Sunday, March 29, 2015

Clearly Unions Must Go!

Two indisputable facts in America:
1 – As unions’ numbers and power have gone down so has the average wage and future security of the American worker!
2 – With the decline of unions the wealth gap between worker and owner has skyrocketed.

You see when workers are not allowed to band together and form strong alliances they lose power over their employers and lose the ability to earn more for their labors! So clearly the divide and conquer strategy is not just for traditional warfare.

Now this might be spun as fair since the owners of a company are certainly entitled to make a profit and earn as much as they can from their original investments and-or ideas.
But did they do it alone?
Did they do every job necessary in order to make the product or perform the service they offer to their customers?
Did they keep all the records so that when it came time for the customer to pay there was an outstanding invoice on record to be reconciled?
Did they check the inventory and pull it from the shelves and ship it to fill orders?
Did they even open the doors and spend their entire minimum 9 to 5 day at the office making sure all functions of the company moved along smoothly?

Of course they were concerned with all of the above but they most certainly did not perform every aspect or function involved in running a successful business!  And if their employees decided, for whatever reason to walk off the job they might not have such a successful business after all.

After turning around the Disney Corporation Michael Eisner famously refused to take credit for the achievement pointing instead to the savvy leadership of each division.  Of course it was then pointed out that it was Mr. Eisner who placed those savvy people in place and for that he must take credit.
He reluctantly did but the point was clear, the ones who did the actual work did deserve much of the credit!

So why are the current owners and CEOs of many businesses treating their employees like slaves?
Why are they spending much of their time and effort with other wealthy businessmen and politicians in what appears to be a union to keep the wealth gap between themselves and their employees growing?

Could the answer be simple greed?
Could the answer be anything BUT greed?

Greed and power go together like a horse and carriage.
That I tell you brother, you can’t seem to have one without the other, at least not anymore in America.

The union busting that started in earnest under the watchful eye of King Reagan (sorry Republicans, I know he wasn't just a king but a god) has continued in earnest under such right wing puppets as Scott Walker, governor of Wisconsin and favorite tool of the Koch family.
And it is no surprise or secret that the Koch brothers want this college dropout to be the next President of the United States.
If he or any of their other ‘right wing’ conservative Republican friends gains the White House the American Middle class may disappear for good.

In case you do not know who the Koch boys are please Google the top 10 wealthiest people in the world and Brothers David and Charles are neck and neck with a total of around $100 Billion!
One might rightfully ask why such an incredibly wealthy duo is so hell bent on destroying others and gaining even more wealth.  There is actually no other answer than a sick personal need for more greed and power.

Some simple fun facts about the pair and their wealth:
At 75 years old David, who is 5 years younger than Charles could spend one million dollars a day, every day for the next 50 years and die at the ripe old age of 125 with an estate still worth over $31 BILLION!  That’s assuming he doesn't continue to gain more wealth along the way of course!
And at that rate of spending neither he nor his brother would have to worry about food stamps for the next 140 years!
So clearly they must continue to fight against the rest of us gaining fair wages, good healthcare and a solvent Social Security system in the somewhat shorter number of years we have left on Earth.

The fact that most Americans and sadly too many middle class voters don’t know these two megalomaniacs is due to their intentional low profile as they ruin the environment with their ‘clean coal’ products.

They have an admitted right wing agenda of getting rid of Social Security, Medicare and anything that could help the masses live more comfortably in their old age.  In fact Libertarian brother David ran for Vice President on that very platform in 1980.

The odd thing about this evil duo is that they spend millions to stop others from getting an extra dollar in their paychecks.  A vicious nonsensical tactic that takes money away from consumers who would only use the extra cash to buy products made by evil wealthy Mr. Potters such as the Koch brothers!
It's a wonderful life FOR ME!

Let’s view another area where unions could help the average man but are no longer able to and are under further attack in America.

Sandy victims getting reimbursed by insurance companies find that the evaluations of loss purposely left out sales tax and as a result they are in the hole for several thousands of dollars on repairs!
This was done since insurance companies can get away with nearly anything as a result of no true oversight! No union is in the side of the consumer and in order to hope to get back some of the money lost by their fraudulent actions the customer and complainant must sue! This aids the attorneys and the insurance company which drags its so-called feet for years or until the homeowner gives up or dies.

And this is another reason the right wing Republicans fought tooth and nail against a consumer protection agency and especially against its advocate, now Senator Elizabeth Warren.

And speaking of the insurance industry does anyone other than members of the current majority in Congress really believe this group of greedy impersonal bean counters gives one thought about the well being of humans?

