GOP Salivating, Eager to CRUSH Municipal Unions

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House Republicans Plan to Force California Into Bankruptcy to Bust Unions

http://calitics.com/diary/12949/house-republicans-plan-to-force-californ...

Reuters cites a Weekly Standard article that laid out the endgame - by changing the law to allow state bankruptcies, and then forcing states to go bankrupt by cutting their funding and undermining their ability to borrow, states would be able to reopen contracts with public employees. Not only could wages and benefits then be cut for current workers, but pension benefits for retired workers would also become fair game for cuts, as has happened with retired auto workers and others whose private sector pensions have been slashed after corporate bankruptcies.

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StopVotePirates
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Comments

I consider myself a progressive, but I have mixed feelings about unions. Unions exist to artificially suppress, ultimately through violence, the supply of labor. The oversupply of labor is created by, among other things, policies of high levels of immigration, and policies that prevent or make too expensive the exploitation of natural resources (including policies that allow anticompetitive behavior through withholding resources from development.) The existence of unions is evidence of oversupply of labor - treat the disease, not the symptom. And as for the government unions, all citizens are the owners of the capital, the courthouses, the jails, the fire engines and the police cars. There really cannot be exploitation of the labor - where is the profit? So there really shouldn't be any government union employees. On the other hand, we need to prevent corruption and churn. Ultimately the most effective solution may be to allow only periods of employment of fixed duration, say 20 years, do not hire anyone younger that 50, and impose extremely harsh prison sentences for corruption. And of course the government should just do fewer things not related to law enforcement and regulation. Too many government employees to administer welfare of all stripes. It would be much cheaper for all of us if we just agreed that a certain percentage of people will never be able to provide 100% for their own support, either through sloth or simply physically or mentally incapable. Just allow everyone a weekly stipend intended to provide for shelter and food. Whether you make 10k a year or 1,000k a year. Enough to survive in Tulsa, Houston, Little Rock - not San Francisco.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Unions blind to health price inflation--isn't it time they opened their eyes to this problem? Health spending is a big factor the SF budget, and it's gone up massively in the last decade, due to the swelling power of the hospital chains. The newspapers barely talk about this. So right wing gets to take advantage of the ignorance of the voters.

Somebody needs to get the facts out. Isn't that the unions' job?

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Coriander
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Oct. 8, 2010 8:32 pm

The early unions, born of the need to protect the physical health of workers performing mostly manual labor, were a boon to lower and middle class workers and their families. This stands in stark contrast to today's government unions, whose workers need no such protection.

Today's government employees who are unionized are easily among the most well-compensated in the country. Unlike private sector jobs, where performance of work tasks and achievement of goals influence pay, union-based jobs demand very little in terms of performance. Consequently, union-based government jobs bear little relation to the realities of private sector jobs.

Decades of idiotic promises by brown-nosing politicians of both parties have put taxpayers on the hook for money which, realistically, can't be paid without bankrupting cities, counties and states.

It's time to eliminate unions from the government work-force and require performance from government employees comparable to private sector job performance. Otherwise, the taxpayers, the citizens and the union employees will all find themselves in the same boat: financially destitute and S.O.L.

Lukester
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Dec. 8, 2010 11:45 am
Quote Lukester:

It's time to eliminate unions from the government work-force and require performance from government employees comparable to private sector job performance.

The problem with this is that the "boss" in government can change every two years, every four years, etc. And it doesn't matter how skilled, experienced, and industrious the employee may be, the new boss will want to replace her with someone loyal to him. We've gone through this in our history.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote chilidog:Unions exist to artificially suppress, ultimately through violence, the supply of labor.

I had to stop reading at this sentence. If this is what you believe about unions, you've been watching too much "Sopranos", and have no real understanding of the true history of labor unions. I recommend educating yourself so that those who know the facts will take you seriously.

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hgovernick
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Apr. 17, 2010 10:06 am
Quote lukester:This stands in stark contrast to today's government unions, whose workers need no such protection.

If they don't need it, it is because they have it. Because they have it, they are protected. If it were taken away, it would only be a matter of time before they would need to fight again for it.

