Posts Tagged ‘Labor Unions’

“With its financial contributions and grassroots organizing, the labor movement helped give Democrats full control of the federal government three times in the last four decades. And all three of those times — under Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama — Democrats failed to pass labor law reforms that would bolster the union cause. In hindsight, it’s clear that the Democratic Party didn’t merely betray organized labor with these failures, but also, itself.”

When Bill Clinton became president he took the party straight into the loving arms of Wall Street executives and investors, and the best way to do that was to get rid of labor unions by exporting tens of millions of labor union jobs to poverty wage nations. It began with Clinton and his Wall Street wife, Hillary, and NAFTA. The difference between the old US wages and benefits and the poverty wage workers in poverty-wage nations have always gone straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, rising dividends, and surging share prices.

President Barack Obama followed the Clinton’s footsteps in redistributing income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent via this and other legislative paths. Of course, they were assisted in this massive redistribution of income and wealth by such Democrats as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, who was ever so happy to join the Republican party stalwarts in doing this. The result was ominous, for the Democratic Party, the nation, and the 99 percent.

Between 1978 and 2017, the union membership rate in the United States fell by more than half — from 26 to 10.7 percent. Naturally, this decline coincides with the redistribution of income and wealth engineered by the entire Republican Party, as well as the Wall Street controlled Democratic Party with such luminaries as Ron Wyden, Earl Blumenauer, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The decline in labor union membership due to exported jobs also fuels the massive income and wealth inequality the United States suffers from today, thanks in large part to Bill and Hillary, Barack and Wyden and other Democratic Wall Street loyalists as Earl Blumenauer.

In a new study that will soon be released as a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper (NBER), James Feigenbaum of Boston University, Alexander Hertel-Fernandez of Columbia, and Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution examined the long-term political consequences of anti-union legislation by comparing counties straddling a state line where one state is right-to-work and another is not. Their findings should strike terror into the hearts of Democratic Party strategists: Right-to-work laws decreased Democratic presidential vote share by 3.5 percent.

This could have been a golden age for American liberalism. The Democratic Party — and the progressive forces within it — have so much going for them. The GOP’s economic vision has never been less popular with ordinary Americans, or more irrelevant to their material needs. The U.S. electorate is becoming less white, less racist, and less conservative with each passing year. Social conservatism has never had less appeal for American voters than it does today. The garish spectacle of the Trump-era Republican Party is turning the American suburbs — once a core part of the GOP coalition — purple and blue.

If the Democratic Party wasn’t bleeding support from white working-class voters in its old labor strongholds, it would dominate our national politics. Understandably, Democratic partisans often blame their powerlessness on such voters — and the regressive racial views that led them out of Team Blue’s tent. But as unions have declined across the Midwest, Democrats haven’t just been losing white, working-class voters to Republicans — they’ve also been losing them to quiet evenings at home. The NBER study cited by McElwee found that right-to-work laws reduce voter turnout in presidential elections by 2 to 3 percent.

The Democratic leadership had a choice; side with the 99 percent or side against them and with the 1 percent. Obama, the Clintons, Wyden and other Wall Street Democrats chose to side with Wall Street and corporate parasites against their own grassroots. Now many of the grassroots have abandoned the Party that no longer represents them. Who can blame them? Oh, that’s right! The Democratic Leadership and their corporate news media blames the grassroots and calls them “deplorables,” but only after the leadership has exported tens of millions of working-class jobs.



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Donald Trump has been in office nearly a year, Republicans control the US House and the Senate, and nary a word has been voiced by Republican legislators or that guy in the white house about passing legislation prohibiting abortion.

Senate Republicans passed tax cuts for the rich with only 51 votes using a procedure called “Reconciliation.” Now “reconciliation” has to deal with budget matters and has nothing to do with, say, making abortion illegal. However, the Republican Senate could easily advance a motion that requires a simple majority vote on legislation outlawing abortion, but they are not likely ever going to do this.

