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Friday, January 25, 2013

The Truth About Labor Unions

I have to admit that I have never worked for a union so I don’t know a whole lot about them but I know J. C. Brown’s recent letter in our home town newspaper is full of bias misinformation.

I would be willing to bet Mr. Brown or any person would not turn down a $ 25 an hour job with full benefits ,that was worked out between a company and a union, in a mutually agreed upon collective-bargaining  agreement. I also believe that if a contract was about to be terminated or completed redone on a partisan political basis, push back is to be expected. Whenever a large angry crowd is assembled to protest ,it does get violent but Wisconsin, and Michigan were rather mild in comparison to the old union scrabbles. The public unions won the fights in Ohio, Wisconsin and Michigan. I know in order to be a good right-wing Republican these days, you have to check off the boxes and being anti-union is one of them.

I’m going to be generous today and not challenge the statement about OSHA overseeing the worker conditions but is Mr. Brown saying regulations and the federal government is doing a good job?  I  also wonder whether their budget will be cut?

Mr. Brown thinks that decent wages and benefits leads to companies gouging customers. He also believes that exorbitant union wages drive up the price of consumer products out of the reach of poor people. For one thing when did the GOP care about the takers and number two;he's got that completely backwards. Stagnant low wages and high unemployment keep those unsold goods on the shelves.

Let’s talk about the public unions which were catered to by Republican and Democratic politicians in the past. California got hit hard by the 2008 financial crash, and that was not caused by the unions. States have to balance their budget, and I agree some state’s pensions were exorbitant but affordable when they were agreed to. Politicians did not want to lose the public employee union vote, so they never challenged the union contracts before the financial crisis hit them. I disagree that people are against unions because that was not the case when people overturned the efforts by the Ohio GOP to try to do what Wisconsin did.  You are way off on your numbers because of the 14.3 million union jobs, 35% of them are in the public sector, and 11.3% are in the private sector. Do you really want us to believe 14 million union jobs are the driving force behind consumer prices? Oh, by the way, I got my numbers form the 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics.

I’ve lived in Victoria all my life, and I've. always heard that the good wages and benefits paid by our local plants are due to the threat of a union. Even if that’s not true we can forever thank the unions for the working conditions we have, a forty-hour  workweek  and the eight-hour workday  which was established by Wisconsin unions. You might want to read about Caterpillar’s union busting methods and why a Fortune 500 company like them doesn’t pay their employees accordingly.

I noticed that in J.C. Brown's  Mitt Romney- like praise for corporations, he failed to mention outsourcing. No ,workers are not trying to rob a bank;they just want to do something about income inequality that’s plagued us for the past thirty years. Go to the back of the bus and shut up is no longer a viable option.You see, some of us have noticed the booming stock market and we can see where the Fortune 500 corporation have ~ $2 .5 trillion in reserve,so those 14 million greedy union workers aren’t hurting them a bit.

Let me end by saying that President Obama never said, “ if you’re successful in the world, somebody else did it for you.”What he said is that before patting ourselves on the back, we should be grateful for the others who helped us, like  a teacher, business mentor or this wonderful country, which was made great by the contributions of others.  You don’t have to gloat because if you’re really that great others will notice.


born2Bme said...

Isn't it odd (funny HAHA) that people who have no idea about what drives unions, can say they know everything about them?
If they don't think that unions are part of the reasons companies pay high wages in non-union jobs, they are deceiving themselves.
But, these people won't listen until they have to learn those lessons the hard way.
Companies don't give a rats behind about employees or their well being. Their only concern is their bottom line and the stockholders and that also means with the Union jobs.
When they get the chance to lower the pay and benefits, they will. They will also start taking away the 40-hr. week, paid vacations, company insurance, sick days, safety, etc. Actually, one of the local union employers let safety issues ride until they knew that OSHA was coming and then they put people on overtime to clean things up. It didn't matter how unsafe it was as long as they didn't get caught.
If they want to become like chinese companies that only allow for a 2 minute bathroom break, then more power to them. They will get what they ask for.
As to the OSHA comment. Job safety will not even matter anymore because there will be people lined up down the street to get those poverty-level paying jobs. When one gets hurt, just kicked then to the curb and get another one, and let the taxpayers pay to care for them.
Of course, companies will see their customer base totally dry up, but that won't matter. They'll just sell their goods somewhere else.
Don't these supposedly smart people understand that as the pay goes down, so does the taxes that people have to pay and that will make "them" have to pay more to support the conveniences they demand?
Ignorance knows no bounds.

Mike said...

The letter writer reminds me of VA poster a year or two ago suggesting that we all take a pay cut and roll the minimum wage back to $4.00 an hour. He never mentioned rolling back the prices, so who was supposed to buy the products?

Yesterday,Louisiana governor Booby Jindal said the GOP has to stop being the stupid party but then went on to say we need to cut federal workers by one half and do away with 25 % of federal buildings but I would like to see where he got those numbers and how CBO scored it. Does he really think we can run this country with 1/2 of 2.15 million federal workers?

I suspect his statement about OSHA the mining safety but it would take another blog to correct his assumptions...Does he really think mountain top removal with the coal smut running down to the rivers is controlled enough by the coal mining industry?...I remember a political ad where the coal mine owners (all GOP doners) said they would have to lay off their employees if Obama was elected...Obama was elected and I saw where the coal mines are hiring.