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[ Crossposted on ProgressiveBlue.com ]


Why has the GOP targeted Unions, as "the enemy" in recent weeks?

Michael Moore: Autoworkers Union Built U.S. Middle Class

(Transcript below)

Michael Moore:
"My uncle was in the sit down strike that helped to found this union. If it wasn't for the autoworkers, we wouldn't have a middle class. Because of what the autoworkers did from the 1930s on, this country was able to grow into having the strongest economy on the planet.

"And I'm sick and tired of hearing autoworkers blamed for this. The autoworkers union has given back and given back and given back for the last two decades. I just, I hate to see them give back another dime of what they need in order to be part of the middle class.

"If you're saying that the way to solve this problem is to eliminate the middle class, what kind of country do we have? What kind of country do you all want to live in if we keep this up where we allow the rich to keep getting richer and everybody else scrambling for crumbs?"

-- Michael Moore on Larry King Live -- Dec 3, 2008

thanks to mmflint for the transcript



Well said Michael Moore!

Without the Unions and their hard fought gains, over the last century, the Middle Class in America wouldn't hardly even exist.

Before there were Unions, the typical American worker, including children, toiled away in sweat shops, with 12 hour work days, with 6-day work weeks, all for peanuts -- that's if they were lucky!

Why would we want to good back to those "bad old days"?

And why is the GOP trying to strip away the meager "rights" Unions have managed to gain for all workers?

August 2003 | EPI Briefing Paper #143
How unions help ALL workers

by Lawrence Mishel and Matthew Walters

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.
...
Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.

* Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.

* Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow.
...

The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits.
- paid leave - health insurance - pension plans
...

Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).
...

There is a more general mechanism ... in which unions have affected nonunion pay and practices:

unions have set norms and established practices that become more generalized throughout the economy, thereby improving pay and working conditions for the entire workforce.

This has been especially true for the 75% of workers who are not college educated.

Many "fringe" benefits, such as pensions and health insurance, were first provided in the union sector and then became more generalized -- though, as we have seen, not universal.

Union grievance procedures, which provide "due process" in the workplace, have been mimicked in many nonunion workplaces.

Union wage-setting, which has gained exposure through media coverage, has frequently established standards of what workers generally, including many nonunion workers, expect from their employers.

Until, the mid-1980s, in fact, many sectors of the economy followed the "pattern" set in collective bargaining agreements.

(Emphasis Added)


OK, what happened in the 1980, that stopped this "forward progress" by Unions?

Ronald Reagan happened!

That's when his "illegal" war on Unions, was launched, with and nod and wink, to Corporate employers, about the "new rules in town":

How did Ronald Reagan's union busting tactics affect union workers of today ?

I'm not sure how many people remember the air traffic controllers strike in the 1980's but Reagan stepped in and essentially fired them all and hired replacement permanent workers. That one act set the ball in motion for union busting and began what we now see as diminishing workers rights. Reagan was probably the worst president for average working class people many of whom had risen to middle class status based on great union jobs that provided adequate living wages and decent benefits.
...
Reagan slashed taxes on the rich, refused to raise the minimum wage and declaring war on unions by firing air traffic controllers during their 1981 strike, Reagan took aim at the New Deal's proudest creation: a secure and decently paid working class.
...
Roughly a quarter of American workers belonged to unions when Reagan took office. When he broke the PATCO strike, it was an unambiguous signal that employers need feel little or no obligation to their workers, and employers got that message loud and clear -- illegally firing workers who sought to unionize, replacing permanent employees who could collect benefits with temps who could not, shipping factories and jobs abroad. Reagan may have preached traditional values, but loyalty was not one of them.

http://answers.yahoo.com/...

The latest Govt stats confirm this.  The Union Movement has been losing major ground, ever since Reagan, fired the striking Air Traffic Controllers, in the 80's:

Union Members Summary -- in 2007

[according to] the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Union members accounted for 12.1 percent of employed wage and salary workers, essentially unchanged from 12.0 percent in 2006.  In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent.

(Emphasis Added)


Union membership has nearly been cut in half, since Reagan!

It the GOP gets their way, we will really be on the fast-track, of that greed-driven "race to the bottom", of the New Global Economy, brought to us courtesy of that Bush dynasty.



In addition to Michael Moore, here's another progressive thinker, who's is also advocating that Unions must strengthened -- not weakened.  That America needs to "start making things again -- because that is the key to building real wealth:"

Countdown: Thom Hartmann on the GOP Busting Unions

http://www.youtube.com/...

