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Government Promises to Cut Social Security in Urgent Compromise

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Friday, February 25, 2011

It’s official, national austerity measures are here!  As Wisconsin protesters fill the streets because of lost rights and benefits to workers, the nation is gearing up to face similar losses with social security being cut.  Comedian George Carlin warned us that this day would come:
GEORGE CARLIN: Who really controls America?

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Some Thoughts On Union Busting

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Dan Martin (c)copyright 2011 All Rights Reserved

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Listen up, Gilligans.

Okay, it is only fair to begin with a few definitions.

Gilligan: one whose every action reeks of incompetence. [from TV: “Gilligan’s Island”]

Degree: an academic award conferred by a university or college on successful completion of a course.

Labor: term used both for the effort of performing a task and for the workers engaged in the activity.

Collective bargaining: A method of negotiation in which employees use authorized union representatives to assist them.

Leadership: a mechanism for integrating group activity, in which an individual or part of a social group plays the role of leader – that is, unites and directs the actions of an entire group, which expects, accepts, and supports the leader’s actions.

You 30 and 40-somethings who think a degree automatically confers leadership attributes should go back and rethink the equation.

Many of you have spent more time in the classroom than out in the real world gaining valuable experience.

I have never forgotten a lesson learned in NROTC training: “Think you are a leader? Remember to look over your shoulder every so often to make sure you have followers.”

From the last quarter of the 19th century, the condition of most manual labor has improved slowly in industrial countries through organization, permitting collective bargaining with employers and successful pressure on governments for protective legislation. In fact, the term labor is today most frequently used to signify organized labor.
The eight-hour workday, suitable working conditions, decent wages, and health benefits are just a few examples of benefits the union movement has won for everyone in America, even if they do not belong to a union.

Something I have always taught in my Intro to Computers courses is: “If it makes sense, try it. If it doesn’t, don’t.”

Trying to balance the budget by restricting or eliminating Collective Bargaining doesn’t make sense. Don’t try it.

Leveraging the auto industry bailout……or, How to use corruption to break the unions

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bank_dees

The auto industry just like the financial industry is rife with corruption, greed and high paid executives who long ago forfeited any allegiance to their own country.  The auto industry, just like the financial industry, is bloated with global elitists who despise our country.  Money, power, absolute greed and control have replaced allegiance, loyalty or any sense of obligation. 

The demand from auto industry executives (and it was a demand) that they be bailed out was an outright attempt at black mail.  Having failed to keep up with competing foreign producers and having continued to produce gas guzzling monster trucks and cars rather than lead in any innovation, the execs made plain that if they are not handed a big wad of cash…immediately….we’re all going down the tubes.  All…meaning you and me…but not them.

I had assumed this corporate entity that masquerades as our government at all levels would have simply acquiesced and doled out billions more in debt money leaving taxpayers once again holding the bag.  For some strange reason this time they want a [plan].  This time, they weren’t so sure that a bailout was the answer and they cited the lack of critical information from the auto makers as to why they needed the money and what they would do to correct this failing industry.  I was totally shocked!  Then reality set in……..

Why would congress,… after handing out what will amount to trillions upon trillions of debt dollars, tax dollars, to corrupt financial institutions while failing to demand any oversight, any regulation on how this money was to be portioned,… suddenly be wanting a plan from another group of very rich executives who have caused another industry to fail? 

The answer came today as the flood of emails into my box piled up.  It isn’t the executives who failed to keep up with environmental concerns and innovations in technologies; it wasn’t that these companies had failed to keep themselves competitive by continuing to produce inefficient auto’s;  it wasn’t the millions and millions of dollars they took in pay and bonuses all the while knowing their respective companies were failing.  It wasn’t even their arrival on horrendously expensive private corporate jets (can’t have this kind of royalty flying with the common folks!)…….It is the UNION.  That’s what did it!

We have had eight years of hard core union busting and now the Democrats, once champions of unions, have jumped on the free market, free ride for the big guys, band wagon.  This is it in a nutshell.  The auto workers union is one of the largest, if not the largest in the country and they are going to bust this union or leave these workers high and dry and living in a box on a street in Detroit.

I knew this sudden sense of critical thinking, of rational planning had to have some other purpose.  Once this union is taken down the money will flow from congress like water over Niagra Falls.  Competitiveness will translate into low wages and no benefits.  Another sector of well paid workers will fall into the “barely above the poverty line” class, and the auto industry will continue to produce the same things it does now; only they will have our money and the prices of their outdated auto’s will remain too high. 

Unions formed in response to businesses forming trade associations that actively worked to keep wages low and hours long while profiting from what amounted to human slavery.  It was unions that forced companies to pay better wages, to limit working hours to less than 12 or 15 hours a day, every day of the week.  It was unions that made workplace safety a priority.  And it was the unions that caused the rise in wages across the country bringing many out of poverty. 

I realize that unions have also suffered from their fair share of corruption.  But here again, it has been the leaders of the unions, just as it is the leaders of predatory lending institutions who committed the crimes.  Union leaders who are corrupt are no different than corrupt CEO’s, yet we will disparage the one group and watch the other pamper themselves at a spa.

This latest bailout demand is less a financial need than it is an overt attempt to bust the union.  It was just too much to hope for that congress would do the right thing simply because it was the right thing.  And this time, its only a few hundred thousand American workers that will be directly affected by these companies folding.  And these aren’t those all important Wall Street workers either.  These people are blue collar workers and surely not worthy of any special treatment…..at least not the kind the Wall Street crooks and thieves got.

The whole intent of the “free-market, no regulation, no oversight, job off-shoring, tax dodging, don’t tax us we’re a corporation” crowd, is to dismantle the job market, break the economy and kill off the jobs.  That way when they come back around offering to pay you one dollar for the job that previously paid you ten dollars…you’ll take it.  By then you’ll be hungry enough, cold enough and desperate enough to think its a good deal. 

(C) 2008 Marti Oakley

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