Posts tagged Unions
Posts tagged Unions
This is what happens when you get your news from Fox (and other corporate sources). You get lied to, then you look like a fool.
The average salary for a middle school teacher in Chicago is $55,000. If you have a doctorate and 16 full years of experience, you can make up to $88,680 at a maximum. You pretend teachers don’t “deserve” their current salary, but the people of Chicago disagree. 47% of people in Chicago support the strike, with only 39% in opposition. Beyond that, the idea that “most college students could easily master” teaching “right out after they graduate” is patently absurd. They could certainly do the job, but they’d do it poorly, with high turnover, and at the detriment of students. There’s a reason we incentivize experienced teachers with money- better, more experienced teachers offer better opportunities to the children they teach.
Of course, all of this is based off of an absurd but unstated assumption of yours: that this strike is primarily about salary rates and compensation- another indicator that you’re a Fox viewer, since it’s clearly false and would only be perpetuated by dishonest news mediums. The reason for the strike is much more closely tied to working conditions: the teachers work an hour and half more now, with no additional compensation. They work in overcrowded classrooms that don’t have air conditioning, and their evaluations are based on standardized test scores (which are compared to wealthier students with A/C and schools that aren’t falling apart). Their benefits are being cut, and they’re cutting the training programs that Chicago teachers need to remain efficient and effective at their job.
I urge you to educate yourself about this issue and to turn off your television: it will only give you rotten, distorted information that leads you to foolishly misinformed ideas like those above. Fox, CNN and MSNBC are all owned by businesses that would happily spill blood to keep wages down and workers complacent- trusting their reporting would be absolutely absurd.
Both Juan Carlos and William represent the workers in Barranca’s Coca-Cola plant. They have been targeted with death threats since 2001. They, and others like them, are labeled “subversives” by the paramilitaries, linked falsely to the guerilla movement, and are labeled “military targets.” William told me that the violence against SINALTRAINAL [the Food and Beverage Workers Union] is based in Coke’s determination to force the union out of its bottling plants: “They want to impose casual labor, part-time labor, and drive down our wages and working conditions.”
During the last 30 years, the union and its activist members have lived in a pervasive climate of terror. Paramilitary terrorism seems to peak at contract time. Three SINALTRAINAL leaders have been assassinated in Colombia precisely when contracts have come up for negotiations.
Over the years, 25 SINALTRAINAL leaders have been killed, two have been “disappeared,” 14 imprisoned, and six forced to leave the country. Many others and their family members have been attacked and threatened with death. The perpetrators have had total impunity from the law—though some have even confessed to their crimes.
The drug war gives excuses to funnel large amount of paramilitary equipment and training to countries like this, that then use those resources to oppress workers.
Today 45,000 Verizon employees received their last paycheck until this strike is over. We understand that in this economy everyone should be willing to give up something for the betterment of our country’s financial welfare. We are more than willing to bargain with Verizon to come up with a fair contract for everyone involved. We are not asking for anything more than what we already have and have had for years!
Verizon has placed ads in papers & on television telling you that they just want us to pay for a portion of our health care insurance premium cost and listing various salaries that we should be thankful for. Verizon has failed to publicly mention the 99 other items they would like for us to give up or that these salaries and benefits that they are posting are inaccurate. It takes a unionized Verizon worker 25 years to gradually earn the amount of vacation time that is in these ads!
Verizon has told you that their land line business is failing, yet they fail to mention that that very business is the backbone network of their FIOS, DSL & Wireless operations. They want you to think that there is no need for a land line because they want their FIOS & DSL to be classified as “internet or data” instead of exactly what they are: land lines. Every cell tower connects to a land line network. Without Verizon’s land line business they would have no wireless business!
Verizon fails to publicly mention that they want to begin increasing the outsourcing of American jobs to other countries by removing all aspects of job security from the contract, to freeze all pensions for current workers and completely eliminate them for future employees, slash sick time, eliminate disability payments for injured workers, eliminate holidays (including Veteran’s Day) and completely gut health care plans for current & retired workers.
Despite making $19.5 billion in profits and paying out $258 million to it’s top 5 executives in the last four years, Verizon wants to take back more than 50 years of collective bargaining and destroy middle class jobs, just like many of the other large corporations!
The President of Verizon makes $55,000 a day, how much does the average American worker make per day?
Verizon has paid $0 in federal corporate income taxes over the last three years, how much has the average American worker paid in federal income tax?
