By Penny McQuaig
According to an article Thursday, April 15, 2010 in Fortune on CNN MONEY.COM, the companies in this years fortune 500 list have slashed cost so fast and so deeply – especially labor – that even in a feeble recovery, their earning soared. [see full article].
Well At&t has moved up from 8th to 7th with revenues of 123,018 million and Verizon has moved up from 17 to 13th place with revenues of 107,808 million and they have done so by slashing jobs.
What would they have to take from you for you to get angry enough to fight back? This class warfare has gone on for over 30 years now and unless we fight back, we might as well declare that the rich have won.
Corporate and political powers have connived to keep wages down while shredding workers safety net. Productivity has increased by 76% while wages increased by only 2%. Since 2000, wages have been stagnant or falling. We must fight for fair wages. We no longer share in the American dream. Union is what preserves the middle class, but the constant drive to bust union added to our complacency that we no longer have to fight, has driven union members numbers from 1 IN 3 (1954) TO 1 IN 8 (2007) with a steady decline. Union is good for the economy because we make an average of 27% more in wages than non-union doing the same job, so by spending extra, according to a survey done in 2007, union created 60,000 jobs in the los Angeles area.
The reality that people are living today is the American dream in reverse. The average wage(adjusted for inflation) is lower than in 1970. The minimum wage (adjusted for inflation) is lower than in 1950 and overall income and wealth for the middle class (adjusted for inflation) is lower than in the 1920s. The workers are not sharing in the wealth that we helped to create.
It used to be that when productivity increased, wages increased. Now almost all of the benefits from the rise of productivity is going to the top of the upper class. We have a great redistribution of wealth! You are working longer hours trying to keep up with living standards and still you are making less in terms of what you could buy in the 1970s. A couple with 2 children has to have 3 full-time minimum wage jobs to make ends meet.
And we are told often that we have to do this [sacrifice by working longer hours] to make our country more competitive in the global economy, but in fact we are less competitive. They are driving it into the ground because the people at the top are raping it like a cash cow!
We haven’t gone to the streets because 28 yrs ago on August 5, 1981 Pres. Ronald Regan fired the Air Traffic Controllers (PATCO), which gave the green light for union busting. We became so scared of losing our jobs and outsourcing that we now have jobs that instead of lifting people out of poverty, it sends people into poverty. You take a job and now are afraid that if you say anything you lose your job and benefits.
Did you know that Wal-Mart and McDonald’s are the biggest employers. The average wage for Wal-Mart is around $22,500.00 per year which is about $1,000.00 over the official poverty line for a family of four. The starting wage is based on what the minimum wage is. It’s a poverty wage. It is dragging down buying power to less than what it was forty years ago.
We are subsidizing Employers and stockholders. We are creating value for the shareholder, but the value is going to the top executives, shareholders and owners and the net revenues is not being shared. It’s at its highest level of pathological greed. [Goldman Sachs]. It is the Greatest spread of inequality fo any industrialized nation.
So much wealth concentrated in so few hands has consequences….Enron, WorldCom, mortgage crisis,etc.
We can change directions. We can fight to take the high road. We must fight for change or we perish!!