The assault on public sector unions and unions in general is troubling on several levels. We are speeding toward a government whose policies and tax expenditures are controlled by businesses and the wealthy. These policies place a heavy burden on lower-income and middle-income Americans.
Eliminating collective bargaining for workers means management will hold all the power. Is this really what we want? While unions work for fair wages and working conditions, corporations work to make the most money for their shareholders.
Collective bargaining helps bridge these two opposing philosophies. There is an argument that union pay is too rich. Does this mean that CEO compensation at 263 times the average worker pay is not?
According to the Institute for Policy Studies, while CEO pay fell 9 percent in 2009, the benefits rose 23 percent. Interesting, too, is that, according to a Glass, Lewis & Co. report titled "Pay Dirt," the average compensation for CEOs at underperforming companies rose by almost 31 percent. Apparently, failure of management is rewarded, but productivity by labor is not rewarded.
The fiscal crisis, at both the national and state level, was caused largely by the increasing power of a dominant few. They are the ones who pushed for financial deregulation that undermined our fiscal health. After years of demonizing "government," they are now taking steps to weaken, perhaps fatally, the check that labor provides against oligarchy.
For all their talk of freedom, it is apparent that the far right is more interested in promoting the efforts of the super wealthy than individual liberty. But it is not likely we will have a successful country without a prosperous middle class.
Jane Whitesides lives in Glasgow.