Tuesday, November 25, 2008

How Union Card Check Could Help The Economy

Conservatives currently find it fashionable to whine about the power of unions after years of screwing the working class in the ass buy exporting their manufacturing jobs overseas so they could further exploit workers in third world republics and China. Having lowered the real earnings of most working Americans in the last decade by thousands of dollars they became millionaires by mismanaging the companies they ran.

In reality hasn’t incompetence, greed and selfishness been the earmark of this bunch. The unregulated financial system especially during the Bush administration was allowed to set up what was nothing more then an enormous unregulated Las Vegas style Ponzi scheme economy. While CEO’s leave the companies they badly mismanaged in ruins they are given millions of dollar in golden parachute payments. But this bunch still have the gall to question the pension benefits being received by some broken down autoworker who spent his entire life working each day so he could someday retire with security and dignity.

Most of these bum barons of industry were born with a silver spoon in their mouth. A good example of this is the lying weazel Mitt Romney who has the gall to call for the elimination of the pension benefits, which he diabolically calls "the legacy costs", of the unionized autoworkers as part of a solution to the auto makers current crash. Romey who's word means nothing forgets that these workers have a contract and have been promised retirement benefits in return for years of showing up at work and doing their job for what we now realize were incompetent brain dead employers.

The union members didn’t design the shitty cars or market them nor were they responsible for setting the fuel mileage standards. God know if the workers would have had the power to do that we may still have a viable car making industry producing viable products.

But that would be socialism won’t it?

The biggest injustice is the continuing conservative bitching about a bailout of the automakers that would literally save millions of working class and union jobs. Meanwhile billions of dollars are given to the banks and financial companies with hardly any strings attached. Being done in spite of overwhelming evidence that these institutions are mismanagement by the same incompetent people who are now getting the money.

Since this country really doesn’t make anything anymore we have a problem. We cannot create much wealth since we have nothing to sell to the rest of the world. Because there was no real increase in wages workers got in the modern habit of using the equity in our homes like a ATM machine, thinking the value of the home could only increase. Spending the money on shinny objects like high definition TV's and home espresso machines made in China. Clearly 70% of our economy is now based on consumer spending. Workers have now lost the ability to use their homes as cash machines as the value of their homes has actually plummeted or stagnated.

Consumers are beginning to realize the party is over.

But another way to help economic recovery is to get more money in the hands of American workers by increasing wages. This is where a viable labor union movement could play a part. If workers can increase their buying power with increases in wages then they will spend more and help the economy return to stability. Minimum wage increases are another way of increasing worker-buying power and should be immediately considered by the Congress.

Also organized labor’s attempt to impose card check, known as the Employee Free Choice Act, as a tool of organizing is important. It could be just what is needed. Card check levels the playing field and make it easier for unions to organize workers who want to have a union negotiate on their behalf for better wages and working conditions.

Having once been a union organizer I think I can make the argument here that card check is not the boogey man that the right and employers like to scream bloody murder about.

Of course there should be reasonable safeguards but workers understand that they should be able to sign a card indicating they want to have a union at there place of employment and if more then 50% sign a card their desire to unionize should be respected by government and the boss. Employers hate card check because it limits their ability to harass, intimidate and divide workers in the run up to a election that is the stock and trade of the current system of organizing.

Under the current system even if the employer is caught harassing, intimidating, firing or otherwise committing unfair labor practices against employees who want the union, under the Bush run National Labor Relations Board little was done to protect the employee. Which was the original intent of the law. Fearing a lack of protection because of a lack of enforcement of the laws governing labor organizing by the NLRB creates a chilling factor for employees wanting to form a union.

Employers are really arguing against card check by saying that workers are not smart enough to determine their own destiny without the benevolent hand of the employer completely controlling the situation.

Unions are democratic organization and some are certainly better run then others, but the bottom line is that unions do increase wages and improve working conditions for workers in the vast majority of situations where they represent workers. The also offer additional protection for workers who are easily exploited by unscrupulous employers.

Increasing wages and the buying power of workers can help with economy recover.

Remember, it it my experience that no well run company that pays a fair wage and really treats its employees well should fear a union card check organizing campaign. Employees in well run companies where employers treat them fairly seldom have a desire to join a union. Why would they?

No comments:

Post a Comment