Over on Writer Beat.com, I left a few comments for a post bashing labor unions, because I’m pro-union and proud of it, and I don’t care if the union is public or private. I was born into a family that lived in poverty with parents struggling to make ends meet working for poverty wages until my father joined a labor union with help from my godfather. After my dad joined the union, our lifestyle improved dramatically and my family joined the middle class. As a public school teacher, I also belonged to a union, and I know for a fact that without that union’s support, I would have been fired when I put the interests of my students first over high stakes tests and corporate education reform.
There is a lot of misinformation by the writer of the Writer Beat post bashing unions. For instance, he claimed that when Scott Walker became governor of Wisconsin and limited the freedom of the labor unions, the teachers got a raise—but that’s FALSE, because how does cutting nearly $2.6 billion from public education equal a raise? Instead of a raise, 1,446 teachers lost their jobs and a similar slaughter took place the year before. – wisdems.org
The Writer Beat Post also claimed that what happened in Wisconsin when Scott Walker won the election for governor was proof that national public polls are wrong about the public supporting public employee unions—Gallup conducts an annual poll to see if the public approves or disapproves of labor unions, and since 1936, the majority has approved of labor unions even though labor unions only represents about 14% of the country’s workforce. In August 2014, Gallup reported that 53% of Americans approved of labor unions versus 38% that disapproved, and 10% that had no opinion.
Although support for labor unions has declined from 72% in 1936 to 53%, it helps to be aware that for decades there has been an ongoing propaganda war in the media that has consistently attacked both public and private sector labor unions.
Source Watch.org reports that a right-wing political advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) founded by billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch, supported the election of Governor Scott Walker in Wisconsin when AFP purchased $700,000 worth of television ads in that state in addition to spending almost $3 million on TV ads in 2012.
Republic Report.org “broke down the figures for the last election and found that Koch groups alone spent more than double the combined political spending for the top ten unions combined.”
It’s also no secret that one of the wealthiest families on the planet are strongly anti-union—the Walton family. You may learn more from a report in The Nation that said, “Always Low Wages: Meet the Billionaires Who Run Walmart.”
In fact, the Waltons have gone as far as to close Walmart stores where the employees voted to bring in a labor union.” – Zero Hedge.com
What is the result of Walmart workers having no union? Forbes reports, “Walmart’s low-wage workers cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $6.2 billion in public assistance including food stamps, Medicaid and subsidized housing …” Walmart provides 1.4 million jobs. The fast food industry, another non-union sector that often pays poverty wages (over half of all fast food workers are on government assistance—$7 billion annually Kitchenette & Poverty nation), employees almost 4 million.
Continued in Part 2 on May 9, 2015
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Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
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