Wednesday, February 19, 2014

"The Middle Class anchored to the Bottom!" (the new) "What Now Cartoon"

In 1974 the steady rise of American workers wages that had been underway since the end of WWII. Twenty five years of prosperity suddenly came to a screeching hault.  No one realized it then, but that was just the beginning of a 40 year slump that sadly is still underway.  Globalization, the decline of unions, consolidation leading to an age of monopolies we have not seen since 1929 have contributed to this Middle Class decline.  At the same time the fortunes of the 15 have taken a sharply different upward turn. Are the forces of Globalization inevitably going to raise the incomes of the few and depress the incomes of the many?
We need a new vibrant Union Movement, before it's too late.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

The Minimum Wage would be $21.72  if it had kept up with productivity. 
 If it kept up with the rise of the 1%'s income rise, it would be $25.18!  
 If it had only kept up with inflation, the wage should be at  $10.52 today.
In the years between WWII and 1968, productivity and wages grew together
 at a steady pace.  Since its peak  in 1968 the minimum wage has fallen behind.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Labor History Down The Memory Hole!

 The Shanker Institute report surveyed four high school textbooks — The American Vision, American History, The Americans, and American Anthem — published by major publishers that make up a “significant” portion of the American textbook market and found serious deficiencies in the coverage of labor unions.  Here are some highlights from the report:
The Role Of Unions In Winning Broad Social Protections Is Overlooked: The textbooks surveyed failed to record the history of American unions using their political clout to win social protections for all Americans. This overlooked advocacy includes activism on behalf of the “Progressive Era and New Deal reforms, such as the Social Security Act of 1935, Medicare, Medicaid, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Environmental Protection Agency.”
The Role Of American Labor In Battling Human Rights Abuses Abroad Is Ignored: The report notes that the textbooks surveyed failed to mention the “the important role that the American labor movement played in support of the establishment of free and democratic trade unions in post-war Western Europe.” They also ignored the role that unions played in allying with the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa or “numerous other efforts to support free and democratic unions as a bulwark against totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.”
Labor’s Role In Winning Civil Rights Is Ignored: One of the major omissions of these textbooks is overlooking the role that unions played in the civil rights movement. The contributions of labor leaders to these movements are ignored, and the labor advocacy conducted by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is barely covered. There is no mention in any of the textbooks, for example, that AFL-CIO president George Meany paid $160,000 in 1963 for bail to release King and 2,000 other civil rights demonstrators from jail.
Anti-Union Behavior By Employers Is Glossed Over: The report finds that the textbooks largely ignore the “history of aggressive and at times violent anti-union behavior by employers.” These abuses are “neither addressed as a significant legal problem nor is it analyzed as a serious denial of First Amendment rights.” For example, The Americans praises Andrew Carnegie’s and John D. Rockefeller’s business successes but fails to note their anti-union behavior.
Major Strikes Are Misrepresented: Historic strikes are “treated as costly failures, as violent, as lacking public support and backfiring against unions.” The “role [of the employer] in provoking strikes through prolonged, unrelenting worker abuse, and employers’ attempts to suppress strikes, often through illegal and violent means, are glossed over.” For example, American Anthem praises Reagan’s firing of PATCO workers, calling it “decisive.”

Read more here.....