Crossposted from Hillbilly Report.
It is no secret that Republicans and even some Democrats have been waging war on our middle-class and our unions for quite some time. As a result we have seen wages stagnate, workers lose rights, and Corporate America run amok with rampant greed while pocketing huge profits, crashing the economy and being bailed out. This is no accident. All of these things have occurred within the war on the middle-class and all of these things have happened as a direct result of the breakdown of our unions and the loss of wages and rights which has taken place as a direct result.
Now with unions and working Americans at their weakest point in decades the war against them continues. Instead of demonizing the folks who have caused all the problems in our society and economy over the last few decades once again the organized worker who just wants to attain and build an American middle-class is under attack. Just listen to looney-tune Glenn Beck once again attacking our unions and the workers who strive to have an American middle-class:
So, why would folks like Glenn Beck have so many problems with unions?? I mean, unionized workers have seen themselves under attack for a long time now as the problem in this country. They have seen their numbers dwindle and across every demographic they have seen wages stagnate and workers rights be stolen. So, what is it about unions that folks like Beck find so offensive??
First and foremost, Collective Bargaining offers a chance for millions of workers to get out of poverty and be part of the American dream. This is particularly true for minorities and women:
By bargaining collectively, union members are able to negotiate higher wages. Union members earn 28 percent more than nonunion members. The union wage benefit is greatest for people of color and women. Latino union workers earn 50 percent more than their nonunion counterparts. Union women earn 34 percent more than nonunion women. For African Americans, the union advantage is 29 percent. The union advantage for white male workers is 21 percent. For Asian American workers the union advantage is 4 percent.
One need only look at the so-called "Right to Work" states to see the difference between unionized workers and those workers whose rights to join unions have been suppressed:
In states that have laws restricting workers' rights to form strong unions, the average pay for all workers is lower. So-called "right to work" for less laws that limit workers' rights to collectively bargain contracts (including wages and benefits) are a bad deal for all workers. In 2009, average pay in so-called "right to work" states was 11.1 percent lower than in states where workers have the freedom to form strong unions.
The facts show that not only are unions good for workers, but that they actually help economic growth by insuring that more Americans are able to have buying power by spreading the wealth more evenly to all Americans:
During the period 1945-1973, when a high percentage of workers had unions, wages kept pace with rising productivity, prosperity was widely shared, and economic growth was strong. Since 1973, union density and collective bargaining have declined, causing real wages to stagnate despite rising productivity. This decline in union density and bargaining contributed to the current financial crisis and severe recession, as unsustainable asset appreciation and easy credit too the place of wage increases most workers were not getting.
Not only that, but unions actually increase the productivity of the companies they are present in:
According to a recent survey of 73 independent studies on unions and productivity: "The available evidence points to a positive and statistically significant association between unions and productivity in the U.S. manufacturing and education sectors, of around 10 and 7 percent, respectively."
Some scholars have found an even larger positive relationship between unions and productivity. According to Brown and Medoff, "unionized establishments are about 22 percent more productive than those that are not."
And in fact, while non-unionized workers and their families must languish working hard below the poverty line, unionization as a direct result has pulled the workers with contracts above the poverty level for the first time:
Union members in low-wage occupations on average earn a great deal more than nonunion workers in the same occupations, often lifting their earnings above the official poverty level. For example, union cashiers in 2006 earned an average of $11.87—46 percent more than nonunion workers in the same occupation. Over a year’s time, having a union card could translate into more than $7,800 in additional pay for such a low wage worker. While the nonunion cashier’s earnings, on average, leaves a worker $3,746 below the poverty line for a family of four, the union cashier’s earnings, on average, brings the worker $4,075 above the poverty line for a family of four.
With the mid-term elections approaching fast I just hope once again that America is listening to the garbage that folks like Glenn Beck push for the Republican Party. The Republicans are telling you that you should just work for whatever they see fit to pay you. They are telling you that working families should live in poverty and while profits are skyrocketing for ownership that working America does not deserve a raise. They are telling you that the very folks you bailed out with your taxpayer dollars for crashing our economy are the only true Americans and that you should just shut your mouth and do what they say.
If working America buys this garbage then our country is indeed doomed. Doomed to turn into a mirror image of Dark Ages Europe where working men and women had no rights and no middle-class. If we truly value real American freedom it is time that American workers stood with each other against the real culprits who have destroyed our country and destroyed the real American freedoms so many millions flocked to the new world for. If we do not fight back against these folks soon the very fabric of American freedom will be torn to shreds in the name of an uncaring laissez-faire that our country put an end to.
It is time to take our country back from all of those who have sought to roll back the Enlightenment and destroy the first country ever founded on the ideals of that movement. Only then will our country once again truly be the land of the free and the home of the brave.