By John Kubinski
Postal workers, auto workers, teachers and even bakers have been widely criticized and blamed for a wide variety of offenses including costing the tax payers money and ruining America’s future. The truth of the matter is that these hard working members of the middle class are guilty of only one thing. They are all members of a union. The corporately owned media has offered up stories about union contracts being too costly and driving businesses to financial ruin.
There are stories that your tax dollars are being used to keep governmental services running even though they aren’t cost effective. Politicians insist that they can educate your children better than trained professionals. You are constantly bombarded with these stories over and over to the point that you might actually believe them. The truth is that these fabrications of reality are being force fed to you for one reason and one reason only. To discredit unions. It became very popular in the last election for both parties to rally for the middle class. If you are truly supportive of a strong and prosperous middle class, then you have to be supportive of strong and prosperous labor unions. It is historically factual that the two go hand in hand. Unfortunately not all politicians that claim to support the working class actually do. Politicians that rally behind the theory of “trickle down” economics and policies that benefit the wealthy so-called “job creators” have no evidence that their theories work. As a matter of fact it has been proven over and over again over the course of the last 30 years that “trickle down” economics doesn’t work at all.
Rather than providing facts and statistics to support their plan, they have decided to take another course. They have decided to silence the opposition. By vilifying Unions in the court of public opinion, these corporate backers turn worker against worker and persuade people to vote against their own best interests. It is a plan being enacted in regions all across this country. Most notably in Michigan. Governor Scott assured voters that so-called right to work legislation wasn’t even part of his agenda, but in a midnight session the state back-doored legislation into law . He claimed he did it to encourage manufacturers to bring their companies to his state. The truth of the matter is this, In the last election Michigan was one of the most coveted swing states. A state that is home to the automotive industry. The auto workers union rallied the troops and showed up at the polls and voted for the party that supports unionism. Rather than trying to find a way to appeal to workers, the state of Michigan decided to silence the competition and weaken the union.
The largest union employer in this country is the United States Post Office. You may have heard about their financial woes on the news or read about them in the papers. You may have read that due to increased use of the internet and other various technologies that the Post Office is becoming obsolete and that their financial situation is dire. You may have been led to believe that your tax dollars are being wasted on this relic of a system and that a better solution would be to privatize delivery service. Here’s the truth, The Post Office is and always has been totally self sufficient. Not one cent of your tax dollar goes to paying for the Post Office. It is true that the Post Office has seen a decline in use, but it’s financial situation isn’t about keeping the doors open now.
Their problem is paying the bills in the far future. Thanks to the United States Congress, the Post Office ( unlike any private business ) must have enough money in their employee benefit package to ensure payments up to 75 years from now. Thanks to this law the Post Office and it’s workers may be forced to cut back , causing thousands of middle class workers to lose their jobs. The Senate, in an effort to prevent closings, proposed a bill that would create an independent control board. This newly formed over-seeing committee would have the power to implement drastic cuts and even possess the ability to override union contracts. In other words, the government which created the financial turmoil would now have the ability to back out of negotiated contracts and fire workers who have done nothing but perform to incredibly high standards over the years. This is nothing but union busting. Even the notion that privatizing delivery would be more efficient is a farce. Private companies currently look to the Post Office for assistance in reaching rural areas .
Another widely reported story was the bankruptcy of Hostess. It was reported that due to a bakers strike the company was forced to close down. Many people were left with the impression that because the union workers were on strike for more money that they killed the twinkie. Here’s the truth, years of mismanagement and bad decision making led to the demise of America’s premiere snack company. Antiquated equipment, risky investments and operational mismanagement led to two bankruptcies. The union workers made many concessions over the years to try and save the company. Instead of taking the concession money and using it to better the company , management invested the money poorly, not only losing their investment but driving the company deeper into debt. When the debt grew to the point that it couldn’t possibly be paid back, management again went to the various unions looking for even more give backs. The bakers union finally said enough is enough and went on strike.The company went belly up. Hostess executives collected millions in buy out packages and left thousands of workers unemployed and gave the impression that the union was to blame.Poor decision making by those at the top caused millions of consumers to be without their favorite snack cakes but it was the worker that made them that paid the ultimate price. The truth is that corporate greed killed the twinkie.
Currently here in New York, Mayor Bloomberg has taken a stand against bus drivers and matrons forcing them to go on strike. The Mayor claims that the city can’t afford to continually pay union contracts and wants to offer up the busing contracts to the company that offers the most lucrative bid. The Mayor had the audacity to go on local news programs and say that the workers are striking against your children. Here’s the truth, the workers are looking for job security. These are highly skilled professionals that are entrusted with the most precious cargo imaginable….our children. Most of the high cost facing the city’s busing situation is due to changes made by the Mayor. Teachers are another union facing the wrath of Mayor Bloomberg, but he is not the only one attacking them.
It has been widely reported that our children rank 27th in the world in math scores. Politicians all over this country are screaming for teacher accountability and education reform. They are demanding that our children be able to compete on the global stage against countries like Singapore. They blame the teachers and their union for what they see as a miserable failure of our education system. Here’s the truth, the teachers union is one of the largest financial supporters of the Democratic party. It for this reason that big business and their political arm ( the Republicans) are attacking the teachers. Let’s look at this in a couple of different ways. First , this premise that our kids need to be able to compete with other nations mathematically so they can be able to handle modernized machinery is ridiculous. America is the richest nation in the world. Other countries work twice as hard to have 10 times less than we do.
The only reason corporations outsource jobs to foreign countries is to take advantage of the low wages workers receive . This in itself is a form of union-busting. The government has absolutely no desire to implement the measures necessary to compete with Singapore. In Singapore , the children attend classes 8 hours a day with no holidays . Their summer recess is only 1 month long and teachers are treated with high regard. But the biggest reason Singapore is so successful is the reason that we are not. Singapore invests 20 cents of every tax dollar towards education. The United States invest s 3 cents. The government and more importantly their corporate backers have no interest in making the country well educated. They count on the dumbing down of America to pass more laws increasing their power and wealth and getting those who actually do the work that earns the billions to fight against each other over inane social issues. They pit worker against worker and try to shift the blame of their mismanagement and poor decision making onto unions. In New York Mayor Bloomberg proclaimed himself the education Mayor and virtually assumed command of the educational system. He put in ridiculously high standards and made it seemingly impossible for educators to be successful. These teachers are responsible for our future. They see to it that our children are taught and that their young impressionable minds are open to free-thinking and creative growth. These people have the most responsible job we as a society can imagine and instead of being saluted they are vilified and made to be scapegoats in some political power struggle.
We need to stand together and support our fellow workers. We need to see that unions are groups devoted solely to protecting workers rights, even those that aren’t unionized. We need to be aware of the real motives of some of our elected officials. We need to realize that corporate interests are put before the interests of the people. We need to WAKE UP MIDDLE CLASS.