The Republicans in the US Senate passed a motion to make certain that all nominees to the US Supreme Court are able to take a seat on the highest court in the land with only a majority vote in the Senate, and filibusters are forbidden.

So what gives? Why won’t the Republicans eliminate legal abortions?

The Republicans, quite naturally, play the folks on the religious right as much as the Democratic leadership plays labor union members. The last thing Republican leaders want to do is pass legislation banning abortions. Doing this would allow fundamentalist Christians to focus on other issues.

What would Jesus Christ focus on in the absence of the abortion issue? Something about rich folks getting into heaven via an eye of a needle comes to mind. That has to be a giant needle, or maybe Jesus meant rich folks don’t have a shot at the kingdom of heaven. Maybe Christians might begin thinking about things like wealth and income inequality. That’s a big issue nowadays because income and wealth inequality has become so lopsided in favor of 1 percent of the population (See In the USA, the 1 Percent Now Own More Wealth Than the Bottom 90 Percent–JohnHively.Wordpress.com). The last thing the Republican leadership wants is defections of its base to the other side on the issue of wealth and income inequality.

My best guess is the Republican leadership doesn’t want to lose its grassroots base, and keeping abortion rights alive is the key to keeping the base aroused and under control by maintaining the base’s eternal hope that abortion one day will be legally ended. This hope, of course, can only be kept alive by keeping legalized abortion alive.

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child labor

A new report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) says that the decline of US private sector labor unions has resulted in lower pay for almost everybody. A summary of the report is below.

“Pay for private-sector workers has barely budged over the past three and a half decades. In fact, for men in the private sector who lack a college degree and do not belong to a labor union, real wages today are substantially lower than they were in the late 1970s.” The same holds true for women.

The report went on, “In the debates over the causes of wage stagnation, the decline in union power has not received nearly as much attention as globalization, technological change, and the slowdown in Americans’ educational attainment. Unions, especially in industries and regions where they are strong, help boost the wages of all workers by establishing pay and benefit standards that many nonunion firms adopt. But this union boost to nonunion pay has weakened as the share of private-sector workers in a union has fallen from 1 in 3 in the 1950s to about 1 in 20 today.”

There are some things missing from report. One of them is that the war on US labor unions brought about massive increases in profits for corporations, and much of this was redistributed to politicians in the form of perks (like high paying jobs after leaving office) and campaign contributions.

Martin Luther King

Eviscerating US labor unions via globalization and government legislation also redistributed much of the political power of the unions to corporations. The Republican Party today, for example, is completely owned by US corporations such as Walmart, Apple, Microsoft, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, a variety of hedge funds and Exxon Mobile. Labor unions have taken a back seat in the Democratic Party, and by a wide margin, to such corporate giants as Costco, Apple, Microsoft, JP Morgan/Chase, Goldman Sachs, and a variety of hedge funds. Notice any similarities between the twin political parties?

Globalization has never been inevitable as corporate, news and political leaders claim. Instead, it is an intentional political and economic power play to break US labor unions, bust foreign labor unions, push wages and benefits down, which boosts corporate bottom lines, which increases corporate share prices, all of which redistributes income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent.

In other words, globalization is not something that has been God ordained. This policy has been ordained by the rich and powerful. It is not and never has been inevitable except as an instrument wielded by the rich to wage economic war against the 99 percent of the world.

The primary purpose of globalization is to increase income and wealth inequality.

Check out the link below for EPI’s report.

Union decline lowers wages of nonunion workers: The overlooked reason why wages are stuck and inequality is growing

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To a remarkable extent, the level of inequality—which fell during the New Deal but has risen dramatically since the late 1970s—corresponds to the rise and fall of labor unionization in the United States; and US labor union participation rates corresponds with the number of free trade agreements the US government enters into, as well as the development of historic levels of income and wealth inequality.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, “As union membership has fallen over the last few decades, the share of income going to the top 10 percent has steadily increased. Union membership fell to 11.1 percent in 2014, where it remained in 2015 (not shown in the figure). The share of income going to the top 10 percent, meanwhile, hit 47.2 percent in 2014—only slightly lower than 47.8 percent in 2012, the highest it has been since 1917 (the earliest year data are available). When union membership was at its peak (33.4 percent in 1945) the share of income going to the top 10 percent was only 32.6 percent.”