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hgovernick
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Apr. 17, 2010 10:06 am

There are a LOT of working class people who have been convinced that unions in the public sector is bad and public sector employees get paid too much.

These people need to demand their own increase in wages and benefits and not call out for other working class people, who happen to work in the public sector, to have their wages and benefits dropped to their level.

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TimothyD11
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Nov. 13, 2010 2:46 pm

This is how the race to the bottom works. The group that has done a poor job of hanging onto the good stuff come to think that their situation is the norm - the way it's supposed to be. Instead of striving to improve their own situation, they obsess on their envy of those who have done better at holding onto the good stuff and seek to drag them down, too. Pathetic.

Art's picture
Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:

This is how the race to the bottom works. The group that has done a poor job of hanging onto the good stuff come to think that their situation is the norm - the way it's supposed to be. Instead of striving to improve their own situation, they obsess on their envy of those who have done better at holding onto the good stuff and seek to drag them down, too. Pathetic.

Better watch out Art. If you keep repeating that conservative dogma, mel might think your one of those undercover agents she is always on the lookout for. :o)

I understand that your intention was directed at non-union workers. It is just amusing that if I had used your post, word for word, in a thread about how conservatives view liberals, I would have been thrashed as a "I got mine, now screw you" proponent. I guess context is everything.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Hmm. You're probably right. Still, there's a funny irony there.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote hgovernick:
Quote chilidog:Unions exist to artificially suppress, ultimately through violence, the supply of labor.

I recommend educating yourself so that those who know the facts will take you seriously.

Educate me. Does everyone who shows up at the union hall get to work that day?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

If there are no jobs, then no. But the point about the anti-union crusade is that it is anti-worker, not just a desire to avoid organized worker representation. That could be avoided by meeting worker needs as wise management and good business. But management has chosen to look upon labor as an antagonist and overhead expense rather than an asset worthy of great maintenance and care.

The history of American unions is checkered, but most of the problems have come from the cynical attacks of the Right against "Marxism" and what became stigmatized as a violent threat to democracy. Fear and smear are not new, of course, but as anyone Left of Walter Reuther was purged, and he was forced to a narrow agenda, American unions became subservient to industry.

Taft/Hartley and a declining history of integrity in the Labor Department made American labor laws a joke. Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, and unions have taken it in the shorts since despite there being no basis in fact for the concessions. Bad management and financial games get paid for by worker cutbacks.

Like democracy, union governance is about human beings working together. It requires a level of participation, but not a wonk obsession. You have to be able to work with groups and deal with differences of opinion without throwing tantrums. You will encounter incompetence as well as people who were very good, but have slipped. But having solidarity against the bosses is the only way to make the latter see labor as important and worthy of their respect. Even grudgingly, this is better than being taken for granted and screwed.

I think a smart boss would like to have an organized bargaining unit he could make accountable for a negotiated agreement. Hearing from the workers about what they need would help the boss meet those needs and gain worker motivation and loyalty. With that relationship established, the boss can also share hard times problems and ask for the workers to help. Where saving the business means cutting wages, unions can help negotiate the deal; but they can also help insure that management is being honest and is sharing in the sacrifice. Unless they do, why would workers cooperate in a one-way sacrifice?

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I am in a union.

I earn a pretty good salary and benefits (60K in NY City suburbs)

My pay and benefits are IDENTICAL to those who do the exact same job as I do.

I LIKE that.

I believe it keeps the peace and removes the natural (and nasty) human tendency to sometimes try to look good by making a fellow worker look bad.

There are rules and there is a job to do - and if you don't perform you get written up.

But there is no ugly competition.

And there is a lot of harmony at my work place - people are very happy for the most part.

It may be possible that some unions somewhere demand too much from their employers.

But all in all I believe they are a necessary counterweight to employers doing the same thing - and then some.

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TimothyD11
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Nov. 13, 2010 2:46 pm

I find it fascinating that the hundreds of millions spent on anti union, anti pension, and anti fairness has picked up so much steam from he people being victimized. Those at the top 1% appreciate the concern voiced towards the last remnant of union workers in the US....while they are busy trying to hide their wealth which has quintupled at the same time real wages have stagnated or declined.

