Right-to-work-for-LESS is about MORE than unions!

Last week, the thirty-year war on unions scored another victory, and Wisconsin became the 25th right-to-work-for-LESS state in our country. In addition to being bad news for unions in one more state, that new law has broad social and political implications as well.

Thanks to Governor Scott Walker, half of our nation has enacted laws that make it harder for workers to stand up to corporate power, and harder for families to bring home a living wage. And, if Republicans have their way, there will be even more right-to-work-for-LESS states in the very near future.

Anti-union legislation is currently being considered in Missouri, Indiana, and Nevada, and Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner unilaterally dealt a blow to public unions in his state. And, don't forget about the anti-worker laws that took effect in Michigan, Ohio, and other states over the past few years.

Three decades of Reaganomics have paved the way for this new era of anti-union policies, and We, The People will be left dealing with the political, economic, and social effects.

Over the last century, labor unions gave us the power to take on the corporate elite and implement landmark legislation on everything from child labor laws to voting rights. By standing together, workers were able to demand fair wages and safe working conditions, and they were able to help people they believed in get elected.

But, about three decades ago, Republican lawmakers decided to stand with corporations instead of people, and they began dismantling nearly 100 years of progress. That attack on labor translated into stagnant wages, the loss of voting rights, and the rise of corporate power. And, if we don't fight back, it could be another 100 years before we return to progress.

These lawmakers have proven that they won't listen, and that they don't care what the American people think. It's time to form new unions, even in Right-to-work-for-LESS states, and to use the power of the people to take back our country from the corporate elite once and for all.

Comments

chicagotim's picture
chicagotim 7 years 38 weeks ago
#1

So in your analysis, what exactly happened to the union movement and why has it become largely irrelevant in the private sector? I'll give you a few choices: dues for little to no representation, corruption and mob influences at the national level, intransigent leaders who destroyed companies and jobs (see International Harvester)... I'm sure there are more.

If actual workers wanted unions they'd still be around. They became really no better than the corporate overlords and yet wanted a good share of everyone's paycheck...

John Pranke's picture
John Pranke 7 years 38 weeks ago
#2

Next up is billionaire Gov. Rauner trying to make Illinois right to work for less. We'll see if there are enough real Dems. in the State Legislature to keep him at bay. As a 30 year plus carpenter I can tell you unions carpenters make 30% to 50% more than non union not to mention benefits and pension.

gregcreal's picture
gregcreal 7 years 38 weeks ago
#3

The anti-Union forces spend billions of dollars every year on Union busting law firms. Fewer dues paying members means less money to pay for representation. And of course there has been corruption in Unions. Just like in any corporate environment. The difference is Unions are a democracy. We can vote the bums out. Can the average working person do that at a corporation? In the recent depression, many Union members worked with their employers to cut cost's and improve productivity. It is a fact that when workers have a voice, business succeeds. Just ask Volkswagen.

We need to start changing our majority, exclusive representation Unions to minority, members only Unions. It is the duty of fair representation for non-paying members that is bankrupting Unions. Let the folks who value collective negotiation pay for that right, and let the rest of the employees fend for themselves. Right to work is nothing more than right to freeload.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 38 weeks ago
#4

chicagotim -- If you really wanted to test your theory, just pass card check. The "billionaires" are scared to death of unions. That is probably why there is a $3 billion dollar industry that forces workers to meetings to hear the ideas you spout. It is also why the sycophants of the "billionaires" (AKA republicans) filibustered the employee free choice act.

Willie W's picture
Willie W 7 years 38 weeks ago
#5

Unions are in the people business. They exist not only to represent workers, but to make a living for themselves. They challenge companies to do better by their workers and don't need big government butting in and taking sides. It's none of their business. It should be free enterprise for all.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 7 years 38 weeks ago
#6

Reply to #1..What happened to the Union movement? ......I'll tell you what...Ronald Reagan and free trade agreements. My answer to the anti-union push by the Fascists would be to tell corp "merica" to go f itself and we the people form massive cooperatives....giant green energy companies, electric cars, wind turbines, solar, you name it. Greedy god damn CEO's need not apply!

and what about HR 1409?????... The Employee Free Choice Act!

cccccttttt 7 years 38 weeks ago
#7

When worker interests are pitted against the interests of owners,

there is a structural tension.

