Et tu, Michigan? Its unions aren’t powerless, but their influence is waning.
|Scooped by Greg Russak|
Here's a byproduct of the so called Right-To-Work laws I never knew: besides being a masterful bit of marketing in terms of its labeling, these laws have helped to move jobs from Northern states to Southern states and eventually to cheaper overseas markets.
In fact, the more I learn about them, the more I come to understand that they are anything but a vehicle to ensure anyone's "rights" or that there's work created by them for anyone. At least not work normally associated with what we fancifully recall as a middle class lifestyle.
As the New York Times op-ed piece entitled, "Workers' Paradise Lost" points out, union and non-union workers both benefit when unions are more powerful and influential. Corporations once literally had to compete for labor by offering good wages and benefits.
Anyone happen to notice, recall, or learn in their rapidly-disappearing civics classes about the wealth and prosperity the middle class in America enjoyed after World War II and up to about the late 70s and early 80s? (Bonus points will be awarded for naming the B-movie-actor-turned-president who launched the decline in earnest back then by firing federal union workers and being the willing mouthpiece and marionette at the end of Alan Greenspan's fingertips.)
Here's another new fact I learned from the Times op-ed.
The Taft-Hartley Act was pushed through in 1947 by "pro-business Republicans and Southern Democrats" in the immediate wake of the UAW's rise to prominence. This Act was how states in the South and out West were able to pass right-to-work laws and attract businesses away from their neighbors in northern markets with cheaper labor. I didn't know how it had gotten started and that it went back that far.
And what happened next and when corporations felt that the labor wasn't cheap enough in the South and West? What has been happening since the early 80s and as unions have continued lose their influence over elected officials, corporations, and thanks to years of vilifying by corporations and the GOP, even the influence unions and their members had with their neighbors? Where did business look for even cheaper labor? It wasn't on these shores.
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