Thom Hartmann:
David what [Obama] needs to do immediately is read Alexander Hamilton's 1791 report to Congress on manufactures. Hamilton laid out this six step plan to build an industrial economy in the United States and we followed it. We, Congress actually put into place in 1792 and it stood until Ronald Reagan came along and started deconstructing this
...    basically the founders laid this thing out. They had it figured out and it worked. We built the biggest industrial infrastructure and industrial economy in the world.

   We have gone, when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And the largest creditor. More people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now just twenty eight years later we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods, exporter of raw materials which is kind of the definition of a third world nation and we're the most in debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

thanks to Heather for the partial transcript


Thom Hartmann is looking to the Founders, for guidance, in these troubled Economic times:
[warning: geeky historical digression, immediately follows]
-----
Alexander Hamilton - Secretary of the Treasury -- Dec 5, 1791  


REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE SUBJECT OF MANUFACTURES
(pdf, excerpts)
as published in the Annals of the Second Congress, Appendix, 1793;

...
The cotton mill invented in England, within the last twenty years, is a signal illustration of the general proposition, which has been just advanced.
...
There seems to be a moral certainty that the trade of a country which is both manufacturing and agricultural will be more lucrative and prosperous than that of a country which is, merely agricultural.
...
Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation, with a view to those great objects, ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defence.
...
In countries where there is great private wealth, much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals; but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. ... it is an advantage of great moment that the operations of this mill continue, with convenience, during the night, as well as through the day. ... To this invention is to be attributed, essentially, the immense progress which has been so suddenly made in Great Britain, in the various fabrics of cotton.

-----
(thanks to mmflint for the transcript

Well said Michael Moore!

Without the Unions and their hard fought gains, over the last century, the Middle Class in America wouldn't hardly even exist.

Before there were Unions, the typical American worker, including children, toiled away in sweat shops, with 12 hour work days, with 6-day work weeks, all for peanuts -- that's if they were lucky!

Why would we want to good back to those "bad old days"?

And why is the GOP trying to strip away the meager "rights" Unions have managed to gain for all workers?

August 2003 | EPI Briefing Paper #143
How unions help ALL workers

by Lawrence Mishel and Matthew Walters

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers.
...
Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.

* Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.

* Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow.
...

The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits.
- paid leave - health insurance - pension plans
...

Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).
...

There is a more general mechanism ... in which unions have affected nonunion pay and practices:

unions have set norms and established practices that become more generalized throughout the economy, thereby improving pay and working conditions for the entire workforce.

This has been especially true for the 75% of workers who are not college educated.

Many "fringe" benefits, such as pensions and health insurance, were first provided in the union sector and then became more generalized -- though, as we have seen, not universal.

Union grievance procedures, which provide "due process" in the workplace, have been mimicked in many nonunion workplaces.

Union wage-setting, which has gained exposure through media coverage, has frequently established standards of what workers generally, including many nonunion workers, expect from their employers.

Until, the mid-1980s, in fact, many sectors of the economy followed the "pattern" set in collective bargaining agreements.

(Emphasis Added)


OK, what happened in the 1980, that stopped this "forward progress" by Unions?

Ronald Reagan happened!

That's when his "illegal" war on Unions, was launched, with and nod and wink, to Corporate employers, about the "new rules in town":

How did Ronald Reagan's union busting tactics affect union workers of today ?

I'm not sure how many people remember the air traffic controllers strike in the 1980's but Reagan stepped in and essentially fired them all and hired replacement permanent workers. That one act set the ball in motion for union busting and began what we now see as diminishing workers rights. Reagan was probably the worst president for average working class people many of whom had risen to middle class status based on great union jobs that provided adequate living wages and decent benefits.
...
Reagan slashed taxes on the rich, refused to raise the minimum wage and declaring war on unions by firing air traffic controllers during their 1981 strike, Reagan took aim at the New Deal's proudest creation: a secure and decently paid working class.
...
Roughly a quarter of American workers belonged to unions when Reagan took office. When he broke the PATCO strike, it was an unambiguous signal that employers need feel little or no obligation to their workers, and employers got that message loud and clear -- illegally firing workers who sought to unionize, replacing permanent employees who could collect benefits with temps who could not, shipping factories and jobs abroad. Reagan may have preached traditional values, but loyalty was not one of them.

http://answers.yahoo.com/...

