Monthly Archives: February 2011

THE STATE OF OUR UNIONS AND THE UNIONS OF OUR STATES


But while they prate of economic laws, men and women are starving. We must lay hold of the fact that economic laws are not made by nature. They are made by human beings.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Well the Republican Governors have seized an opportunity of a recession to bust the back of unions.  This poor economy is not due to Labor Unions who have given back under each and every contract so that they would not have to pay in full for health care,  while Corporate America has been given tax break after tax break since Pres. Ronald Reagan under the guise that it keeps them competitive.  Well, while they are being competitive off of our tax dollars, they are steadily sending our jobs overseas for SLAVE WAGES.   These tactics have allowed Corporate America to make in the third quarter of 2010, the biggest profit in the history of the United States.  How do we reward them for such wealth?  We give them more tax breaks while we ask the working class and the poor to give up some more of their earnings in salary and benefits at the same time we are calling the unions greedy and evil.  Is there no end to this extortion?  We must fight to bring back the middle class by restoring the tax laws that first created the middle-class, otherwise we will forever ride this merry-go-round of making the working class pay for the excesses of the rich.

The average CEO in the United States makes over 400 times as much as the average worker.  They are not working 400 times as hard as you and I.  And they are certainly not 400 times as smart as you and I, that’s impossible.  This means that for every CEO  a company pays that kind of salary to, that is 400 workers that they cannot hire unless they pay them poverty-level wages.  Yet we still have to give these corporations tax breaks so that they can do business in our states instead of for example India, which they are doing anyway.

Why Wisconsin?  Wisconsin is the birth of the Labor Movement.  The first union – the bricklayers was formed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1847 followed by the carpenters in 1848.  The shoemakers founded the Knights of St. Crispin in 1867 which became the first national trade union organization and grew to become the largest union in the nation.  Talks intensified across the nation in the 1880s and the Eight Hour League (formerly Milwaukee Labor Reform Association) was formed to agitate for the eight-hour work day that we now take for granted.  On May 5, 1886 demonstrators were attacked by troops called out by Gov. Jeremiah Rusk.  Five people were killed and four wounded as the troops open fired on the crowd of protesters.  We eventually achieved the 40 hour work week.  In 1911 Wisconsin then passed the Workman’s Compensation Law.  Labor unions continued to agitate and won unemployment compensation in 1932 and The Employment Relations Act in 1937 to support THE RIGHT OF WORKERS TO ORGANIZE and now Gov. Walker wants to take that right away.

What Gov. Walker is asking of the union members is to give up their right to have a representative of the union bargain for anything more than wages on their behalf.  No more bargaining for benefits, because he wants the public to believe that what they give in benefits to the workers is the reason that the states are running these huge deficits, which according to the  State CBO (Congressional Budget Office), Madison is not one of those whose deficit is so large that it demands a swift cut.  As a matter of fact, Madison’s General Fund  reported a surplus in 2010.  There is a $137 million dollar shortfall in Wisconsin.  It’s the $137 MILLION DOLLAR TAX CUT that was given to the corporations.

I think what we need to follow the money that backed the campaign of Gov. Scott Walker coming from Wall Street Hedge Fund managers and the Koch brothers of Koch Industries.  The Pension funds for public pensions are pre-funded, they are in good shape.  The politicians have dipped into the pension funds for their own use, such as New Jersey, borrowed from the Pension fund to give tax breaks to the wealthy and some states just failed to fund them like they were suppose to, so what did they do with that money?   You have a small few whose pension fund managers invested a portion of that money in Hedge Funds on Wall Street and was scammed.  If the pension funds are losing monies, it is not because of the public employee.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/atlantic/20110223/cm_atlantic/wisconsingovscottwalkersayshewasnttryingtotrickdemocrats7098_1

This is an all out assault campaign to bust unions because since the Citizens United case, the unions are the only competition to the corporate funded Republican Party.  Of the top ten contributors to the political parties, three of them are unions [#5 SEIU, #6 AFSCME and #9 NEA].  So if the Governor is successful in Wisconsin, then Ohio and Indiana are next, and UNIONS begin to fall like dominoes.  They have already reduced private unions.  Union membership has declined steadily from 13% in 2000 to less than 11.9% now.  6.9% is private unions and 36.2% of workers are public unions according to the U.S. Dept. Of Labor Statistics.  My hope is that we can now see that it has to be one for all and all for one.  We can never reach our greatest heights unless we heed this call for unity and solidarity.  If the corporate sponsored Governor Walker and his Tea Party activists can convince the public that the unions are taking up all of the states wealth and not the consistent billion dollar tax breaks that are given to corporate interests such as Koch Industries to continue to create more and more jobs overseas at the expense of the American Worker using American tax breaks and slave labor from China, Sri Lanka, Africa to make themselves richer and furthering the divide between rich and poor greater, then we have lost the war.  We must use the facts against them.  We cannot sustain this fight if the members of unions are uninformed, because they will begin to be convinced by the media coverage that the very union that protects them is the enemy.  They will be convinced that it is okay to create the deficits by constant tax breaks to the wealthy since Ronald Reagan.

http://www.opensecrets.org/orgs/index_stfed.php

In the last 10 years, the average salary for workers have declined by $2000.  The gap between rich and poor is at its greatest.  The Robber-Barons are winning.  We are in the 2nd Gilded Age.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110223/ts_yblog_thelookout/separate-but-unequal-charts-show-growing-rich-poor-gap

Now is the time to STAND AND FIGHT!  When they tell you it’s the Unions fault, DON’T BELIEVE THE HYPE!  Tell your mothers, Tell your daughters, your sons and neighbors.  Tell them your story and get them to stand with you and union because if they are part of your community, they are in the same boat as you.  GET AND SPREAD THE FACTS!  STAND TOGETHER AND BEAT THE REPUBLICAN AND CORPORATE UNION BUSTING ACT!


Penny McQuaig

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