Verizon received nearly $1 billion in tax benefits from the federal government (your money) over the last three years, how much has the average American worker received in tax benefits?
You ask why the workers would be going on strike when we’ve been spoiled and should be thankful we have a job in this economy? I believe what you should be asking is why aren’t there more American jobs being created by American companies? Why are companies being allowed to outsource their jobs when American production is at an all time low and we all know that we cannot grow as a consumer only country! We must produce products here in the United States of America!
We are on strike for all of you, not just ourselves. The middle class stands to lose everything while corporations and a few individuals gain it all. We walk the line for you!
We understand that we may have to give up some things that we have had in the past, but we should not have to give up everything including our job security! All we are asking is for Verizon to sit down and bargain with the people that helped build it. It’s time to bring jobs back to America and end corporate greed!
(This is direct from an IBEW member on strike.)
Layoff notices have been issued to about 40% of the Wisconsin Education Association Council workforce. The complete story is linked above.
"Burkhalter said that the layoffs and other budget cuts at WEAC are a result of Gov. Scott Walker’s "union-busting" legislation."
A few months ago I wrote a piece for the magazine arguing that the decline in unionization over the past three decades has been a key factor of the decline of the American left over the same…
From the NYT piece on this study:
The decline in organized labor’s power and membership has played a larger role in fostering increased wage inequality in the United States than is generally thought, according to a study published in the American Sociological Review this month.
The study, “Unions, Norms and the Rise in U.S. Wage Inequality,” found that the decline in union power and density since 1973 explained a third of the increase in wage inequality among men since then, and a fifth of the increased inequality among women.
The study noted that from 1973 to 2007, union membership in the private sector dropped to 8 percent from 34 percent among men and to 6 percent from 16 percent among women. During that time, wage inequality in the private sector increased by more than 40 percent, the study found.
While many academics argue that increased inequality in educational attainment has played a major role in expanding wage inequality, the new study reaches a surprising conclusion, saying, “The decline of the U.S. labor movement has added as much to men’s wage inequality as has the relative increase in pay for college graduates.” The study adds that “union decline contributes just half as much as education to the overall rise in women’s wage inequality.”
Without worker-run Unions to advocate for the interests of the workers, the aristocratic class is free to export labor to foreign countries without legal worker protections, stagnate or lower the wages of it’s employees, increase working hours and responsibilities without corresponding benefit increases, remove benefits and ignore harsh working conditions. Our last, best defense against worker exploitation has been crippled.
“It is now beyond partisan controversy that it is a fundamental individual right of a worker to associate himself with other workers and to bargain collectively with his employer.” FDR –Address at San Diego Exposition, October 2, 1935
Just over three quarters of a century ago, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed one of the most important — though frequently overlooked — pieces of the reform legislation to come out of the New Deal: the National Labor Relations Act. More often referred to as the Wagner Act, after its champion, Senator Robert Wagner of New York, this landmark bill established the National Labor Relations Board, an independent, quasi-judicial government agency that played a critical role in the remarkable expansion of union membership that took place during the Roosevelt era.
Prior to the passage of the Wagner Act, and thanks in part to the anti-union climate of the 1920s, union membership in the United States had declined precipitously. At the onset of the Great Depression, for example, membership in the American Federation of Labor had fallen from a high of five million in 1919 to less than 3 million in 1933. Seeking to expand workers rights as part of his administration’s efforts to launch the New Deal, FDR created a weaker NLRB as part of the 1934 National Recovery Administration. But the 1934 agency proved largely ineffective and in 1935 FDR endorsed Senator Wagner’s efforts to make the NLRB permanent and more powerful. The new law declared a whole series of coercive management practices to be illegal, and gave private sector workers the right to form unions and to engage in collective bargaining. It also gave the NLRB the right to determine bargaining unit jurisdictions, oversee union elections and certify the results as legally binding. The law also insisted that management had a duty to bargain with a properly certified union, though of course it did not compel the union to agree with the union demands.
As with many other pieces of New Deal legislation, the establishment of the NLRB was bitterly attacked by employers as a measure that would ruin the US economy. But such fear mongering proved completely unfounded. Over the next ten years both union membership and the size of the US economy would grow hand in hand, so that by 1945 the ranks of unionized worker had reached a record 35 percent of the non-agricultural workforce, while wages had increased by 65 percent, unemployment had fallen to less than one percent, and the US economy exploded to meet the demands of the Second World War.
