As Unions Weaken, the Public Pays
Unions––whose members died by the thousands in the 1870s fighting for an eight-hour workday––are dying in membership today due to public ignorance. Every year corporations demand upwards of $150 billion dollars in public tax breaks from states and cities competing to get their business. Meanwhile taxpayers have to reach deeper to pay police and teachers. Every year, corporations demand concessions, pressing union workers for lower pay and less benefits––fattening record corporate profit, which they hide overseas. Once again taxpayers make up lost revenue to pay fire personnel and pave over potholes. When corporations hold cities for ransom it’s called negotiation. When unions strike to make corporations accountable, conservatives slander them as thieves. Corporations spend billions to glorify greed, while rich shareholders steal the taxpayer blind with behind the scenes skullduggery. Corporations claim they sustain thousands of local jobs for years to come, but the price of falling wages is a lower standard of living. In 1970––one hundred years after unions fought the railroad barons for a decent wage––union membership accounted for 35% of the work force. Since the Reagan anti-union revolution, membership is down to 11%. Not only are wages stagnant, inequality throughout America is on the rise. The public needs to connect the dots. Corporations like Boeing with record sales and shares at an all-time high pay a lower percentage of taxes than the average shop clerk. You who unjustly condemn unions are boosting Boeing’s record profits by paying their taxes for them. Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA.