GOP war on organized labor

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GOP war on organized labor

Post  topgroove on Fri Apr 06, 2012 3:34 pm

It is obvious now there is a full court press by Republicans across the country to destroy organized labor among public employees. To hear the GOP, these public servants – teachers, fire fighters, police officers, public works employees, criminal justice workers, etc. – are some sort of privileged elite. Make no mistake about it; this is nothing but a cynical attempt to destroy the one social community that can prevent the Republicans from fulfilling their dream of a one-party government. Am I exaggerating? No. Just look at history.

Adolph Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany through the manipulation of rich German industrialists. The first thing he did was to outlaw independent labor unions. He knew the only groups in Germany that could muster opposition to his plans to dominate the German government were the unions. In abolishing these unions, he portrayed them as puppets of the communists in the Soviet Union, and a danger to Germany. Ironically, the Soviet Union also abolished all real labor unions, replacing them with worker unions that were little more than fronts for the centralist government.

Today’s attacks against labor unions, as in Germany, are being financed by American – and, in some cases, foreign-owned – corporations who want to destroy the American middle class and return the country to what Mark Twain called the Gilded Age of Republicanism, the era of the late 1800s when the GOP virtually controlled this government. It was an era when workers in this country had no rights, the vast majority of Americans lived in poverty, and the small number of elite rich – the Robber Barons – did whatever they damn well pleased, including murdering their own workers. In this most recent attempt to destroy organized labor, the corporatists and their Republican shills are trying to pit non-union workers against unionized workers.

Non-union American workers, instead of being jealous of higher paid union workers, should support those who are today protesting the attacks on organized labor in Wisconsin and elsewhere. What benefits union workers, benefits everyone. And when unions disappear, oligarchies – or worse – reign.

Since Ronald Reagan became president in 1980 and began the right-wing’s war on labor, union membership in the private sector has virtually disappeared. What is left of union membership is primarily in public service jobs. Republicans portray these workers as over paid and having too many benefits.

It is true that union members are paid better than non-union workers. That’s the benefit of organized labor and bargaining. It is also true that the better union members are paid, the better everyone is paid. Union wages and benefits set the bar for wages and benefit for everyone else. From the 1930s to 1980, American wages increased nearly every year, reaching their peak in 1979 when overall union membership stood at about 35 percent of the workforce. This created the American middle class, and reduced the rate of poverty in the country.

In the 30 years since Reagan declared war on unions by firing striking air traffic controllers, U.S. union membership has drop about 68 percent. In the same period, American wages have declined some 30 percent – a direct response to the decline in union membership. During this same period of decline for U.S. workers, jobs also declined, shipped overseas as another means of killing off union membership. The middle class shrunk while the growth of poverty in the country has mushroomed, doubling in just the eight years George W. Bush was president.

At the same time the GOP is attacking workers, they are falling over themselves to cater to the wealthy elite of the country and the corporations they controlled. Thanks to the Republicans – and some Democrats – few corporations in this country today pay any taxes at all, and some receive tax rebates despite record profits. It is not a coincidence that the amount of the ginned up state budget deficit in Wisconsin nearly equals the $140 million Gov. Scott Walker gave out to local corporations in tax cuts.


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topgroove

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