In America you are required to have insurance to drive a car but nobody tells the insurance companies how much they can charge you or if they will pay you after an accident. (And of course it’s an accident, if it wasn't you would call it an “on purpose!”)

But I digress.

It is a fact that workers in America have seen their wages increase steadily over the last few decades.  But it’s also a fact that the increases have lagged so far behind the increased cost of living that in real dollars they are being paid less than they were in 1980 for more hours and higher productivity.
And that higher productivity means that the bosses/owners of the companies for which they work their lives away are enjoying higher profits and more wealth than at any time in this country’s history!
They are doing so at your expense!!

I know a particular company that will remain nameless for now that had the audacity to lower one person’s year-end bonus from $100 to $75 claiming to have had a ‘bad year.’ But they did manage to reward their children, who worked in the company AND THEIR WIVES who do not with matching BMWs during that same bonus period paid out of company profits.

Now of course it is their money and they are not obligated to pay any bonuses to the people who work and slave to make their businesses profitable so the lady who was rewarded with the $75 should have been grateful.  In fact she was because the cheap disgusting embarrassment caused her to come to her senses and quit.  She found a better job working for better people at a slightly increased salary shortly thereafter!

Sadly not enough workers have that option or they do not believe they can better themselves elsewhere.  This is because the business landscape is made up of more stingy greedy CEOs than ever before.  And that is simply because there are no unions with enough clout to stand up to them.

Witness Wisconsin.
Witness right wing run so-called Red States all passing “Right to Work” bills.
On the face of it the name of the legislation sounds like a good thing.  After all if you want to get a job what better place to do so than in a State that gives you the right to work, right?

But just like so many other right wing named groups the name belies the facts.

The right to work is meant to bust unions since it merely says, “You do not have to pay union dues to work in a company that has a union.”  In other words the right wingers are telling you to save your money and we will hire you.

But if enough workers avail themselves of this seemingly easy way to save some cash the unions will die out and the bosses will start lowering salaries and end benefits faster than you can say serfdom!

Many people in America are against unions because they are the groups that strike and cause the rest of us pain and hardship.  They are also the group that gets increases and as a result cause greedy companies to merely raise the price of their product rather than lose a penny in profits.  This then causes our cost of living to rise and the right wing is quick to point that out whenever there is a labor dispute.
“If the union wins we will have to charge more for our product and you may not be able to afford it anymore.”  (Of course we won’t be able to afford it, we don’t make enough NOW to afford it!)
“We may also have to close up since we will lose our profits and that will put many people out of work and n the streets!”
Management has been using fear tactics for so long if we didn't hear words like that we would start to wonder if we were still in America!

Unions are the reason we even have, or had a weekend!
Unions help create child labor laws.
Unions helped get women the vote.
Unions caused America to implement worker safety regulations, which are constantly under attack by the right wing.
 So clearly unions must go!  Don't take my word for it, ask Nicolas Kristof of the New York Times.

If more Americans would start using their heads and stop listening to political rhetoric aimed at fooling them into voting against their own best interest perhaps we could still save this great country and stop its headlong free-fall into an oligarchy.  They may not get it but the world already knows this to be true!

As unions fade into the sunset the only power left in the hands of the majority of Americans is their vote.  It has never been more urgent for all of us, every American to exercise his or her constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

If we cannot stop this trend then the next union to disappear could very well be the Union formerly known as the United States of America!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Worker's Lament

There is a mentality among too many CEOs and owners of companies these days that workers do not deserve to be paid fair wages.
I have basically worked for 45 years and except for my years as a commissioned salesman my salary has always been a bit lower than it should have been.
But I accepted what I was paid and stayed in line not wanting to cause too many waves.
But looking back I realize how often I did the bidding of managers 'above' me only to see them take credit for my work.
In fact at my last job I constantly corrected the grammar and even intent of letters sent by the director of my division and received nothing but more of the same for my efforts.
Then when the economy turned down and businesses had to cut costs (not out of their own pockets of course) I was laid off.
The funny thing is that a year or so after I was gone the director was let go as well!
I guess without me to correct his childish errors on important letters or create reports for him to sign his name to the company realized what a useless waste he was.
So this is for all the others out there who are or were in the same position as I was for decades.
I hope you will realize your own worth and not be so complacent just because you have a salary.  The grass may indeed be greener out there.
All you have to do is look!

There's no excuse
To take the abuse
While others reap the reward

Though it seems obtuse
I am not Zeus
And have no magic sword

While I enable
Those at my table
And receive occasional praise

My life's no fable
So in the end, while able
I get no decent raise!