Some 60 million workers say they would join a union if they could—but our labor laws, dating back to the 1930s, are skewed in favor of corporate giants who spend big bucks to harass and intimidate workers. And it works—after all, how many people want to lose their jobs? (Although, as I noted, it’s illegal to fire workers for forming unions, management does it anyway, counting on the fact that it often takes years for a worker’s appeal to wind its way through the regional and national labor boards and even the courts.)
A few years ago, we in the union movement began pushing for a bill called the Employee Free Choice Act that would level the playing field for workers and help rebuild America’s middle class and restore the freedom of workers to choose a union. (Get the details of the act here.)
Even in the unpleasant 109th Congress, we got 215 co-sponsors in the House and 44 in the Senate. But with a new, worker-friendly Congress, we now have 231 House co-sponsors—and the bill, H.R. 800, was introduced Monday night!
Then over at Digby's Place, we get some quotes from Ben Bernanke, the new Fed chair.
& then the obvious:Finally, changes in the institutions that have shaped the labor market over the past few decades may also have been associated with some increase in wage inequality. For example, unions tend to compress the dispersion of pay for jobs in the middle of the skill distribution. Thus, the decline in private-sector union membership over the post-World War II period -- particularly the sharp drop in the 1980s -- has been associated with an increased dispersion of pay among workers with intermediate levels of skill. The sources of the decline in union membership are much debated, and certainly long-run structural changes in the economy, such as the decline in manufacturing employment, have played a role.
No mention of Ronald Reagan. No mention of PATCO. No mention of a decades-long effort to throttle unions until they constitute just 7.4 percent of employees of private companies.
Now, you should go & find out if your congressman/woman has signed on as a co-sponsor. Dave Obey, my guy, has. If they haven't, you need to contact them to urge them to do so. If it wasn't for unions, we wouldn't have much of a weekend, now would we? & then decline of the middle class in America can be directly correlated, IMO, to the forced decline in union membership/representation. Please, no "corrupt union leaders, blah, blah, blah...." That's just way too easy &, clearly, just too Jimmy Hoffa.