Las Vegas Sun

July 6, 2015

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Letter to the editor:

Destroying unions helps corporations

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For over 50 years, I worked without joining a union. During that time, I was ignorant about the history of unions and didn’t know that the unions had fought extremely hard for middle-class workers, union and nonunion.

Today, the middle-class worker is vanishing right in front of our eyes, and so are the unions.

Many people speak of the unions with disdain. I believe some public-sector unions with their outrageous salary and retirement benefits recently exposed in the newspapers have soured people on all unions. Think Las Vegas police and fire departments.

Granted over the years, the private-sector unions have caused many of their own problems and image issues. We cannot compare today’s union with the union that existed 50 years ago. Unions are not trying to restore the good old days. They know that is not possible. The new United Auto Workers contracts are the best example.

Today, we need to reverse the decline of the middle class and its stagnation over the past 30 years, which coincides with the decline of the unions. This decline isn’t an accident; it’s because the unions have come to represent every middle-class worker, union or nonunion.

There has been a plan crafted by the wealthy, the corporate heads and the Republican Party to destroy the unions and the middle class. The financial gains realized by destroying union after union have all gone to the union destroyers. Corporations would be happy to have everyone work for minimum wage or less. What a scam!

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  1. Unions lost the fight and their members when they came to believe that collective bargaining is a right. It's not. It's an earned employees' privilege.

    Carmine D

  2. Right on target Mr. Starr, well said.

    Since the slow recovery of 2008, the upper 1% gained 93% of the wealth while the working and middle classes entered a new era of poverty. Soon there will no longer be a working class with any purchasing power at all. At least Henry Ford was smart enough to pay his employees on a scale where they could purchase his cars.

  3. One would think that the shrinking of the middle class and their stagnant wages would have some rethink their rhetoric about unions. But noooooo! While we've gone from a manufacturing society to banking, the fat have gotten fatter, and too big to fail is even bigger. Eventually those with little forsight will be bitten in the arse and I wonder even then will they see the light or hang onto a ideology that failed the real working class of this country not the "vulture" capitalists.

    "Issue of currency should be lodged with the government and be protected from domination by Wall Street. We are opposed to provisions [which] would place our currency and credit system in private hands." -- Theodore Roosevelt

  4. "Issue of currency should be lodged with the government and be protected from domination by Wall Street. We are opposed to provisions [which] would place our currency and credit system in private hands." -- Theodore Roosevelt

    Yeah, nice quote. So, just who was responsible for the two longest and most devastating economic declines in U.S. history? Who made it possible to fund the imperialistic wars on foreign soils without congressional declaration? Who is it that has created the unsustainable bubbles, the wage stagnation, the devaluation, the 1%, and the gargantuan debt in the 40+ years since old Dick closed the window in '71?

    If everyone could desist with the ideological pap for a microsecond, we might experience a "real" enlightenment.

  5. The middle class is declining to merge with the lower levels. When we give it all away to those who refuse to work enough, we have less left for ourselves. We give away so much that the "rich" can't pay for it all.
    Nice post Vegas Pat. They don't believe me when I try to tell them that military spending is a big part of the problem. Debt. Illegal immigration. Unsustainable bloat in programs--K-12, Welfare, Food Stamps, higher ed...

  6. Comment removed by moderator. Reply to removed comment.

  7. Roslenda@6:20,

    Thanks. Ya know, my mind absolutely boggles when we hear all of the lamentations of the economic problems we are facing and the widely varied opinions about causes and cures--which I see as being one and the same. The policies that create the very problems that serve to impoverish us are, in the same breath, fallaciously touted as being vital to the continued viability of the system. e.g., it is necessary for protecting American businesses and citizens--through currency manipulation--from foreign competition while at the same time it is the very cause of international tensions which necessitate the amounts spent on the military. And this is just one example.

    Without gov't-monopolized control of a purely fiat currency, none of this current economic malaise, inequity, and impoverishment would be possible.

    Yeah, in the long-run we're all dead. What a pathetic consolation. Wake up America!

  8. The data has been charted many times and is very clear: the decrease in unions is accompanied by a decrease in employee income. The additional cash goes to the preferred stock holders and 'owners', not the employees.

    The 'entitlement class' are those that feel they have the right to an income because they have money, not by creating jobs or doing any creative development. Theeir days are spent researching personal investments and acquiring exclusive information used to increase their wealth.

    The entitlement class feel it is their right to profit from those who create the wealth. Slavery is the final step in maximizing profit by the entitlement class that demands the best life by demeaning those not fortunate.

    Part of the money goes into off-shore banking institutions to hide income and military service is left the children who can't afford an education. They feel this is their right.

  9. Dave Starr,

    I think many of us, not as far to the left as you, have no problem with private sector unions, as long as joining is voluntary. Management and the UAW, together, almost destroyed the US auto industry by instituting wages and work rules that made their industry non competitive. That was a private industry and both management and the unions decided to do what they did. It wasn't a great long term strategy but it worked for awhile.

    The problem I think many of us have is unions in the public sector. No matter how non competitive salaries, benefits and work rules get, management (our elected officials) have zero reason to fight them. Their positions are rarely at risk, the public sector can't go out of business and it has no competitors and its customers (the public) can't take their business elsewhere. Unions do not belong in the public sector. Even FDR recognized this and said so.


  10. When the United States decided to shift from production/manufacturing to "service" industries, and fling open our border gates, that was the beginning of the end of the Middle Class.

    Unchecked population expansion equals increasing indigents and less productive individuals paying INTO the system to keep the books balanced. Commenter Roberta Anderson does offer some valid reasons why our country, its ethics, its integrity, has spun out of control.

    Greed and power is the root of the problem. When politics is the driver, government-empowered corporations and public organizations become too big to fail, and we have a problem. For decades of years now, I have witnessed people stepping on top of the other climbing that celestial career ladder that promises them if they sell their soul, family, and friends, they will reap the rewards of more money and more power. How has that all worked out?

    You end up with the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg? When we dive into history, unions came into existence because of cruelty and exploitation of workers by their profit-hungry employers. Unionization originally served to protect workers, striving to keep them safe and fairly compensated. Over the years, unions have evolved into something barely recognizable, sad to say. What is recognizable, is that corporations are making record profits, shifting financial assets overseas, and crying poor. Never before in history, have corporate bosses made the exorbinent compensation packages as they do now, all the while, their very own workers live with less. The wealth is NOT being fairly distributed. Our current societial culture condones being "filthy rich" in its music, movies, literature, and practices. Only a small segment (think Occupy) are standing up and being vocal about the lack of ethics and morality of those "to big to fail".

    Until our political representatives deal with our economic problems with integrity, we will continue to see the wasting away of what was strong Americans. Workers deserve fair treatment as does the employers. Workers have their Unions, and the employers have (and can afford) their panel of attorneys and lobbyists.

    Blessings and Peace,

  11. I worked both unionized and non-unionized jobs over the years. I was most happy, satisfied and full-filled when I worked as an independent contractor and on commission, rather than as an hourly or salaried employee. As an idependent, I was always paid exactly what I was worth and I loved it. I know many are too frightened to do so. They have little confidence in their own ability and want to be a part of a "protected" herd. That's fine with me, but I never liked to be taken for granted, button-holed and treated like cattle or a programmable robot. That's unionism in a nutshell. Do excellent work and get paid just as much (or little) as the slacker on the line next to you. That's also Socialism in a nutshell. That never suited me. Never will.