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The Big Lie that is Behind the Trump/GOP Tax Bill

Absent union pressure, the bosses will never raise wages

But more importantly, if corporate managers and owners really cared about the shamelessly low wages paid to their workers, why would they for the last several decades have been aggressively lobbying to get the federal government to weaken labor laws as they have done so they could essentially crush the US labor movement, which today represents only 6.4% of private sector workers. That unionization rate compares to 35% of workers back in the mid-1950s, at a time when most union jobs were in the private sector — and when blue-collar workers were entering the middle class in droves. Now most remaining union jobs are in the public sector — federal, state and municipal — where the rate of unionization is still 34.4%. But public sector workers comprise such a small group over all that when combined, the unionization rate of all US workers in 2016 was a record low 10.7%, representing in total 14.6 million workers. And that is a smaller actual number of unionized workers than the number in 1983, the first year comparable data to today’s count was available, when a total of 17.7 million workers were in a union. But note that the total US population today is 27% greater than it was 35 years ago.

A 50-year uninterrupted year-on-year decline in unionization has been proceeding, by the way, despite polls that have consistently shown that most workers, when asked, say they would like to have a union representing them if they could get one. Despite generally negative media coverage of labor unions, even today according to the Gallup organization, 61 percent of Americans say they are in favor of labor unions, compared to 33% who oppose them. Clearly, if federal and state labor laws were not stacked against workers, who today (thanks to the efforts of both Republicans and Democrats in Congress and statehouses) can easily be fired for union organizing activity with no serious penalties on employers for doing so, unionization rates among American workers would be vastly higher than they are.

Trump, in his Monday speech outlining his National Security Strategy, claimed that his election had returned the governance of America to “the people,” and that it would now be acting in their interest. If that were so, a Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research poll conducted this year which found 54% of workers saying that if they could have a union in their workplace they would want to have one argues he and his Congressional lickspittles should be calling for labor law reform to make it easier to form a union and harder for employers to block organizing or to refuse to bargain.

Unions in the US, while they do engage in politics, exist primarily for one reason: to give workers bargaining power so they can get the boss to pay them better wages. Of course they defend workers against harassment on the job, fight for workplace safety and better working conditions too, but the big thing is using collective power to force employers to part with some of their profits to pay them better. And that is precisely why capitalists hate unions.

I laughed out loud when I was listening to a report on NPR’s “Marketplace” program as breezy host Kai Ryssdal did a piece on the “mystery” of why essentially “full employment” in the US was not leading to a rise in wages. The always cheery Ryssdal said that outgoing Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues professed themselves “puzzled” at this situation.



story | by Dr. Radut