The role of a public labor union regarding a state or federal budget has taken a dramatically nasty turn. Teachers, court officials, fire fighters, police officers are being told that their right to representation as they know it is gone. To the Republican Party it seems that they have created a national mandate to get rid of public employee unions to save money. It’s because the union worker is getting more and more greedy, state and federal lawmakers say is the reason state budgets are bloated and part of the reason we cannot afford to continue the status quo.
While it is true, labor unions do not as a first strategy offer cuts and concessions and who would? How many Corporate Executives look within theirselves first and demand that their wallets be cut to the same levels as their employees? A public sector worker’s salary compared to their CEO or comparable counterpart is roughly 4-6 times less…and lets not talk about private employees to the CEO which typically are 20-100 times less. Just because a group of workers pool their resources to advance their paychecks collectively, it does not mean that it is bad for society. Many economists will argue that unions do play a beneficial role for society as a whole. Think about this. How much demand is there for skilled workers like firefighter, police officers and teachers outside of the public workforce? Therefore the need for a collective voice is greatly needed to ensure effective and safe working conditions, training, salary and benefits, and a professional code of conduct and work ethic.
In Michigan, Governor Rick Snyder would give an “Emergency Financial Manager” for “Struggling” cities and schools the power to terminate labor union agreements and would give power to eliminate the state’s “Prevailing Wage” agreements on tax-funded projects. So our cities, townships and villages plus our local school districts are too stupid to negotiate on their own with the local unions? We are in an economic down turn. Unions are willing to negotiate on most items because they want to be able to preserve the core tenants of their binding agreements.
In Wisconsin where the battle for power started, the unions agreed to the list of concessions that needed to be met, it wasn’t enough. It was about power. Pure and simple. This Governor, make no doubt about it, wants to be the face of the Republican party…and the nominee for 2016. If this is the true stance of the Republican Party, which the National Republican Governors and the National Party have set up websites supporting Gov. Walker, what does this mean to the nation?
Business leaders and the wealthy will get an even lower tax burden while we look to break the backs of the working class and poor. Great strategy. The best way to build an economy is to tax to hell the people who can afford it the least, and give them nothing in return. In the meantime, have the people who can afford to pay their share in taxation, give them more of a tax break for what? To horde more money and take jobs out of the state or worse the country. There is something fundamentally wrong with this thinking.
We all understand that this country and most of the state and local governments are broke. We understand that concessions must be made. But concessions must be made all the way around. Our governments need to be fiscally responsible. Corporate accountability must be met. No longer can we continue to give corporations tax breaks who move jobs beyond our boarders. Upper, middle, and lower class members must collectively take a shared interest and taxation if we are going to get out of this recession. It can no longer be about me, it has to be about WE.