We always read about corrupt unions, evil unions, greedy unions......corrupt corporations, evil corporations, greedy corporations...not so much.

The vast number of union and government workers are simply making what everyone else should/would be making if everyone played fair. They don't.

Most union workers aren't being paid too much, everyone else is being paid to little....while being told how fortunate they are and how evil unions are. I am simply in awe of propaganda.

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote DRC:

If there are no jobs, then no.

Exactly right. There is more labor supplied than there is labor demanded. If 100 jobs are needed that day and there are 101 men in the union, not that big a problem. One different man every day doesn't work, everybody can survive. If 100 jobs are are needed and there are 300 men, that's a big problem.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Hasn't anyone noticed that the weaker unions become, the lower wages and benefits go for everyone?

The weaker unions become, the more beholden politicians are to the far right.

Unions came into being as a counter-weight to the class war of the wealthy. People have forgotten that. The myth is, class war doesn't exist in the U.S. so unions are no longer necessary.

“There’s class warfare, all right,” Mr. Buffett said, “but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/business/yourmoney/26every.html?_r=1

The $20 trillion globally given to financiers and banksters to make less than $80 billion in sub-prime mortgages whole is a part of it. The money to do that is coming from middle class pensions, education funding, lower living standards, etc..

It's bankrupting the people and governments of the western world. The fat cats still receive their billion dollar bonuses.. The country's wealthiest man, Buffett, gets that class warfare is alive and well even if the majority don't. Part of the strategy of the few is to divide and conquor. the enemy....the many.

Unions would be a counterweight to that if they hadn't forgotten their roots...if people hadn't forgotten their roots..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Unions had to fight and die to get the 40 hr work week, minimum wage, and weekends. If it weren't for them we would still have child labor in coal mines and get paid in scrip which can only be used at the corporate store.. so you become an indentured servant, unable to escape your job, living in a hovel of miners the rest of your life.

If unions go away and people don't push back, we'll go right back to getting paid in scrip to work 80 hour weeks, at 1/2 current minimum wage. That's what the mega corporations want, for us to go back to indentured servitude.

Then we'll have to fight and DIE to be free again. That's what the original unions had to do. What would make it different today?

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makuck
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Mar. 31, 2010 9:13 pm

The question really isn't are unions valuable. The question is, what to do about California's budget crisis. Right now, most people can't even come together on what causes the problem. On the crazy-right, they blame the unions. On the left, they claim that taxes are too low. But we've got a real problem with overspending. Here in the north of the state, we have a serious problem with consolidated medical power. We have a serious prison problem, and a very serious prison-health problem. We have a very wasteful school system. And more. Lots to talk about.

But the right in this state is so crazy that they dumped a governor for raising a tax on cars. If we can't debate how to bring down spending in an intelligent way, the crazy-right be able to pull big crowds over to the anti-union side, to push the state into bankruptcy, while still not taking on the hard issues of prisons and hospital inflation and more.

In other words, the less we explain about excess spending, they more they can scape-goat the unions.

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Coriander
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Oct. 8, 2010 8:32 pm

Probably Calif. should create a state-owned bank on the model of the state-owned Bank of N. Dakota. It could become self-financing and the bank would contribute to the State Treasury every year..

Repealing Prop. 13 would eliminate a lot of the shortfall. Throwing the burden of K-12 education onto state government bankrupted it over time.

Inflation increased education costs. State taxes didn't increase to cover it. No society can maintain essential services when it refuses to pay for it. There comes a point when the credit card gets maxed out.

Californians wanted lower local education taxes...they have the result... a bankrupt state..Their billion dollar surpluses and the goal of a Sovereign State Wealth Fund providing lower taxes forever were thrown away.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:This is how the race to the bottom works. The group that has done a poor job of hanging onto the good stuff come to think that their situation is the norm - the way it's supposed to be. Instead of striving to improve their own situation, they obsess on their envy of those who have done better at holding onto the good stuff and seek to drag them down, too. Pathetic.
Paleo-con pointed out the irony of me using the same language the conservatives use to criticize us underclassers for wanting to take away money from the uberclassers.