The latest Govt stats confirm this.  The Union Movement has been losing major ground, ever since Reagan, fired the striking Air Traffic Controllers, in the 80's:

Union Members Summary -- in 2007

[according to] the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.  Union members accounted for 12.1 percent of employed wage and salary workers, essentially unchanged from 12.0 percent in 2006.  In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1 percent.

(Emphasis Added)


Union membership has nearly been cut in half, since Reagan!

If the GOP gets their way, we will really be on the fast-track, of that greed-driven "race to the bottom", of the New Global Economy, brought to us courtesy of that Bush dynasty.



In addition to Michael Moore, here's another progressive thinker, who's is also advocating that Unions must be strengthened -- not weakened.  That America needs to "start making things again -- because that is the key to building real wealth:"

Countdown: Thom Hartmann on the GOP Busting Unions

http://www.youtube.com/...

Thom Hartmann:
David what [Obama] needs to do immediately is read Alexander Hamilton's 1791 report to Congress on manufactures. Hamilton laid out this six step plan to build an industrial economy in the United States and we followed it. We, Congress actually put into place in 1792 and it stood until Ronald Reagan came along and started deconstructing this
...    basically the founders laid this thing out. They had it figured out and it worked. We built the biggest industrial infrastructure and industrial economy in the world.

   We have gone, when Reagan came into office we were the largest exporter of manufactured goods and the largest importer of raw materials on the planet. And the largest creditor. More people owed us money than anybody else in the world. Now just twenty eight years later we're the largest importer of finished goods, manufactured goods, exporter of raw materials which is kind of the definition of a third world nation and we're the most in debt of any country in the world. This is the absolute consequence of Reaganomics.

thanks to Heather for the partial transcript


Thom Hartmann is looking to the Founders, for guidance, in these troubled Economic times:
[warning: geeky historical digression immediately follows]
-----
Alexander Hamilton - Secretary of the Treasury -- Dec 5, 1791  


REPORT TO CONGRESS ON THE SUBJECT OF MANUFACTURES
(pdf, excerpts)
as published in the Annals of the Second Congress, Appendix, 1793;

...

The cotton mill invented in England, within the last twenty years, is a signal illustration of the general proposition, which has been just advanced.
...
There seems to be a moral certainty that the trade of a country which is both manufacturing and agricultural will be more lucrative and prosperous than that of a country which is, merely agricultural.
...
Not only the wealth, but the independence and security of a country, appear to be materially connected with the prosperity of manufactures. Every nation, with a view to those great objects, ought to endeavor to possess within itself all the essentials of national supply. These comprise the means of subsistence, habitation, clothing, and defence.
...
In countries where there is great private wealth, much may be effected by the voluntary contributions of patriotic individuals; but in a community situated like that of the United States, the public purse must supply the deficiency of private resource. ... it is an advantage of great moment that the operations of this mill continue, with convenience, during the night, as well as through the day. ... To this invention is to be attributed, essentially, the immense progress which has been so suddenly made in Great Britain, in the various fabrics of cotton.

-----


SO ... Inventions, which increase efficiency & productivity, are the keys to real wealth, sustainable wealth, the "growing-the-pie" type wealth, according to America's founders, anyways.  That, and creating "value added" products.

I've heard Thom Hartmann, explain it this way, on his daily radio show on Air America:

... that real wealth doesn’t exist until somebody makes something.  A "service economy" is an oxymoron – if I wash your car in exchange for your mowing my lawn, money is moving around, it’s a service economy, but no real and lasting wealth is created.  Only through manufacturing, when $5 worth of iron ore is converted into a $2000 car door, or $1 worth of raw wool is converted into a $1000 Calvin Klein suit, is real wealth created.  He also notes that people being paid for creating wealth (manufacturing) creates wages, which are the principal engine of demand, which drives an economy.

(Emphasis Added)
http://www.thomhartmann.com/...



(Image by David Zinn)

Question: will Obama's plan for massive funding of the new "Green Jobs Economy" -- Will it result in America inventing and building "value added" products that the rest of the world will want to buy?
(or will it just result in make-work, in "busy work"?)

For the sake of the struggling "Middle Class" -- I certainly hope it's the first case, that is on the drawing boards of the new Administration!

Vibrant growing Economies are driven by Demand -- NOT by Supply-side "voodoo", No matter WHAT those Reaganomics cheerleaders may continue to spin!

