Local politics, the county, and the world, as viewed by Tammy Maygra

Tammy’s views are her own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bill Eagle, his pastor, Tammy’s neighbors, Wayne Mayo, Betsy Johnson, Joe Corsiglia, President Trump, Henry Heimuller, VP Pence, Pat Robertson, Debi Corsiglia’s dog, or Claudia Eagle’s Cats. This Tammy’s Take (with the exception of this disclaimer) is not paid for or written by, or even reviewed by anyone but Tammy and she refuses to be bullied by anyone.

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I thought that UNION Labor would be an interesting Take for this week. This is a few things unions have done for the American worker and how unions made the middleclass and made the middleclass prosperous.

    1. Unions Gave Us The Weekend: Even the ultra-conservative Mises Institute notes that the relatively labor-free 1870, the average workweek for most Americans was 61 hours almost double what most Americans work now.

       2. Unions Helped End Child Labor:

       3. Unions Won Widespread Employer-Based Health Coverage:

       4. Unions Spearheaded The Fight For The Family And Medical Leave Act:

       5.Higher wages than their non-union counterparts,

       6. Protection from unfair workplace issues,

       7. Retirement packages,

       8. FREE Apprentice Programs,

       9. College credits.

       10. Holiday and vacation pay. And yet, despite the many benefits unions have provided for workers in the United States, right-wing politicians and business interests have for years sought to undermine the ability of Americans to organize, and to demand better pay, benefits, and conditions. From the anti-worker Taft-Hartley Act to the recent GOP-led efforts to kill public worker collective bargaining rights, these assaults have successfully decreased union membership over time. In the prosperous 1950’s, nearly one in three Americans was in a union. Today, it is closer to one in ten. As union membership fell from the 1970’s to the present, the middle class’s share of national income fell as well: WHY you ask, because of the false propaganda and because today’s nonunion workers have been brain washed by the GOP and corporate America. Start figuring it out people.

What do ice skating coaches, organists, public defenders and property managers have in common? The government has sued them all for trying to organize.  Corporate America has gained enough power in the American government that America’s own government is working against union labor and the middleclass.

To be fair; under both Democratic and Republican administrations, the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission have brought many suits against workers who have tried to organize to raise their wages. The DoJ and FTC have done so even as they have allowed corporate merging and domination across the US economy.

There is a “loophole”-independent contractors”--  American Workers classified as “employees” under federal law enjoy an antitrust exemption and can therefore bargain collectively through unions. But workers classified  or misclassified  as “independent contractors” cannot claim the same legal protection. Twenty million Americans, and growing, fall into that category. And Corporate America uses this loophole to control works and their ability to unionize.

Almost no group of independent workers and professionals are safe from the antitrust cops. For example; doctors are a generally well-paid, but are often at the mercy of a handful of powerful private insurance companies. Over the past 30 years, the FTC has filed numerous cases against doctors who attempted to bargain collectively with insurers.

Last year, the DoJ and FTC filed a brief in support of Uber and Lyft against a Seattle ordinance granting collective bargaining rights to ride-sharing drivers, who often earn hourly net incomes at or below the local minimum wage.

But then, the FTC publicly opposed an Ohio executive order that granted collective bargaining rights to home healthcare workers, was it because these workers are usually women of color, often live in poverty, and are vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse on the job. Is this a way to keep the poor poor by the corporate run government in a sneaky way?

This only proves the over-all powerlessness of American workers. Only 10.7% of wage and salary workers are members of a union, and in the private sector that figure is 6.5%. These numbers are expected to decline even more from the resulte of the Supreme Court’s latest ruling that public sector workers cannot be mandated to pay union dues, even if they benefit from a union’s collective bargaining. Many workers also have only a few employment options where they live so they too are under the control of the company. This makes it easier for the company to keep down wages and keeps their profits at record numbers. Corporate America has also thrown in more clauses  which work against workers. Approximately 30 million workers are bound by non-compete clauses that prevent them from leaving for better job opportunity.

The creators of America’s antitrust laws viewed worker collective bargaining as an important check and balance against business monopolies. One of the congressional supporters of the 1890 Sherman Act, a milestone of US antitrust law, described worker collectives as “not only lawful, wise and profitable, but absolutely essential to the existence of the commonwealth itself”. The antitrust exemption for workers holds that “the labor of a human being is not a commodity or an article of commerce”.

The GOP controlled Congress of today shows far less willingness to protect workers or to limit  corporate monopolies. In fact they protect corporations and demonize American workers and do everything possible to keep wages low, break unions, or prohibit the formation of new unions and punish the middleclass and poor. If Congress wanted, Congress could easily extend the antitrust exemption to independent contractors. But that will never happen because the GOP wants to control America’s workforce and keep wages low, if they actually extended the antitrust exemption it would cost corporations a pittance of their record profits.

The DOJ and the FTC has four new members, they could focus on fighting pharmaceutical mergers and broadband monopolies, instead of minimum wage jobs such as home health care workers and Librarians. Where will all of this go? It will continue to decline the wealth and power of the middleclass, which will revert the American workforce back to pre-union days and will only create hardship and poverty for most Americans.  

These actions being done by our corporate run government and corporations are simply a forum of total control over the populace. Their greed is nothing short of sinister. The American worker who hates unions should  stop and think what is happening to them and to future workers. It is time to wake up and fight the GOP and their corporate friends before it is too late.



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