I've thought about that, and decided that there really is no irony. The principal is the same whether it as a class war between union and non-union workers or between underclassers and uberclassers. I would invite all non-union workers and union workers to join me in saying to the uberclassers, "You have too much money and I want some of it. You got your money because Government fixed market forces to work that way. I want to change market forces by changing Government".

The uberclassers want union and non-union workers to be at war. Don't be a part of that.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Coriander:Unions blind to health price inflation--isn't it time they opened their eyes to this problem? Health spending is a big factor the SF budget, and it's gone up massively in the last decade, due to the swelling power of the hospital chains. The newspapers barely talk about this. So right wing gets to take advantage of the ignorance of the voters.

Somebody needs to get the facts out. Isn't that the unions' job?

I'm in a union - and at the next meeting in which we are discussing our new contract negotiaitions I hope to bring up the point that for profit health care is killing EVERYONE and we should get on board with something like a Medicare buy-in if we are EVER to see a raise again...because rumor has it that our employer wants to give us NOTHING in our new contract AND want us to pay in towards our healthcare.

As long as health insurance goes up at it's present rate it will CONTINUE to eat up any cost of living raise we should expect to get.

And IF we could find a way to cut our employer's health care cost in half, MAYBE we would see some of that savings in our paychecks in the future. At least we could argue that.

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TimothyD11
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Nov. 13, 2010 2:46 pm

Chillidog, you totally miss the point about jobs. Structural unemployment is the policy of the Fed without the promised protection for the labor side of the economy. The unions did not cause the loss of jobs in America by being too expensive. The loss of jobs is a GOP, Supply Side, Global Free Trade creation, and many of us saw it coming from the start. It was always a fraud run by the wealthy in a propaganda blitz of patriotism and American Century denial of history. It was a ponzi scheme financed on national credit card debt from people calling themselves fiscal conservatives and advocates of small government.

The health care cost that burden America are imposed by privateers, not by workers. If we had Single Payer, there would be no issue.

Wages and benefits in countries like Germany come back into the economy and help maintain its stability and balance. Money extracted from our economy does not get reinvested by the rich. Low taxes do not create jobs or help build the infrastructure of prosperity and security. They just allow the few to exercise tyrannical power and to grab what others cannot defend. Smaller government means corrupt cops run by the crooks.

The idea that you are a 'progressive' on anything when you put forth this con line of crap does not add up.

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DRC
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote Art:

I've thought about that, and decided that there really is no irony. The principal is the same whether it as a class war between union and non-union workers or between underclassers and uberclassers. I would invite all non-union workers and union workers to join me in saying to the uberclassers, "You have too much money and I want some of it. You got your money because Government fixed market forces to work that way. I want to change market forces by changing Government".

The uberclassers want union and non-union workers to be at war. Don't be a part of that.

First off; a small digression. In the context of your post, "uberclass" has a bit of an unpleasant sting to it, making it very effective. I'll not make a habit of giving kudos to those on the wrong side of an issue, but in this case you were very clever.

Now back to the post... You gave the two choices of under and uber classes. My situation doesn't seem to fit in either place, so I guess I fall into the often ignored middle class. The Government didn’t fix anything so I would be guaranteed money. If the Government did do such fixing, why isn’t everyone uberclass.. Most of my battle scars are from fighting the Government. Do you feel as though we are seeing a battle of the haves (uberclass) against the have not’s (underclass) with the have some (middleclass) being the fodder?

Union wars also piqued my interest. As someone who runs a few businesses, I don't want a war between union and non union employees. I just want the union employees to go away and drag down some other business; hopefully a competitor. In that context, they can be very useful.