An equitable balance is difficult to maintain.

Mr. Gregcreal has stated well the case when workers abused the

the rights of owners.

But today the worker stands naked against corporate power.

Suggest its time to modernize the "worker owned co-op"

While not without problems, they offer a number of benefits:

---a history of over 100 years with many properous operations around the world

---worker motivation is generally high.

---almost no theft

---ideas tend to come from the bottem up

---no featherbedding I.e. blocking the use of new more productive tech

---when business cycle is low, worker hours are reduced. This keeps

a trained workforce ready for the business cycle upswing.

Obviously if they were so great, we would see more of them.

But correcting their downside features looks a better path than

following the old warn trails of labor versus management.

ct

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 38 weeks ago
#8

Chuckle8, 10K, thanks for answering chicagotim’s anti-union BS so I don’t have to.

Anyone who is anti-union is against democracy in the workplace. Simple as that.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 38 weeks ago
#9

Willie W, the "Free Market" is a fantasy. Government decides the rules and business and labor act in the rules made by government even without further "intervention". There is no reason the rules shouldn't be modified to make things more fair and serving of the greater good. Without government protection the employers have too much unbalanced power and workers are brushed away like so many insects.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 38 weeks ago
#10

ChicagoTim, you can't seriously be asking that. You really think that workers don't want membership of unions and that that's why so few are members? You either fell off a turnip truck yesterday or are shillin' like a villain and are just playing dumb.
Taking your professed utter lack of worldly knowledge at face value, here is the report of a study made in the early 2000s - when I was doing some labor organizing. It describes how the process of organizing is legally stacked in favor of union busting employers. http://web.wm.edu/so/tlsc/orgmaterials/Busting.pdf
Survey research shows consistently that a large majority of blue collar workers would much prefer to belong to unions but in more than a third of workplace organizing campaigns participants in the campaign are illegally fired and often with complete impunity because legal protections of this activity are so weak.
Tim, tell me something. Walmart is the largest employer in the U.S. and has NO union shops. Do you seriously think that that's because none of Walmart's employees want to join a union? Do you know what happens if a Walmart manager even suspects any intent to organize workers in their store or even hears mention of a union?

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 38 weeks ago
#11

WELL I guess poverty is the new normal now. Let's all take a nice big bow in unison, to King Koch. Long live the king.

RichardofJeffersonCity's picture
RichardofJeffer... 7 years 38 weeks ago
#12

People could organize into citizens, social or consumer unions using their consuming power to effect economy to counter the onslaught against worker's unions.

The CPI, the consumer price index, is built into any economic model presented by the Fed. Consumption is the prime mover in the economy. The Fed bases interest rates off the CPI along with other consideration. Debt, speculation, borrowing and lending are based in future consumption.

People could always refuse to pay back debt in mass, tax boycotts in mass, stop paying credit cards, stop paying for student loans, stop paying their mortgages, all kinds of things to counter corporate dominance in the political and economic systems.

People could run on the slogan "We'll start paying when you stop playing!"

chicagotim's picture
chicagotim 7 years 38 weeks ago
#13

Just to clarify, no one said I'm necessarily anti-union. I'm just interested in why the Left is always whining about the death of the unions. People have the right to organize, why do they not?

Elioflight's picture
Elioflight 7 years 38 weeks ago
#14

I feel like I'm beating a dead horse, but families that cannot earn a living wage or have disposable income CANNOT spend in the MARKETPLACE and contribute to CORPORATE PROFITS.

Those of you who decry the Unions need to read a little history about what the workplace used to be like before Unions stepped in. This is the same muddle-headed thinking used by young women of today who decry/reject the feminist movement which fought for the few freedoms women enjoy today--our work is still ongoing.