As you can see in the graph below, the share of US workers represented by labor unions began to drop in 1960 as electronic jobs, such as manufacturing televisions and radios, began to be exported more and more to places like Taiwan. That process began in the 1950s.

Union membership began to decline even more in 1964 when Mexico and the USA signed a treaty creating the free trade Maquiladora Zone inside Mexico. This zone runs along the US border, and is twelve miles wide and runs from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. Corporations are allowed to import parts into the zone, assemble things there, and export the finished products into the United States duty free. Tens of thousands of US labor union jobs were exported into Mexico because of this treaty.

Other maquiladora zones have been created throughout Central America since then. What happened to the US textile industry? Much of it is in Central America. Roughly 225,000 former US textile jobs now reside in El Salvador alone.


US labor union membership dropped from 28.5 to 25.4 percent from 1964 to 1980. Then, of course, Reaganomics and more trade treaties hit US workers. NAFTA struck, and the rest is history. The stock markets shot up as labor union members saw their jobs being exported. You can see the amazing coincidence in the graphs above and below. As the jobs were exported, the stock markets exploded upward. Roughly 35 million US jobs have been exported since 1990.


Nowadays, the top 1 percent are stealing 37 percent of all income produced in the United States, compared to 8 percent in 1980. That’s because when a job is exported the difference between the old higher US pay and the new lower third world country pay goes straight into the pockets of the rich via higher corporate profits, surging dividends, and soaring share prices.

This is the link between income/wealth inequality and trade agreements business leaders, politicians, academics, and the corporate press don’t want you to know about.

Corporate stocks and bonds, by the way, are wealth. Wealth is something of value that you own, while income is money coming in. So the rich get more income by shipping jobs overseas, and in the process, they inflate the value of their wealth, such as stocks and bonds. The rich get richer with every trade agreement.

Now President Obama, and several Wall Street Democrats, such as Hillary Clinton and Ron Wyden, have joined with the majority of Republicans in congress to redistribute more income from the 99 to the 1 percent via the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). The TPP is the largest income redistribution scam in US history, and the Wall Street Democrats and most Republicans are falsely marketing it as a free trade agreement. The Guardian News Paper calls the TPP “NAFTA on steroids.”

As more of those labor union jobs are exported, much of the tax base is exported with it. Actually that tax base is redistributed to the rich. As that tax base diminishes, the tax funds for fire, police, Social Security, public schools, slowly evaporates. And unionized public sector employees find themselves under attack.

It’s a big scam folks.

Protect your jobs! Protect your future! Fight against the TPP! Vote for Bernie Sanders!

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labor unions

A well planned legal assault on public unions collapsed last Tuesday when the US Supreme Court deadlocked over a California woman’s lawsuit to strike down labor union mandatory fees, the strongest evidence yet that Justice Antonin Scalia’s death has stymied legal attacks against working people via the court’s conservative justices.

It is highly unlikely the controversial supreme court’s Citizen’s United decision that struck down 100 years of legal campaign finance precedence would occur if the case were brought today.

Lower courts struck down Citizen’s United, but the supporter’s plan was to quickly go through the lower courts, lose, lose, lose, and then overturn precedence with Scalia and the rest of the corporate wing of the supreme court.

As for the mandatory fees case above, the 4-4 split keeps in place a 1970’s era rule that authorizes labor unions to require municipal employee, teachers, college instructors and transit workers to pay a fair share fee to help cover the cost of collective bargaining.

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In Quebec today, 400,000 public workers and teachers went on strike protesting lagging contract talks. In the United States, you’d be lucky to get 40 people to a strike. That’s because the corporate propaganda machine has smeared the labor union name, and too many US citizens have bought into the lies, even as their jobs have been shipped overseas, their wages have been crushed, their benefits eroded, and the value of their lost incomes, in terms of benefits and wages, have been redistributed to the 1 percent. That’s why and how the 1 percent in the United States steal over 37 percent of the income produced yearly, compared to only 10 percent in Canada.