Paleo-con
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
In the context of your post, "uberclass" has a bit of an unpleasant sting to it, making it very effective
I suppose I can change that to "richer-than-anybody-elseclassers". Seems a little awkward.
My situation doesn't seem to fit in either place, so I guess I fall into the often ignored middle class.
Well, the Union worker is (or used to) fall in the middle class, too. The union worker is the most recent fodder-class and is in the process of being chewed up and swallowed. The line between middle class and the richer-than-anybody-else class seems to be moving upward to include a higher and higher proportion below that line. The small businessman is stuck in the middle. (It is for that reason that I posed the question in a different thread whether the $250k/yr cutoff might be a bit too low. I ultimately decided not). A case could be made that the remaining shrinking middle class (you) are to be the next to fall into the fodder class.
I just want the union employees to go away and drag down some other business; hopefully a competitor.
Well, that doesn't seem very fair, now does it? Besides, I don't think it's a good strategy. Unions don't seem to be dragging down UPS or Costco.
The Government didn’t fix anything so I would be guaranteed money.
If you were a richer-than-anybody-elseclasser, I would respond that the Government most certainly did. As a middle/future-fodderclasser, I would ask you to consider that Conservative tax policy has done little to help you. Perhaps you are fighting for the wrong side.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

[quote=DRC]

The idea that you are a 'progressive' on anything when you put forth this con line of crap does not add up.

[/quote

I can't see how anything I posted can be referred to as a "con line of crap" or even a "lib line of crap." What do you take issue with? Your post covers the Federal Reserve, tax policy, health care, smaller government... things I never brought up.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

DRC, I think that Chilidog may be in transition.

My opinion is that his accustomed point of view is from the rather narrow perspective of his own microcosm. This, of course, is all to the advantage of the richer-than-anybody-else class. I think he may be expanding his view to the bigger picture. Treat him gently.

To you, Chilidog, I would not advise that you put yourself in jeopardy in your immediate situation by turning against your employer. You still have to take care of yourself. The struggle is a philisophical one.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

??????

All other things being equal, when you increase the number of workers, or you decrease the supply of capital, the price of labor (wages) goes down.

There are choices we can make at the ballot box to increase the price of labor. We can vote for candidates who are advocates for stopping immigration of unskilled workers. Advocates for education about and funding for, family planning. Advocates for government scholarships for higher education for the types of higher skills we want the economy to have. Advocates for raising tariffs on goods manufactured in other markets.

Unions are not evil. It would be better if we did not put ourselves in the position to NEED unions.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
All other things being equal, when you increase the number of workers, or you decrease the supply of capital, the price of labor (wages) goes down.
That's simple supply and demand, but it's only the end of the story.

Government cuts taxes on the wealthy>wealth redistributes from the struggling class to the richer-than-anybody-else class, which goes into the stock market where nobody else gets to use it >demand in the market goes down >businesses lay off workers and offshore jobs to China >supply/demand ratio of workers goes up> former skilled workers have to compete with unskilled, uneducated Mexicans for the worst jobs. As you said, "treat the disease, not the symptom".

It's a big picture, and immigration and union vs. nonunion don't really have a place in it.

Unions exist to artificially suppress, ultimately through violence, the supply of labor.
That's wrong on several levels. So what if it's artificial? Everything humans do are artificial. How do Unions suppress the supply of labor? How is going on strike a violent action? Unions exist to level the playing field between employees and employers so that they can bargain from positions of comparable strength.

You cannot consider yourself to be a progressive so long as you serve a philosophy that promotes the weakening of the bargaining position of workers relative to that of employers.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Nothing I have posted advocates promoting the weakening of the bargaining position of workers relative to that of employers. Quite the contrary.

When employees go on strike, they form a picket line. As close to the capital as they are legally allowed. The purpose of the picket line is to intimidate other persons from entering the plant to perform work. People who cross the line are called by a special, unpleasant name: scabs. They have been known to have their cars vandalized, they are vulgarly insulted, and at times they get assaulted. At that time, or later. But it's violence, let's not pretend it isn't. And the owners set the precedent at Ludlow. Wouldn't we be in a better place if there were NOT 56 man-hours supplied to perform 8 man-hours of labor demanded?