Unions are a worker's ONLY protection against corporate abuse.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 38 weeks ago
#15

Coos Bay, Oregon is the most conservative area I’ve lived in my entire life. It took us old Berkeley hippies a long time to find our social niche here.

I’ve got a friend I’ll call Sandra who’s a lefty like us. Sandra is a poet and activist who lives in North Bend, the next town just north of here. She’s written letters to the editor of our local paper for years, which has earned her all kinds of friends and enemies in Coos County. Sandra’s a fiesty, take-no-prisoners kinda gal, not afraid to call it as she sees it. But she’s pushing eighty now, is paying the price for a decades-long cigarette habit and doesn’t have the energy she once did. So Sandra has begun urging me to carry the torch. This seems like a good idea to me, so I’ve signed up for an online subscription to the paper.

However there are moments when I feel like a glutton for punishment, just reading some of the stuff in The World’s opinion column… like for example, this libertarian editorialist who they publish on a regular basis. His name is John Stossel and he’s one piece of work. I’m not about to quote his entire column here, but take a load of these first few paragraphs:

Donald Trump's kids and Paris Hilton's siblings were born rich. That gave them a big advantage in life. Unfair!

Inequality in wealth has grown. Today the richest 1 percent of Americans own a third of the assets. That's not fair!

But wherever people are free, that's what happens.

Some people are luckier, smarter or just better at making money. Often they marry other wealthy, well-connected people. Over time, these advantages compound. Globalization increases the effect. This month's issue of Forbes says the world now has 1,826 billionaires, and some struggle to find enough parking places for their jets.

President Obama calls inequality "the defining issue of our time." Really? Not our unsustainable debt? Not ISIS?

Politicians constantly find crises they will solve by increasing government power. But why is inequality a crisis?

The first time I read that, my blood pressure must have risen twenty notches. That's as noxious as anything I’ve ever read. It cuts a vidid profile of that in-your-face, “Nyah-Nyah” kind of attitude we’re getting from libertarians. Now that their plutocrat’s paradise has been legislated into reality, they’re like schoolyard bullies.

I've every intention of posting a fitting response to this condescending screed. But first, I better give myself time to cool off, because what I’d really like to do right now is punch the guy’s lights out. What a PIG.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 38 weeks ago
#16

chicagotim - Will you please acknowledge that Mark S told you why in his #10 comment?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 7 years 38 weeks ago
#17

AIW -- I am sure you can do quite well without any help from any of us. However, it is so hard to resist. John Stossel was on ABC's 20/20 a couple of decades ago. I think he has now been relegated to a Faux News commentator.

I like to go after the heart of their arguments. What is with this unsustainable debt? The US Debt is 75% of GDP. In 2010, the Japanese Debt was 200% of GDP. That is the same year when Japan became the wealthiest nation in the world, surpassing the US. That sounds like we need more debt. My first choice would be to increase the US debt by $1 trillion by forgiving all student debt.

chicagotim's picture
chicagotim 7 years 37 weeks ago
#18

Chuckle8 -- Sorry, I didn't realize that his one anecdote (Walmart) combined with a research paper sponsored by union forces should be taken as a full explanation of the almost complete collapse of private sector unions. My bad.

I still contend that Unions had a good 100 year run. If people really wanted to belong they would. They apparently don't want to.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 37 weeks ago
#19
Quote Mark J. Saulys:ChicagoTim, you can't seriously be asking that. You really think that workers don't want membership of unions and that that's why so few are members? You either fell off a turnip truck yesterday or are shillin' like a villain and are just playing dumb.

Mark J. Saulys ~ "Shillin' like a villain?" Without a doubt. "Just playing dumb?" Not so sure about the 'playing' part. "Fell off a turnip truck?" Also, probably likely.

So far we got two conservatives here who call themselves "Chicago" something. Fortunately, one isn't as much an idiot as the other is. Nevertheless, I feel for ya, buddy.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 7 years 37 weeks ago
#20
Quote Aliceinwonderland who quoted John Stossel who:

Donald Trump's kids and Paris Hilton's siblings were born rich. That gave them a big advantage in life. Unfair!

