Saturday, December 24, 2016

Organized Labor (Unions): Always a Prime Target for the GOP to Bash and Abolish

Union Goals for All Workers 
(Union Members and Others)

GOP Goals for Unions and Union Workers

This headlines from The AP is pretty startling:

Republicans to target unions, expand school choice in states

The whole AP story is here. My notes follow and focus on this precise aspect this story (with my emphasis in red).

President-elect Donald Trump and VP-elect Mike Pence hate Unions, the GOP hates Unions, GOP Governors and GOP Legislatures hate Unions... soon they will have total control of the Federal government and 1/2 of the states, so it's safe to recall these wise words as GOP mission plans get set in cement:

“The race to expand right-to-work laws is just one of several ways that Republicans, who strengthened their grip on power in the November elections, are preparing to reshape state laws affecting workplaces, classrooms, courtrooms and more during 2017.”

“As President-elect Donald Trump leads an attempted makeover in Washington, Republican governors and state lawmakers will be simultaneously pushing an aggressive agenda that limits abortion, lawsuits and unions, cuts business taxes and regulations, and expands gun rights and school choice.”
NOTEWORTHY: Republicans will hold 33 governors' offices, have majorities in 33 legislatures and control both the governor's office and legislature in 25 states — their most since 1952. Democrats will control both the governor's office and legislature in only about a half-dozen states; the rest will have politically divided governments.”
A quick review about their projected and expected attacks on Unions and union workers all across the country which has been a long time goal of the GOP in general like their hatred of Social Security and Medicare since 1935 and 1965 respectively and quite frankly most other public assistance – it’s almost as if they believe that no Republicans are poor, in need of help (SNAP and ACA (Obamacare), etc., that only Union families or DEMS need that, what is it they say, oh, yeah: “Free stuff.”).
Let's be clear: Our major economic problems and fiscal woes are NOT and have NOT been caused by Union membership, or by participation in Unions or Union activities.

Just as clear: Working people aren't optimistic about their futures. They feel trapped and isolated in an economic system that benefits the wealthy and well-connected, while offering few avenues to a better life for the rest of us.

While there are many causes of our economic decline – deregulation of Wall Street, sinking consumer confidence and the corporate outsourcing of manufacturing jobs, to name a few – one key factor has been the decline of labor unions in California and the United States. Unions once represented more than a third of all private sector workers. That number has dipped to about 7 percent today. The loss of any decent and fair bargaining power by workers has created a dangerous shift in the balance of power away from the middle class to the wealthy and corporate elite.

Another historical fact: Strong unions have played a pivotal role both our nation’s history in helping secure legislated labor protections and rights such as (1) health and safety on the job, (2) decent overtime pay, (3) family medical leave, and (4) enforcement of those rights on the job actually for everyone, not just Union workers – a fact that gets overlooked in the wild misdirected debate.

Unions are an intermediary institution that provides a necessary complement to legislated benefits and protections – and this scares the hell out of the GOP (except I surmise  those who are Union members who are gainfully employed with good income and job security and, heck, just happen to Republicans, too).

Finally, and also another historical fact is the record of benefits achieved by Union hard work for everyone:

• Unions have worked hard to raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.
• Unions have worked hard to reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.
• Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers can follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.
• The impact of strong unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages.
• Unionized workers and fringe benefits: Unionized workers vs. non-unionized receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.
• Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than non-unionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by their employer.
• Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.
• Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).

So, why does the GOP constantly degrade, belittle, and try to do away with Unions and Union Worker rights and more so, protection and job security for all workers, Union members and other alike?

For example job safety is a right for all workers … not just Union members on the job, don’t you think.

Finally, Unions and Union workers have been the backbone of the growth or our country and especially the middle class – you know the class the GOP harps about all the time while seeking their votes, but offering little in return.

In the past few decades we have seen management run off-shore for cheap labor, poor working conditions, few if any benefits, and hardly any job security as their bottom line (profits) soar. Yet they work hard to totally eliminate Unions as if Unions were their business competitor – which they are not.

I like this quick and handy guide:

1.  Unions in a fundamental sense give workers a voice.
2.  Without the ability to organize, workers are isolated and subject to the whims of their masters — the bosses, the managers, the CEO’s.
3.  Unions help workers to fight for decent wages, safe working conditions, and fair hours. They help workers fight for the benefits they need and deserve.
All of the above is why today’s so-called “conservative” politicians, for the most part, despise unions, and wish, much like Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and Gov. Chris Christie (R-NY) (two former 2016 presidential candidates) want: To simply do away with them entirely.
The disdain Republicans show for labor unions is one of the most telling signs of their utter subservience to corporate interests.
GOPers want corporations to have complete control over the work force.
They want them to have the ability to exploit workers for more hours, while paying them less and granting them fewer benefits, allowing executives to reap the gains of increased productivity without paying the costs.
And, all, naturally in the name of “Achieving the American Dream.”
So, where is the logic in that? Hint: Nowhere… 

As always, stay tuned – the worst is yet to befall us. Happy Year to all for now.

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