"former skilled workers have to compete with unskilled, uneducated Mexicans for the worst jobs." "immigration and union vs. nonunion don't really have a place in it." Didn't you just contradict yourself?

Now I suppose I cannot call myself a true-believer progressive in that I really don't care about workers in other countries. Guilty as charged. I won the birthplace lottery and I don't want to compete with some guy in Pakistan or Ecuador who's just as smart as I am, with equivalent education, experience, and talent.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
When employees go on strike, they form a picket line. As close to the capital as they are legally allowed. The purpose of the picket line is to intimidate other persons from entering the plant to perform work. People who cross the line are called by a special, unpleasant name scabs
Yes, and I have no problem with that. By crossing that picket line, those scabs are conspiring with the employer to violate the contract that those union workers made with the employer. In my world, a contract is a contract. You make a deal, you abide by that deal.
They have been known to have their cars vandalized, they are vulgarly insulted, and at times they get assaulted. At that time, or later.
And strikers have been known to be beaten and even killed by thugs hired by the employer. Employment is a high-stakes game.
Wouldn't we be in a better place if there were NOT 56 man-hours supplied to perform 8 man-hours of labor demanded?
Not necessarily. My Conservative dad used to rail against the railroad firemen who slept in the caboose while receiving full pay. I reminded him that the union got that full-time position in return for something that it conceded to the employer. Besides, there is not a union contract that exists that does not include a procedure for down-sizing when made necessary by the business climate.
"former skilled workers have to compete with unskilled, uneducated Mexicans for the worst jobs." "immigration and union vs. nonunion don't really have a place in it." Didn't you just contradict yourself?
No I didn't. What I pointed out is that Mexican immigrants are not the reason that former skilled workers have to compete with unskilled, uneducated Mexicans for the worst jobs. That is a result of the deliberate manipulation of the economy to artificially raise the supply/demand curve for labor. Mexican immigrants did not cause that and there is no good reason that those former skilled workers should have to compete with them.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

"And strikers have been known to be beaten and even killed by thugs hired by the employer." You saw I mentioned Ludlow. So at least we're in agreement that violence is ultimately the response. And a further point: if we didn't have so many people, there wouldn't be people available to shoulder a rifle for the owners.

"My Conservative dad used to rail against the railroad firemen who slept in the caboose while receiving full pay." I think this is a poor example. Trained firemen may have to be available at all times, so they're actually "working." And your dad probably railed against the guys that sat around doing crossword puzzles because the assembly line was deactivated for a couple of weeks. And he was wrong about that, too. The union contracts provide for a certain amount of labor hours guaranteed, regardless of production. The owners agree to that contract understanding they will at times be paying someone to be idle. No quarrel there.

"skilled workers have to compete with unskilled, uneducated Mexicans" Skilled is a relative term. Workers that build 747's are highly skilled. Workers that build steel ingots are less skilled. But I don't understand your position on immigration. Are you advocating open borders?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

No, Chili. I don't have a position on immigration. I don't really care about the issue. I don't believe that the presence of immigrants in our country contribute significantly to our country's problems. I think it's a red herring, a straw man, a misdirection of attention designed to distract us from the real causes of our problems. To the extent that it's a problem, it is clear that nobody but Arizona wants to deal with it. It would be so simple. Even there, their actions are not really solutions. Just harassment and scapegoating.

(Good job on the Ludlow Massacre citation. I had to look it up and read up on it).

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

" I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half." Jay Gould. US financier & railroad thug (1836 - 1892)

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norske
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

perfect.

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Art
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

It's always a good time for learning.

I thought everyone knew about Ludlow. Is there a worse example of owner abuse of which I'm unaware?

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Chilidog wrote: "Now I suppose I cannot call myself a true-believer progressive in that I really don't care about workers in other countries. Guilty as charged. I won the birthplace lottery and I don't want to compete with some guy in Pakistan or Ecuador who's just as smart as I am, with equivalent education, experience, and talent"

poly replies:

Change the names of nations to races, and you have the same divide/conquer of labor we've had in this country since its inception.

