Republicans, unions — December 8, 2012 at 9:25 am

How do you get record high corporate profits and record low wages? Easy. Bust unions.


This is about making your work worth less

Destroying union power is a macro version of the GOP’s War on Voting. Can’t win people with your ideas? Stop them from voting. Relying on a increasingly small group of the richest 1 percent to fund your campaigns? Destroy the groups that bring workers together to fund a permanent progressive movement.

But destroying unions isn’t just politically advantageous for the GOP. It also makes corporations more profitable by driving down workers’ bargaining power.

How else do you get soaring corporate profits and record low wages? This is what plutocrats like the Koch brothers call a “win-win.”

(BTW: Did you sign this petition opposing the Michigan GOP’s union busting yet?)

Take a look at this chart from the Economic Policy Institute tracking the decline in union membership.

Notice how it nearly tracks — with the exceptions of the dot com bubble of the 90s and the real estate bubble of the 00s — with the decline in seasonal adjusted wages as a share of Gross Domestic Product?

You should know by now that workers in states that have passed laws that ban automatic union dues collection earn $1,500/year less than workers in union-friendly states. That’s not just union workers who earn more when union workplaces are protected — it’s every worker in the state.

All workers earn more when just a fraction of the state is allowed to organize and bargain for fairer wages and benefits.

Democrats may look at the 2012 election where Mitt Romney lost the state by about 10 points and think that the Michigan GOP has gone loopy in pursuit of their far right agenda. But the GOP looks at the defeat of the collective bargaining amendment on the ballot along with the ironclad gerrymandering they put in place after the 2010 election and decided that now was the time to appeal to the folks who pay their bills.

But you can’t gerrymander the governor’s seat.

Rick Snyder is expecting the 2014 election to look like 2010.  But I’m glad to see leaders like Gretchen Whitmer are starting organizing now to take on a party that is appealing to too few in a way that will cost all of Michigan’s workers.

Because if the lesson here is that you can take on the middle class and win in Michigan, what will that mean for the rest of the country?