by Carl Finamore
Unlike the ninety percent of American workers who have only their own personal voice to influence their wages, benefits and working conditions, union employees use their collective organization to establish guarantees.
And, union workers come to negotiations very well prepared with lots of economic data, with each contract proposal “costed out,” and with the whole team backed up by a professional staff of legal and industry analysts. So, then, how is it that we still get hammered
In real dollars, wages and benefits have not risen since the middle 1970s. We know this, but it still doesn’t make any sense. Why haven’t things improved for most of us and how has the seemingly impossible happened with 95% of all new income since the 2008 “recovery” going to the top 1%?
To answer these questions properly, we have to go beyond just blaming offshoring and contracting out and dig deeper, right down into the heart of how finance capital operates today.
Aside from the fact that unions seldom use their most powerful weapon, the strike, and aside from the fact that even fewer unions ever mobilize and organize their biggest asset, the members, our biggest problem in bargaining is that labor’s financial analysis of corporations only touches the surface. It misses the vast bulk of corporate hidden wealth.
As it stands now, the Top 500 corporations come to the negotiating table after already having played most of their big money cards elsewhere, in the stock market – thus, earning the well-deserved moniker of “casino capitalism.”
In essence, CEOs try to squeeze every dollar they can from offshoring, contracting out, terminating pensions, keeping wages low and reducing the workforce, just so they can push more cash into funding their ultimate prize – buying back stocks and paying dividends. This is where the real money is for investors.
Labor economist Les Leopold explains it in his new book: Continue reading