
@georgeob1,
So you claim that working conditions got better through the largess of big business. Unions had nothing to do with the 40 hr week, living wages, insurance, and safety and health issues? Big business has done a wonderful job of brainwashing idiots like you. Hell, Stalin couldent have done a better job of it. And they say U.S. schools are not doing a good job of educating our children. They are teaching them to do as their told just as Nazi Germany and Stalins Russia did.
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Mon 2 Apr, 2012 07:51 pm
@RABEL222,
RABEL222 wrote:

So you claim that working conditions got better through the largess of big business. Unions had nothing to do with the 40 hr week, living wages, insurance, and safety and health issues? Big business has done a wonderful job of brainwashing idiots like you. Hell, Stalin couldent have done a better job of it. And they say U.S. schools are not doing a good job of educating our children. They are teaching them to do as their told just as Nazi Germany and Stalins Russia did.


I made no such claims. Apparently you find it easier to flail about against imaginary assaults than to deal with the real ones before you. Unions had a useful role eighty years ago: they don't now.
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:23 am
@georgeob1,
Don't be retarded... No one wants to destroy business, but the consideration of corporations as virtual people having the rights of people is a taking of rights from real people, and giving them the power, and a really unlimited power to influence government when by natural inclination the government is already in favor of the rich because they are rich, is simply stupid... Corporations are not people, not a single person, and not any number of people... If they are immortal they are also not alive, do not suffer fear, or hunger, or lonliness, or want... It is as impossible for a people to not be patriotic as it is for a corporation to be patriotic... Their money and their business goes where the greatest profit may be had, and yes, they will break labor contracts, and they will whip saw workers against workers and regions against regions without the least regret about the hardship they cause, or the enviromental impact of building new, abandoning old; or of uprooting those workers who dare to chase their jobs to new locations... I would willingly see all the employing class dead tomorrow except for the knowledge that the day after a whole new set of people willing to live by the exploitation of their fellow citizens would arise... It is that willingness to live off the sweat of another's brow, and that williness evident from days of slavery to pit free many against slave laborer to lower the price of labor and deny to all people their rights that should be condemned... Corporations are not legitimate people, and until they can bleed in defense of this nation they never will be... Those who pretend to morality and patriotic love of country to control government and rule over the people should be tried and executed... Corporations should not be allowed in any form... Churches are corporations, and so are labor unions... People should be allowed to combine, and even to profit from their activities so long as those activities do not injure the commonwealth or its citizens... Each corporation should have a life span of no more than thirty years, and then should be broken up with debts to state and citizens settled...No corporation should exist without a pure public purpose, or a willingness to keep open books... No corporation should be allowed to combine against the people for the benefit of a few against the loss for the many... We have one union in the United States or America, and that union should govern all activity by all organizations if it will not be governed by a handful of self serving short sighted idiots not having any interest in mind but their own inrichment by the loss of the people...To do otherwise than I suggest, and to keep on with the way we are running our affairs is to make our ruin as a nation complete, and our slavery final... It is time to break and destroy the power of the rich in this society...
0 Replies
 
Fido
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 07:29 am
@georgeob1,
The labor unions are failing because every effective method unions have found to gain justice have been disallowed by the Supreme Court as an infringement of property rights... There is no such thing as property rights... The privilages of property are an infringement on civil rights, and come out of our rights as human beings... That people should live in want, in real poverty, in practical slavery without hope or opportunity, with little ability to influence government and without many of the essentials of happiness or even of life is a crime against humanity... We allow this great crime on principal because we believe some good comes out of private ownership of the commonwealth... Only a worse evil comes out of privatizing the commonwealth, and the government that should be our champion, and our labor union is a union of the rich against the poor...It is the same as the hope that virtue will grow out of vice, and the worst vice is greed, and we expect to allow this plunder of this people and for this people to yet remain virtuous... It is nonsense on stupidity, but it is also our guiding principal... It is running us to death... It does not work, and we are feeding business the life of this nation...
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 08:13 am
@Fido,
Perhaps you should move to the socialist paradise in Cuba. There the single system (or union, if you insist) that regulates the lives of all the Cuban people; prevents the accumulation of property by anyone (except those in charge); and diustributes the common goods fairly uniformly to everyone more or less equally.

The problem is that no one produces very much, so there isn't much to go around, and those who object are dealt with harshly.
RABEL222
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 11:33 am
@georgeob1,
What was that comment to me about flailing about? You still believe that big business is going to help out the 99% out of the goodness of their hearts. I repeat, your an idiot. Or a big business shill. Same thing.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 03:12 pm
@georgeob1,
georgeob1 wrote:
Where workers are given a choice in the matter, unions usually fail. In right to work states where employees retain the individual choice about union membership, unions are exceedingly rare.

That's not a function of how popular unions are, that's a function of how popular free-riding is. Given a choice between paying for something and getting it for free, most people choose the latter.
georgeob1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 03:46 pm
@joefromchicago,
joefromchicago wrote:

georgeob1 wrote:
Where workers are given a choice in the matter, unions usually fail. In right to work states where employees retain the individual choice about union membership, unions are exceedingly rare.

That's not a function of how popular unions are, that's a function of how popular free-riding is. Given a choice between paying for something and getting it for free, most people choose the latter.


Possibly. Neither of us can possibly know the inner motives of these folks. All we know is what they choose to do or not do. There are very few unionized companies in right to work states. As a result there is obviously very little possibility for "free riding" at all. In these states it is the initial union organizing efforts themselves that fail.

Unions thrive only whare they can get a government enforced monopoly on employment and legally sanctioned forced prepayment of dues. Take away either one and the unions quickly die.

Considering all these factors and particularly the prevailing and widespread trend of employee votes agains unions in ballots held pursuant to union organizing efforts in the private sector, it seems far more likely that the predominant motive is opposition to the unions themselves. In view of all that, I would be interested to know what it is that gives you such certainty.

Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 03:48 pm
@georgeob1,
To what percentage effect do you ascribe employer intimidation, in terms of votes against unionization? I never once see you admit that this is a part of the equation - but there is zero doubt, on anyone's part, that it exists.

My guess is that answering such questions are difficult for you to do while maintaining your current narrative.

Cycloptichorn
georgeob1
 
  0  
Reply Tue 3 Apr, 2012 04:04 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:

To what percentage effect do you ascribe employer intimidation, in terms of votes against unionization? I never once see you admit that this is a part of the equation - but there is zero doubt, on anyone's part, that it exists.

My guess is that answering such questions are difficult for you to do while maintaining your current narrative.

Cycloptichorn


What nonsense! Just who here is pursuing a "narrative" ?

The preferred union remedy for this presumed "employer intimidation" is found in their proposals to severely restrict the employer's right to secret ballots of the work force. Instead they favor a "card" system in which union organizers canvass employees and collect signatures on a card or survey form face-to-face. Union organizers and their thug accomplises do intimidation for a living. I've seen this stuff first hand, and suspect you have little or no experience of the reality.
 

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