That means the 99 percent earn 90 percent of the income per year in Canada, compared to 63 percent in the US. This gives the Canadian 99 percent more money to purchase goods and services, which creates jobs and stimulates growth in Gross Domestic Product, wages and benefits. In the USA, where the 99 percent earn 92 percent of the income, but receive only 63 percent, because the rich have stolen it from them via federal and state legislation, the demand for goods is considerably slacker than in Canada.

What’s the difference between corporate propaganda in Canada and in the United States?

In Canada, there are rules regarding honesty in public broadcasting. Much of the lying propaganda put out by the US cable and major news (propaganda) networks over the last thirty years has not been broadcast into Canada. This is true as well for the right wing radio talk shows that unofficially operate as a propaganda machine for US corporations. Fox News, for example, cannot be broadcast into Canada because the company would violate the honesty clause governing Canadian news broadcasts. However, you can get Fox in Canada via satellite.

The laws in Canada governing honesty in reporting include the Radio Act and other policies, that prohibit “any false or misleading news.” These “provisions against spreading misinformation used to be part of Canada’s criminal code, according to Canadian media lawyer Paul Schabas. They were famously evoked to send Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi publisher Ernst Zündel to trial in the 1980s. After the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that the code violated freedom of expression rights and thus was unconstitutional, the false news provisions became simply regulations.”

Honesty, in other words, is the key difference as to why the US labor movement is declining in numbers, while the labor movement is growing in Canada.

Click right here for more on the Quebec strikes from Revolution News.

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On Friday, July 31 the negotiators from twelve nations announced in Maui that negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) had reached a roadblock. The TPP is massive income redistribution scam for the 1 percent, and particularly for Wall Street, major corporations and their overpriced CEOs and their shareholders, but it is being falsely marketed as a trade agreement.

President Obama wants to be able to deliver this scam before the upcoming elections so that Wall Street and major corporations who stand to gain at the expense of the 99 percent will open up its pockets more to Democratic candidates. However, as the Democratic base realizes this president and many of his Democratic cronies, such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden, has sacrificed their interests and redistributed their income and wealth to the 1 percent over and over again, along with Obama’s Republican party cronies (think Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch, John Boehner, etc…, the Democratic base has been abandoning ship.

In other words, the Democratic machine might get the cash to compete on television advertisements with the Republican machine if Obama and his henchmen like Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden can deliver the TPP, but in doing so, the Dems will have fewer and fewer votes on which it can count on. So the party will lose more seats in the US senate and the house of representatives.

That means the party base in shrinking and it doesn’t matter how much money the Democratic leadership can conjure up. They will continue to lose voters as more and more of the base can no longer discern any significant difference between the Democratic and Republican parties on bread and butter issues.

Trying to rally the base with social and international issues, such as the Iran nuclear deal, the liberalization of relations with Cuba, and gay marriage, will be less and less effective in helping to win elections if the sole purpose of the party on economic matters is to continue to impoverish the base with scams like the TPP.

According to CNN the negotiations broke down over the following:

Canada is balking at opening its dairy market for more imports — a key demand not just of the United States but also of New Zealand, where dairy giants like Fonterra are eager to expand the country’s top export.

In Japan, the United States wants easier access for its agriculture and automotive companies, but Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faces a legislature strongly influenced by small rice farmers. Long-standing foreign auto trade barriers are difficult to tear down in that country.

And the United States’ push for 12 years of patent protection on pharmaceutical drugs is tripping up poorer countries — such as Malaysia and Vietnam — that fret they’d face public health challenges without access to cheaper generics.

Critics in manufacturing states have said the deal should include a crackdown on countries that manipulate the value of their currencies to give their exports a price advantage in the United States. That, though, is a non-starter and would halt the deal’s progress entirely, negotiators from several countries have said.

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