It would probably be better to build a larger boat than throw half of humanity out of the life raft. You're quarrel isn't with Mexicans, Pakistanis or Haitians.

The gross world production is $10,500 per person. ($42,000 per family of four) Half live on less than $750 per year.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_economy

In the U.S. it's $47,000, or $188,000 per family of four.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)_per_capita

Reducing production domestically and globally because of mis-distributed purchasing power domestically and globally is probably rather stupid.

Dividing/conquering labor keeps most of the world impoverished. Globally, the actual wealth produced for every human being on this planet is $42,000 per family of four.

Your quarrel isn't with impoverished Mexicans, Pakistanis, Haitians or even Americans.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".

polycarp2
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

I'm in Los Angeles. I don't want to raise a family of four on $42,000 a year.

chilidog
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Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Probably the rest of the people living on less than that in LA also feel the artificial inflation of this phony economy. While I agree that families of four in LA could use more money than 42k, minus taxes, the answer is not to keep our poverty in our pockets. We need to get the money the wealthy are hoarding back into civil utility, and the reason labor and wages are low is that the leverage of the wealthy elite distorts society drastically. We need to change that relationship one way or the other.

DRC's picture
DRC
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

You and I are ultimately among the "wealthy hoarding money" relative to the rest of the world. Even the illegal alien washing cars and living with his wife and two kids in one room of a two-bedroom apartment that he shares with another similar family, is within that class. Now, I'm not a flag-waving up-with-all-things-America person, but I do agree that we (the world) should strive to "build a larger boat," and I believe that America is more capable of building that larger boat than is Latin America, or Africa, Japan, or even Europe. Predominantly because we already have the capital here (yes much of it derived from our taking from the indigenous Americans and our 19th, 20th, and 21st century colonization of most of the rest of the world;) but also our culture, however you wish to define it, the puritan work ethic, belief in self-government, freedom of speech, tolerance of outsiders, whatever. Maybe the Muslims, the Indians, the Chinese will prove in the end to have a "better" culture than ours (I doubt it, primarily because we've already demonstrated in our history the capability of absorbing outsiders, however painfully, and surplus land and food always helps - but those others haven't demonstrated likewise.)

So no, I don't think that larger boat will be built faster if America opens its borders to all unskilled, uneducated, superstitious persons who want to come here and pound nails for half the wage of American citizens.

I'm partly of Irish descent, from 19th century immigrants. It's irrelevant, personally, to me. I'm just going to go out on a limb and say, without any statistical evidence, that the quality of life for the vast majority of native-born Americans, was much worse in 1910 than it was in 1870, after 40 years of unbridled immigration from Ireland, Italy, and Eastern Europe. So the immigrant-bashers of that era were probably right. But the capitalists of the Gilded Age got to call the shots. As they get to do today. On the other hand, those capitalists might argue that the heavy oppression of the working class in that era provided the surplus capital necessary for Edison, Westinghouse, et al to research their inventions... Now I'm just rambling... Today new capital is not being created so much as existing capital is seeking greater returns by flowing to lower-cost environs...

chilidog
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm
Quote chilidog:

I'm in Los Angeles. I don't want to raise a family of four on $42,000 a year.

Many Americans raise a family on a lot less than that. The American wealth production is closer to $188,000 per each family of four. Globally, wealth production is $42,000 a year for each family of four. Probably 50,000 a day dying from a lack of food and medical care associated with malnutrition isn't necessary.

NY has a budget crises. Constitutionally, NY is required to balance its budget. Education, social services and medical care are on the chopping block. A tax of 2% on the $100 billion NY bankster bonuses would balance the state's budget. More austerity and increased poverty for those at the bottom is the preferred course...just as it is nationally.

Your argument isn't with impoverished Mexicans or Pakistanis.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

polycarp2
Joined:
Jul. 31, 2007 3:01 pm

Currently Chatting

The other way we're subsidizing Walmart...

Most of us know how taxpayers subsidize Walmart's low wages with billions of dollars in Medicaid, food stamps, and other financial assistance for workers. But, did you know that we're also subsidizing the retail giant by paying the cost of their environmental destruction.

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