Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker brings to mind the effort by corporations and the Republican Party to castrate unions, both public and private.
Companies do not want to negotiate on wages and benefits that affect the bottom line. Corporations have benefited from the North American Free Trade Agreement and the Central American Free Trade Agreement, but have compromised their intent by shipping jobs offshore (China, South Korea, India), which has diminished the need for American workers. Manufacturing jobs in 1970 accounted for 25 percent of the U.S. work force; today that figure is only 7 percent.
What's puzzling is that 65 percent of white factory workers, who are struggling to keep or find a job, voted for Republicans in the 2010 elections. They may not be union members, but the pay they receive and the reason they are considered middle class is because of labor unions that fought to improve wages and working conditions. For South Carolina, the BMW workers are a good example of non-union workers getting wages comparable with union workers.
Take away collective bargaining for union workers and the wage scale for all workers will decrease. If the trend continues, the spread between the haves and the have-nots will increase drastically and many workers will drop out of the middle class.
Digital Access for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Philip W. WolfeBluffton