This page was last updated on July 9, 2018.
Unions fought to improve the lives of the middle class; Mike Cicconi (MC); Beaver County Times; June 28, 2018.
If Mike Cicconi (Center Township) is Michael Cicconi (Aliquippa), I reviewed his letter “Kane proven herself” (2/21/2013).
Below is a detailed review of the subject letter.
“I am a proud, dues-paying member of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace workers. I am able to continually better my standard of living for me and my family through collective bargaining.”
“No matter what challenges may arise, my union is right there with me to protect my voice on the job. If left up to CEOs and corporations, workers would not receive livable wages, safe working conditions, compensation for workplace injuries or the retirement security they’ve earned through their hard work.”
[RWC] According to the BLS, the private-sector union membership rate for 2017 was 6.5%. The public-sector rate was 34.5%. If union membership is so great, how does MC explain the low membership rates? If it weren’t for closed-shop laws in some states, including Pennsylvania, I suspect the membership rates would be even lower.
To some degree, I think labor unions were victims of their own success in getting legislation passed that covered things like “safe working conditions” and so on. As those laws were passed, employees had less need for labor unions.
I think another problem was the primary business of labor unions devolved into political advocacy/lobbying for leftist politicians and policies/programs. At the same time, labor unions became less relevant as private-sector membership over the years plummeted to 6.5% for 2017. I couldn’t find private-sector membership prior to 1983 (16.8%). Representing employees is now simply a fund-raising chore labor union management must endure to provide funds for its lobbying and political activities. Heck, AFL-CIO CEO Richard Trumka conceded as much when he said, “I got into the labor movement not because I wanted to negotiate wages. I got into the labor movement because I saw it as a vehicle to do massive social change to improve the lots of people.” The problem is, union management is overwhelmingly leftist but the rank-and-file membership is not. For example, an AFL-CIO exit poll for the 2016 presidential election showed “Union *households* voted Clinton 51-43” and “Union *members* went 56-37.” In contrast, of the $50.5 million union PACs donated to candidates during the 2016 cycle, 86% went to Democrat candidates and 14% went to Republican candidates. Why should any union member – regardless of ideology or politics - see a chunk of her/his paycheck go to political contributions?
“These same corporate special interests funded the Supreme Court case Janus v. AFSCME Council 31. Union busters bankrolled this effort to weaken unions and workers’ rights, so they can pad their bottom line. The American labor movement has fought too hard for too long and we will not be deterred.”
[RWC] MC forgot to mention the Janus ruling covered only government employees.
Here’s an excerpt from my review of the BCT editorial “Back in time” (3/3/2011).
“The editorial fails to mention FDR (patron saint of lefties) opposed public sector labor unions. In a 1937 letter to Luther C. Steward (President of the National Federation of Federal Employees), FDR wrote, “… meticulous attention should be paid to the special relationships and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government. All Government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service. It has its distinct and insurmountable limitations when applied to public personnel management.” Likewise, George Meany (first president of the AFL-CIO, 1955-1979) opposed collective bargaining for public sector employees. I’m surprised lefties haven’t tried to convince us Messrs. Meany and Roosevelt were really conservatives. When politicians negotiate with labor union management, they negotiate with people who will return part of what they win to the politicians via taxpayer-funded campaign contributions. It’s called a conflict of interest. There’s a reason 93% of labor union management PAC contributions to federal candidates (over $62 million) went to Democrat candidates in 2010.”
“The statistics show that unions significantly increase the standard of living for middle-class Americans. When working people are represented, wages are higher, mortality rates and poverty levels are lower, the number of work-place deaths dramatically decreases and health-care costs go down. I am able to provide for my family because my union negotiates on my behalf in my best interest.”
[RWC] It would have been nice if MC had mentioned the source of the data he used to make his assertions.
“Unions have fought for America’s working class, now working people need to fight for their unions.
“We have persevered through far more than a Supreme Court ruling and we will continue to fight for working people.”
[RWC] In case Mr. Cicconi knows something the rest of us don’t, all we have is two different interpretations of law. I have no reason to accept the AG’s interpretation over that of the Governor, or vice versa.
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