May 1, 2012

This May Day, Remember That Big Money Is The Reason American Workers Don’t Have More Rights — And Income

Today is May Day, a global day of celebrations in favor of workers’ rights — and the day that labor unions in the United States marked as their day of action to win an eight-hour workday. Yet as American unions and Occupy activists take to the streets to celebrate our hard-fought rights, it’s important to remember that the United States lags behind the rest of the developed world in its ultra-low unionization rate, with less than one in ten Americans belonging to a union.

In the middle of the 20th century, the percentage of American workers in unions was more than triple what it was today. As the following graph shows, as unionization in America collapsed, so did the middle classes’s share of national income:

The reasons behind this collapse of unionization — and with it, the American middle class — are many. From the spread of anti-union laws to the expansion of anti-labor trade agreements, the right of Americans to organize has taken a beating — largely from business interests who lobby against them.

But in 2009, there was a brief glimmer of hope for the labor movement. Members of Congress introduced the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would have made it much easier for workers to organize in their workplace without onerous restrictions or employer intimidation. The millions of Americans who wanted to join unions but were unable to would’ve had a fighting chance to organize.

Almost immediately, Big Money started spending against the measure. By the summer of 2008, business groups had assembled $100 million to spend advocating against EFCA. In the run up to the election, business Political Action Committees (PACs) gave “nearly five times more in campaign contributions than labor PACs did.”

Slowly, congressional support for EFCA faded, and after being watered down it was effectively taken off of the agenda altogether. In 2010, union membership in the United States fell to a 70-year low.

This May Day, as Americans celebrate organized labor and workers’ rights, they should remember that Big Money is responsible for the decline of unions and the American Middle class and that the only way to reverse the situation is to tackle the problem at its root — the corrupting influence of money in politics.

  • Pingback: My Skincare Routine Keeping Skin Healthy – Everyday Skin Care Tips « Skin cosmetics()

  • Flybum

    In general, Americans have become “well-fed” and lazy over the past 50 years, as unions created the comfortable middle class. Many people, especially the younger set have lost track of the need for unions assuming things will always go well. Now, I think they are beginning to wake up and realize that a “fair days pay for a fair days work” doesn’t come without the costs of the workers staying organized and protective of their pay and benefits. Organizations like A.L.E.C. are putting the middle class on the fast track to oblivion. Look at the figures if you don’t believe me. The one problem I have with the unions is their support of illegal aliens and the jobs that they are taking from tax-paying Americans. The AFL-CIO sees them as dues-paying members, but then an unemployed American is not a dues paying member, so why support illegals? I am in favor of a guest worker program where they can enter the country legally to work, but this should only be allowed if a serious attempt to find Americans to take the jobs fail. They should be paid on the same scale as American workers, but should return to their home country when the season is over or the jobs are needed by Americans.

  • Excellent article! With the demonization of & attacks of labor unions by the Right Wing, rational thinking people forget that the unions and their life of death struggle is what made the US the paradise many thought it was. Once they succeed in dismantling the unions and the workers right they brought about, the US will be no better than China. Perhaps worse because our banksters masters may not necessarily have sweat shops in mind for us serfs.

    • CatKinNY

      I’m afraid that the demonization has been so successful that it’s going to require the complete dismantling of all worker protections and the total impoverishment of most Americans for them to wake up. We live in a really stupid country. Half of us are far too ignorant to be able to see which side of the bread our butter is on. An epidemic of the elderly living on the streets and workers maimed on the job who are given a weeks pay, and a pink slip, in compensation landing in emergency rooms patrolled by bill collectors who take their houses and cars will be required for this nation to wake up and stop being distracted by stupid shit like abortion and guns.

  • Pingback:

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Cheats for Poptropica()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: Love Letters For Him()

  • Pingback: Trackback()

  • Pingback: acrocera ampherotoky cancerism()