September 05, 2011
NYC Letter: Happy Labor Union Day!
Day 958 of CHOPE
The right to organize and collectively bargain is a fundamental American value. Since its beginnings in our country, organized labor has raised our living standards and built our middle class. It is the reason we have a minimum wage, weekends away from work to rest and spend time with family, and basic protections in our workplaces. Many Americans today are given opportunities because their parents and grandparents fought for these basic rights and values. The principles upheld by the honorable laborers of generations past and their unions continue to fuel the growth of our economy and a strong middle class.
PRESIDENTIAL PROCLAMATION -- LABOR DAY
September 2, 2011 (White House)
HAPPY LABOR UNION DAY!
Labor Day is many things, foremost it is the recognition of the American worker and celebrates the American work ethic. We do not begrudge the unions their bouquet in Mr. Obama's proclamation. They spent a lot of money to elect him and talk is cheap.
In their day labor unions championed many important workplace reforms. Today's labor unions still trade on the progressive achievements of Samuel Gompers, but are run by thugs like Richard Trumka (and this) and James P. Hoffa and lesser thuglings.
Unions have a long history of violence, vandalism and sabotage, and physical and rhetorical intimidation, which might explain how thugs rise from the rank and file to become executive thugs. Union thuggery is under-reported in the press because it is viewed as one of those unpleasant necessities on the endless road to "progressive" justice.
WHY DO WE ACCEPT UNION VIOLENCE?
by Bill Frezza
August 22, 2011 (RCP) - What makes it socially acceptable to harass, intimidate, vandalize, beat up, and even shoot someone because they are willing to do a job for a wage that you are not willing to accept? ... What is it that is so noble about giving union bosses monopoly control over certain professions that we accept it when they break heads?
... Things sure turned ugly fast in the recent Verizon strike. The Associated Press reported 70 acts of sabotage in the first week. ... According to the National Institute for Labor Relations Research there have been 4,400 recorded acts of labor violence since 1991. The Teamsters lead the pack with 454, as one would expect from an organization once infiltrated by organized crime. The Teamsters have plenty of company, yet few offenders are called to account. In the Homestead tradition, law enforcement tends to melt away when a union goes on a rampage. Barely three percent of violent crimes committed by union members lead to an arrest or conviction.
This can only happen due to public acceptance.
After WWII unions prospered but overplayed their hand in the 60s and membership began a precipitate decline in the 70s.
In 2010, the union membership rate--the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union--was 11.9 percent, down from 12.3 percent a year earlier, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions declined by 612,000 to 14.7 million. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent, and there were 17.7 million union workers. ... The union membership rate for public sector workers (36.2 percent) was substantially higher than the rate for private sector workers (6.9 percent).
With the loss of membership came a loss of influence on the shop floor, so unions focused on the kingmaking finance business.
OP-ED September 3, 2011 (WaEx) - Unfortunately, President Obama still hasn't provided an effective plan to restore our economic dynamism and put these people back to work. Instead, he has focussed his labor policies on the few Americans (one in 14 in the private sector) who still belong to unions, largely ignoring the 90 percent of workers who don't. That's because those unions -- in many cases against their members' desires -- provide massive, poorly disclosed, campaign expenditures on behalf of Democrats. The result has been panoply of policies that are sapping America's economic vigor while enshrining privileges for a fortunate few.
... Obama never hid from voters his fealty to union bosses. He promised the Service Employees International Union that as president, he would make the union's agenda his own. And since Obama's inauguration, top union bosses have had more access to the White House than most of Obama's Cabinet secretaries. American workers, the vast majority of whom have nothing to gain from unionization, can only wish they had a president who cared for their interests, and for broader prosperity, as much as he cares for this single, dying institution.
Representing less than 12% of American labor, unions remain a powerful force not because they can muster yesteryears' broad-based membership, because -- they may huff and puff -- still they pay the big bills (and here).
CHOPE.Posted by Damian at September 5, 2011 12:00 PM