Unions Benefit Americans

In America today, the wealthy right wing noise machine owns and operates both the vast majority of news media in America as well as the vast majority of politicians. They nearly unanimously support farther and farther to the right pro-corporate, anti-family, anti-worker, anti-unions candidates and then waste dead trees and pixels ridiculing any candidate that dares to stand up and defend the average working American. Unions, being the only real defenders of workers and families and their futures, are the right’s favorite targets and, according to the drug-addled, uneducated, deceitful little animals that try to pass themselves off as reporters but are nothing but propagandists for the wealthy and Corporate America, the cause of all of America’s ills.  The reality, as any thinking person knows, is that unions are all that stands between America’s workers and Americans becoming mere slaves.

The right has cut the taxes to the wealthiest Americans and corporations and, now that the revenue of the government at every level is dropping to depths that demand either raising taxes (called a “traitorous idea” by FOX NEWS and their corporate allies) or deceasing the very services that every American EXCEPT the wealthy and Corporate America depend on every single day of their lives. Thus,what is the right’s answer to these easily solved problems?

Well, the problems would be easily solved if every single American and every single corporation paid their fair share of taxes INCLUDING corporations like GE and BofA Exxon-Mobil and and 2/3 of the rest of America’s largest and most profitable corporations who paid ZERO taxes for the last five years or more. Make these giant criminal enterprises pay their fair share of taxes like the rest of us?  The revenue that just those taxes would bring in would equal or be greater than the deficits expected in 2012 even with two illegal and completely unnecessary wars being waged.  But you and I both know who owns America (hint, you never eat lunch with them) so fairness, equality and justice are no longer possible.

Instead, the rabid right, Corporate America, the wealthy and their mindless slaves in government demand that Americans pay vastly more than their fair share of taxes and give up everything that might possibly benefit them in any way.  They want us to pay far more (or give up entirely) our schools, our parks, our social safety nets for the most defenseless Americans and now they want to attack our Social Security and Medicare.  Finally, they want to attack and dismantle the institution that has provided Americans the power to demand almost ALL of the benefits it enjoys but seems so slavishly willing to give away, unions and organized labor.

The airwaves and dead tree editions of mindless, right wing hate are filled with attacks on unions and how they are suddenly the cause of every single problem that America faces.  Sadly, I hear even union members whining about how unions are destroying America while taking home their hard earned and well deserved paychecks and availing themselves of the many benefits that their unions have worked so hard for so many years to provide for them.  Those benefits don’t stop at the unions doors, either.  Even if you don’t belong to a union (and the only question is why you don’t) you still enjoy a LONG list of benefits that unions have won for their members that worked their way into your every day life.  Want a short list of the benefits that unions have provided for you regardless of whether or not you worked to acquire them?

Here, thanks to the AFL-CIO and the Economic Policy Institute (EPI), are just a few of the reasons that unions are the best thing that ever happened to the American workers.  Read this carefully and imagine America without the protections and benefits of unions and organized labor.

How Unions Help All Workers finds:

  • Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20 percent and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by roughly 28 percent.
  • Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers often follow to prevent unionization. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but who works in an industry that is 25 percent unionized is paid 5 percent more than similar workers in less unionized industries. Unions’ beneficial impact on total nonunion wages is almost the same as their effect on total union wages in highly unionized sectors.
  • The most sweeping advantages for union workers are in health coverage, retirement security and other benefits. Union workers are more likely than their nonunion counterparts to receive paid leave, are 18 to 28 percent more likely to have employer-provided health insurance and 23 to 54 percent more likely to be covered by employer-provided pension plans.
  • The health coverage union workers receive is far more comprehensive than that of nonunion workers. Union workers pay 18 percent less in health care deductibles and a smaller share of costs for family coverage. When retired, they are 24 percent more likely to have employer-paid health insurance.
  • Union workers have better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28 percent more toward pensions.
  • Union workers get 26 percent more vacation time and 14 percent more total paid leave (including vacations and holidays) than employees who lack a union voice at work.
  • Because unions are especially effective at raising wages for low-income workers, they play a powerful role in reducing income inequality.
  • Unions historically played a pivotal role in securing legislated job protections and rights such as safety and health, overtime and family and medical leave—and then in enforcing those rights on the job. Unions act as ongoing intermediaries, providing a necessary shop floor complement to legislated benefits and protections.

So, while you sit at home on your weekends, wishing that you had even a few of the hard earned benefits that unions provide their workers and, by extension, to you and your family, ask yourself, this simple question, “Exactly what benefits would my employer provide for me if it had not been for the lives and hard work that the last 100 years and more of unions and their members?  What would my salary be?  How safe would my working environment be?”  Or, better yet, ask yourself, “Do I want healthcare, a decent salary with wage protections and 40 hours of honest work a week with overtime paid at the legal rates of time and a half or double time?  Do I want to know that I will still be paid and still have those benefits if I become ill or are injured on the job?  Do I want to know that my many years of hard work, earning profits for my employer, will be repaid after 20-30 year or so with a decent, living wage retirement?”

Unions made America strong into the 80s.  Republicans (and the Republicans that ran as Democrats like Obama and Pelosi and the rest), the far right, the wealthy, Corporate America and the almost complete control they have over the media has taken just over 30 years to destroy the vast majority of those protections by making it profitable (and using your taxes) to move your jobs overseas, to remove every protection for workers and to nearly eliminate any small benefits that every single worker DESERVES!

Do you like that?  Do you think that’s fair?  Do you think workers deserve equal treatment under the laws as corporations and the wealthy?  Do you want a future?  Do you want a future for your children?  As a 31 year proud retired member of IBEW Local 18, I’m telling you that you want unions and you had better get busy yesterday writing to your political animal (and getting rid of any that maintain their loyalty to the wealthy and NOT YOU), you’d better start speaking out and standing up.  You’d better do something or your children will despise you for your laziness and stupidity and the fact that you left them living a Second or even Third World country.  Your choice.  Always your choice.



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