Moreover, the labor legislation of the New Deal helped form the basis of a long period of post-war prosperity that vastly expanded the size and wealth of the American middle class. Yet sadly, the right of American workers to form unions and engage in collective bargaining — and hence protect their job security and wages — is once again under attack. The recent attempt by conservative Republicans in the House of Representatives to challenge the NLRB authority to act through the introduction of such bills as the Protecting Jobs from Government Interference Act is but one example of this ongoing attempt to weaken the NLRB’s authority and with it the power of unions to fight against unfair labor practices. In 1935, in the wake of the Wagner Bill, FDR asserted that the “fundamental…right of a worker to associate himself with other workers and to bargain collectively with his employer” was “now beyond partisan controversy.” Based on the recent activities of this Congress, and the strong anti-union movement among conservatives in states like Wisconsin and New Jersey it would appear that he was sadly mistaken.
Two charged in scuffle at St. Louis County meeting found not guilty (St. Louis Today)
While Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) law dismantling collective bargaining rights has harmed teachers, nurses, and other civil servants, it’s helping a different group in Wisconsinites — inmates. Prisoners are now taking up jobs that used to be held by unionized workers in some parts of the state.
As the Madison Capital Times reports, “Besides losing their right to negotiate over the percentage of their paycheck that will go toward health care and retirement, unions also lost the ability to claim work as a ‘union-only’ job, opening the door for private workers and evidently even inmates to step in and take their place.” Inmates are not paid for their work, but may receive time off of their sentences.
The law went into effect last week, and Racine County is already using inmates to do landscaping, painting, and another basic maintenance around the county that was previously done by county workers. The union had successfully sued to stop the country from using prison labor for these jobs last year, but with Walker’s new law, they have no recourse.
Wow. They’re totally cool with giving prisoners a day pass to do union jobs to save a few bucks. Isn’t this a close cousin to indentured servitude? Aren’t there extra costs for guards or police officers to watch the inmates to be sure they don’t wander off?
This is all in the name of “cost-cutting.” Interesting to see what happens to privatized services. Will they contract inmates instead of paying a work force? This is what happens when the rights of workers are stripped. They’re replaced by a workforce that’s little more than indentured servants.
Disgusted? I am.
Indentured servants had many more rights than American prisoners do today. The Pentagon regularly uses
slave prisoner labor to construct weapons of war:
Prisoners earning 23 cents an hour in U.S. federal prisons are manufacturing high-tech electronic components for Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles, launchers for TOW (Tube-launched, Optically tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles, and other guided missile systems…
Prison labor — with no union protection, overtime pay, vacation days, pensions, benefits, health and safety protection, or Social Security withholding — also makes complex components for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing’s F-15 fighter aircraft, the General Dynamics/Lockheed Martin F-16, and Bell/Textron’s Cobra helicopter. Prison labor produces night-vision goggles, body armor, camouflage uniforms, radio and communication devices, and lighting systems and components for 30-mm to 300-mm battleship anti-aircraft guns, along with land mine sweepers and electro-optical equipment for the BAE Systems Bradley Fighting Vehicle’s laser rangefinder…
The U.S. imprisons more people per capita than any country in the world. With less than 5 percent of the world population, the U.S. imprisons more than 25 percent of all people imprisoned in the world.
There are more than 2.3 million prisoners in federal, state and local prisons in the U.S. Twice as many people are under probation and parole. Many tens of thousands of other prisoners include undocumented immigrants facing deportation, prisoners awaiting sentencing and youthful offenders in categories considered reform or detention.
The racism that pervades every aspect of life in capitalist society — from jobs, income and housing to education and opportunity — is most brutally reflected by who is caught up in the U.S. prison system.
More than 60 percent of U.S. prisoners are people of color. Seventy percent of those being sentenced under the three strikes law in California — which requires mandatory sentences of 25 years to life after three felony convictions — are people of color. Nationally, 39 percent of African-American men in their 20s are in prison, on probation or on parole. The U.S. imprisons more people than South Africa did under apartheid.
The United States couldn’t exploit Africans for slave labor so we passed Jim Crow laws to keep their labor cheap. They organized and did away with those laws, so the U.S. government, under the tutelage of Nixon, created the War on Drugs that resulted in the most prisoners per capita in (to the best of my knowledge) all of history.