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Posts Tagged ‘Labor Unions’

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.

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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.

S&P500_(1950-12)

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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Based on the above, my guess is that Hilliary will do the bidding of Wall Street, which include redistributing income from the 99 to the 1 percent; and that Bernie will do the bidding of the 99 percent, which suggests he will begin the process of reversing the redistribution of income and wealth from the 99 to the 1 percent that the government has undertaken during the last 35 years of absolute corruption at the hands and dollars of the 1 percent.

Hilliary has earned hundreds of thousands of dollars of speaking fees from Wall Street investment corporations at the rate of $200,000 per hour. Goldman Sachs is one of her biggest employers in this regard.

The AFL-CIO has refused to endorse Hilliary because she has announced on 45 occasions that she is for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the largest income redistribution scam in US history, which is falsely being marketed as a free trade agreement, but which jacks up the prices of many goods citizens will pay for, such as pharmaceutical medicines.

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free-trade-at-last-cartoon

Thank you grassroots progressives, grassroots tea party members, labor unions, church groups, environmental organizations, and so many more for the fight of the century you put up.

Today, in the US House of Representatives, Democrats and some Republicans responded to twitters, emails, letters and phone calls from the 99 percent, and these things defeated Wall Street Investors, large corporations, and their President Obama, by rejecting Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). US House Democrats refused to give President Obama Fast Track Authority that will allow for easy passage of the Trans Pacific Partnership without first giving workers trade adjustment assistance (TAA).

The president offered TAA, which offers government assistance for workers whose jobs are shipped overseas because of trade treaties, but he intended to fund it with money from Medicare, and it would still be underfunded, leaving millions of workers who will lose their jobs with TPP in poverty and without hope.

Rep. Louise Slaughter, a top House Democrat from New York, said she would not vote for TAA because she doesn’t want “this trade bill (TPP) to go through.”

“TAA has always been an absolute admission to me that there is going to be lots of lost jobs,” Slaughter said.

The TPP is Obama’s gift to Wall Street, but many Democrats see it as the end of their party since the base is so riled up against it.

We know from leaked documents the TPP will:

* TPP will give incentives for US corporations to export millions of US jobs. The Federal Reserve estimates that 28 million US jobs were exported between 1990 and 2010. Wyden wants to increase this number. Jobs are the biggest US export product. Wyden likes this.

* TPP will increase US income and wealth inequality. The 1 percent have already taken 95 percent of all income growth in the United States since 2009. Currently, the 1 percent are stealing 36+ percent of all income produced in the USA, compared to only 8 percent in 1980. International trade scams and other federal legislation have brought inequality about. For example, when the above jobs were exported, the difference between the old higher US wages and the new lower wages will go straight into the pockets of the 1 percent via higher corporate profits, rising dividends and surging share prices. Wyden is a principle architect of this inequality.

* Those lost jobs will no longer be paying the taxes for our infrastructure, K-12 education, higher education (tuition and fees will go up), social safety nets, schools, fire, police, public transportation, social security taxes, but those lost jobs will push the stock markets higher.

* TPP will effectively eliminate your voting rights on local and state issues since it will unconstitutionally grant investors of the 0.01 percent special privileges to challenge labeling and health and safety local laws and regulations of the 99 percent, which most people call voter suppression, but in this case it should be called voter elimination.

* TPP will eliminate millions of jobs in Latin America, which will drive millions of more people illegally into the United States and depress wages here. See how-the-trans-pacific-partnership-will-destroy-american-jobs-by-destroying-us-exports–Johnhively.wordpress.com .

* TPP will raise pharmaceutical prices by extending patents forcing the 99 percent to pay more for big pharma’s products.

* TPP will override Wall Street regulations, as if the mostly ineffective US regulations inhibit Wall Street profits and illegal activities.

Stunningly, Democrats such as Wall Street Senator Ron Wyden support doing all of the above to the American people. And these things are only a few things we know about. Why are these negotiations so secret? US Senator Elizabeth Warren says it best below.

As for Fast Track Authority, if passed by congress, it will mean there be limited debate in congress when the TPP comes up for a vote. Fast track will also prohibit any amendments to the TPP and eliminate any means to filibuster it in the senate. In other words, fast track rigs the political and economic game against the 99 percent and for the 1 percent.

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