More and stronger unions

Intel Board of Directors

Intel Board of Directors (Photo credit: IntelFreePress)

More unions and stronger unions with more members will go a long way toward restoration of the middle class with good paying jobs here in the US. I support card check that will make forming unions and gaining representation easier. I also support the German model where publicly held corporations are required to have board members representing their unions. The percentage decided upon might be different, but I suggest one-third of the board represent labor, one-third shareholders and one-third management. Under the present law, the board of directors in theory represents share holders, but all too often, the board is controlled by management at the expense of both labor and shareholders. It is time for a change. Management is rewarding itself at the expense of the rest of us.

E pluribus unions

President Reagan with William French Smith mak...

President Reagan with William French Smith making a statement to the press regarding the air traffic controllers strike (PATCO) from the Rose Garden. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Unions have been losing members since Ronald Reagan broke the air traffic controllers strike. Now the GOP are going after unions of public employees including teachers. If you are wondering why all the gains in employee productivity have gone to owners and management and not to workers, it is because unions are no longer strong enough to demand a more equitable division of the fruits of increased worker productivity. The GOP response is that gains in productivity result from capital investments, but that is only partly true. There would be no gains in productivity at all without a trained and educated workforce.

Another reason why wages have been stagnant since 1980 is that business have caused laws to be changed reducing regulation and taxes, allowing business to relocate abroad, or to import goods from abroad where those goods are made without American labor, paying substandard wages and making workers live and work in unsafe conditions.

Only by uniting together in unions are workers strong enough to confront today’s giant corporations. Out of many, let there be a few strong unions that sit down at bargaining tables as equals to corporate persons. In today’s economy where the economic pie is growing slowly, a bigger piece for owners and management means a smaller piece for workers.

3 strikes

GOP Leaders

GOP Leaders (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

If you are a woman, you have one strike against you because of the GOP war on women.

If you are a union member, the GOP war on unions gives you strike 2.

If you work for the Postal Service, the GOP war on the USPS gives you strike 3.

If you are gay or lesbian, the GOP war on gays and lesbians gives you strike 4.

If you are here illegally,  the GOP war on the undocumented is strike 5.

If you vote Democratic or are likely to, the GOP war on voting rights is strike 6.

If you are poor and retired, the GOP war on Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid is strike 7.

If you are a student, the GOP war on low-cost student loans is strike 8.

If you are out of work, the GOP war on stimulating the economy to produce more jobs is strike 9.

If you are pregnant and need an abortion, the GOP war on Planned Parenthood and others is strike 10.

If you find yourself in one or two categories, life may be difficult; three or more and you are out of the game as far as the GOP are concerned about your welfare.

Unions?

A rally of the trade union UNISON in Oxford du...

A rally of the trade union UNISON in Oxford during a strike on March 28, 2006, with members carrying picket signs. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I am seeing some posts saying that unions were necessary in the past, but they aren’t necessary now. What has changed? In the past, unions gave workers bargaining power in the work place to ensure good treatment and a larger share in the fruits of their labor. Unions helped make workplaces safer and reduced the hours in the workweek. Unions helped millions attain middle-class status, and a healthy middle-class is essential to preserving our democracy.

What has changed that makes unions unnecessary? Is the middle-class expanding or shrinking? It is shrinking rapidly.

Is the workweek growing or shrinking? It is growing as Americans work longer hours at one or more jobs to try to make ends meet.

Is workplace safety and food and drug safety increasing or diminishing? They are diminishing as the GOP deregulates and cuts funding for the regulators still in business.

Do workers receive some of the results of increasing productivity? For the past 30 years, workers’ incomes have stagnated while the results of productivity gains have gone to the people at the top.

How fares our democracy? With the combination of Citizens United and a stubborn GOP, our democracy is fading away. We have not yet attained third world status with the stark division of rich and poor and elections that change nothing, but we are moving closer to that status.

Please see Article demonstrating need for unions

Divide and conquer

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early in his term, Scott Walker told a wealthy supporter that he intended to use a strategy of divide and conquer. That strategy will be widely used because realistically speaking, how else can the 1% win elections? Without divide and conquer, the 1% would lose all elections 99% to 1%. They must use divide and conquer to have a chance of winning.

After the recall election failed, the media interviewed an individual who supported Walker. He said that he thought that public service employees should share the sacrifice that private sector non-union employees were being asked to bear. Exactly 180 degrees the wrong viewpoint and the result of the divide and conquer strategy working. Without a union to protect them, private sector workers have lost ground faster than unionized public sector employees. Now public sector unionized employees are being coerced into giving up benefits that the private sector has already lost.

The proper strategy on the part of members of the 99% is to support each other. The 1% are not sharing in the sacrifice of this recession and thanks to the GOP, they never do share in the sacrifice. It is always the poorest among us who bear the most burden of sacrifice during recessions because they lack the political influence possessed by wealthier Americans.

It is time to put an end to the successful use of divide and conquer by the 1% and their agents like Scott Walker. United we the 99% will stand, divided we will fall.