Why has the GOP targeted Unions, as "the enemy" in recent weeks?

Because they desperately want to continue the failed policies of Reagan -- after all much the GOP's base, still has unbridled Greed, running through their "compassionate" veins.

BUT
Sooner or later the GOP will have to realize, that the Reaganomics Experiment has failed, miserably!

Soon or later the GOP, and their Ownership Society rhetoric, must be forced to take "Ownership their many Failures" -- [like Obama has called for, in his fiery rhetoric]

Workers DO Matter -- and WE deserve all the respect and benefits, that Unions have earned for us, over the last century.

Period!

Originally posted to Digging up those Facts ... for over 8 years. on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips (14+ / 0-)

    Tips for giving Worker, as real Voice in Washington again.

    And for deconstructing Reaganomics, while its legacy of failure, is plain for all to see.

    In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act -- George Orwell

    by jamess on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 04:49:16 PM PST

  •  Good diary but you posted it twice... (7+ / 0-)

    Please delete the extra diary.  Unions used to be the backbone of labor in this country and it will be one day again.  

  •  great diary (7+ / 0-)

    John Edwards said it repeatedly during the campaign, and it's still true: those great manufacturing jobs politicians love to talk about weren't so great before the unions.

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 05:23:47 PM PST

  •  on a related note (7+ / 0-)

    Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

    by desmoinesdem on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 05:26:22 PM PST

  •  What you won't read about Auto Bailout: (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PaulVA, poligirl, jamess, Dirtandiron

    During downturns in the market, it pleases Toyota and Honda to pay 100% of wages to workers who do non productive work in the plant or the community or receive training.

    Bloomberg News reported on October 8, "Idled Toyota Motor Corp. assembly- line workers in San Antonio are spending two weeks cleaning city parks, removing graffiti, painting benches and fixing fences instead of building pickup trucks." ["Toyota Texas Workers Scrub Graffiti as Factory Idles" By Alan Ohnsman 10/8/08 Bloomberg News]

    On December 12, CNN reported, "Honda spokesman Ed Miller said the cuts will take place at five of Honda's seven plants in the U.S. and Canada. Employees at the plants will be given other tasks or can take paid or unpaid vacation time, he said. No layoffs will result from the cuts, he said."["Honda cuts North American Production Again" MONEY.CNN.COM, 12/12/08]

    The Columbus Dispatch reported on December 13, that despite cut backs "employees will have the option to take unpaid leave or vacation, or report to work for non production tasks."

    Why?

    Because, ".....the idea of layoffs is contrary to the corporate culture at the Japanese companies." ["Honda, GM Slash Production" By Dan Gearino, 12/13/08 Columbus Dispatch]

    "The closest precedent might be 1993," reported Dan Gearino, "Amid another economic downturn, when the Marysville plant cut production of the Honda Accord by about 13,000, or 11 percent, according to news reports at the time."

    "Then, as now, Honda didn't lay off workers. Instead, it used the extra time for training."      ["Honda, GM Slash Production" By Dan Gearino, 12/13/08 Columbus Dispatch]

    The UAW was criticized for job security provisions in their contracts that committed the company to either train workers idled by production cuts, or utilize them in a non production capacity in the plant or the community. Congress demanded parity with Japanese transplants except in regard to job security. The idea of job security, or income as a right, is repulsive to American corporations and Congress.

    Under pressure from Congress UAW President Ron Gettelfinger agreed to suspend the Job Bank wherein laid-off "employees will remain in the plant or report to a designated location at 100% of their straight time hourly rate" [2007 UAW-GM National Contract- pg. 204].

    ~snip

    The idea of JOB Bank was originally introduced to the UAW by GM managers in 1984 as a ruse to persuade workers that boosting productivity would not cost them their jobs. Workers were promised "meaningful work" in exchange for any jobs that were eliminated as a result of cooperative initiatives to produce more with fewer workers. GM got the idea from the Japanese.

    Soldiers of Solidarity Live Bait and Ammo #120- Gregg Shotwell

    "Things will start to slide In all directions." - Leonard Cohen

    by wobbledon on Sun Dec 21, 2008 at 08:00:09 PM PST

  •  This is the stuff that affects our lives (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PaulVA, poligirl, jamess

    more than who is wearing a flag pin on their lapel or whether someone says "Happy Holidays" rather than "merry Christmas". Great diary.

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