Inequality in wealth has grown. Today the richest 1 percent of Americans own a third of the assets. That's not fair!

But wherever people are free, that's what happens.

Aliceinwonderland ~ So our friend thinks that economic inequality is a result of freedom? Isn't that peachy? Well, Mr. Stossel should realize that where people are free to steal the wages from their workers, workers are also free to steal their wages back. After all, what is Democracy if not the rule of the many over the few?

The assets that the 1% own were made on the backs of workers who were never compensated for their increased productivity. Instead, the extra money they made was pocketed by the 1%. The 1%--in their infinite generosity--then saw fit to make even more money by loaning that surplus back to the workers at interest. The result, a massive balloon of debt owed by the workers; and, very little personal property fully owned by the workers.

I have a solution for Mr. Stossel that I think he would find most attractive because it fits his love of freedom. I say We the People use the freedom of the Democratic process to demand a Jubilee year and forgive all credit dept. That would, at one stroke, restore private property to its rightful owners, return stolen wages to its rightful owners, and remove another threat to freedom that Mr. Stossel appears to be overlooking. You see, history shows that when you rob and overburden people too much they tend to strike back; and, the result never turns out well for people like Mr. Stossel and the 1% that he represents.

Of course, if it wasn't for people who are as self deceived, blind, and clueless as Mr. Stossel obviously is, major events such as the French, Spanish, Russian, Mexican, and American Revolutions may never have happened. Perhaps he is just doing his small part to make sure that history takes its natural course. For that, we must thank him.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 37 weeks ago
#21

Reply to #17 & #20: chuckle8, DAnneMarc, your responses are much appreciated. I’ve since started a thread featuring the entire editorial from that douchebag. I'm inviting everyone to join me with comments for the blog accompanying his column in our local paper. How about hopping onboard? The title of the thread is “A Libertarian’s Smug Screed” and for your convenience, here is the link:

http://www.thomhartmann.com/users/aliceinwonderland/blog/2015/03/liberta...

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 37 weeks ago
#22

"Shillin' like a villain"..... I love it. Witty and poetic. Would make a killer song title.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 37 weeks ago
#23

I lived in Western European socialist democracies in the 70's and felt freer there than I ever felt here in the U.S.. Things like national, absolutely cost free, assured healthcare and education, virtally assured, secure, living wage employment, assured affordable housing sure make an ordinary, not-rich person pretty darn free.
What Stossel means is RICH people are free wherever there's inequality, free to enslave everybody else.
That choice of Dickensian nightmare or Soviet gulag is an old, old false dichotomy.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 7 years 37 weeks ago
#24

ChicagoTim, willful obtuseness? Did you bother reading the research paper? It's pretty broad in scope and not very controverted - or controvertible, I'd say - i.e., has pretty apparently withstood peer review and is therefore pretty definitive on the subject.
Walmart is the largest employer in the U.S. and one of the very largest - if not THE very largest - retailer in the United States and it is precisely because of its low wage and aggressively anti union business model that so many less unethical and more scrupulous retailers are forced out of business by Walmart as they can't compete with that roguish model. Thus it is also very definitive of the subject.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 7 years 37 weeks ago
#25

Mark, I took the liberty to add your voice to the chorus of Stossel-debunkers. Here's how I posted your comments:

“I lived in Western European socialist democracies in the '70s and felt freer there than I ever felt here in the U.S. Things like national, absolutely cost free, assured healthcare and education, virtually assured, secure, living wage employment, assured affordable housing sure make an ordinary, not-rich person pretty darn free. What Stossel means is RICH people are free wherever there's inequality, free to enslave everybody else. That choice of Dickensian nightmare or Soviet gulag is an old, old false dichotomy.” - Mark J. Saulys

Thanks Mark! Your background gives you a unique perspective I couldn't resist adding to that conversation. Much appreciated! - AIW

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