This is something that has been stuck in my craw for some time but, as zguitar said, no one cares anymore.
I belong to a public union-I am a firefighter. I work for a department that pays less than every department but one in my county and is one of the lowest paid in my region. We always had good benefits though. Are they what you all are hearing about? LOL I wish. When I retire, if the state does not screw me, I will be able to survive. That is all.
This attack on the middle class started years ago and gained steam when the good ole USA passed the law to allow unlimited corporate contributions to political parties/causes. This was done in response to the union's abilities to donate to political candidates they felt would HELP THE WORKING CLASS!
Listen closely to the complaints of the politicians (republicans in particular) once they get beyond the cost of our "Cadillac" benefits and you will hear: "The Unions have way too much political power!"
Really. And just what do the corporations have now? The ability to buy elections and political agendas.
Here's the scoop: 40 years ago Corporate America paid 25% of all taxes in the country. Back then most companies had pension programs for their employees. Now Corporate America pays about 8% of all taxes and not one has a pension plan. Why? Pension plans cut into profit. Where does the profit go? Not to the employees but to shareholders.
Any of you long-term employees see your bennies shrink over the years? Why? Cost cutting? From 1992-2008 why? That time saw the LARGEST INCREASE OF OUR ECONOMY IN HISTORY! But everyone's benefits suffered.
Where did the money go? To shareholders and the Corporate white-shirts. Especially in bonuses. Anyone remember when AT&T laid off 16,000 employees back in 1992 or 1993? The CEO of AT&T received a 16 MILLION DOLLAR BONUS after that.
Economy sucks now right? Not for Corporate America. Most major corporations are showing record profits right about now. You seeing it in your pocket? How many of you have tried to get a re-fi on your house through a bank that was saved by or received TARP funds? 20% down and an almost perfect credit rating. Remember the TARP funds were supposed to go to those who needed relief so they could afford to pay/ stay in their houses. Not working too well for people. Those Mortgage lending houses that made, and lost, billions of dollars in the housing market? Record bonuses to big-wigs in the name of "retention". After they recieved TARP funds to stay in business because they were "too Big To Fail".
Think about Sanders' statements at the start of this speech. Simple translation: Corporate America wants to eliminate the Middle Class.
That's right, eliminate. They do not want a political entity, and that is what the middle class is, to upset their apple cart.
I am not a Democrat. I do not support most of what they espouse. In my line of work I see what "social" programs have done to many people. It has made them feel that they are entitled to what we pay in taxes. I am not a Republican as I see a political party that is the lapdog to profits and ROI. They could care less what you or I want or need form our country. Both parties now cater to limited "clientele". Dems cater to those who want but are unwilling to work for it and Reps cater to those who have and want ours too.
Perhaps many of you are anti-union. I used to be after a union tried to ruin my family company. I had to join when I became a firefighter but I am glad I did now. We are all hearing about how Unions are ruining our economy by our "Greed". Remember this: Unions gave us the five day work week, paid vacation, pensions, 40 hour work week, time and one half overtime, medical insurance through our employers, safeguards from wrongful termination and many, many more "benefits" we enjoy today.
My prediction? Corporate America wishes to do away with unions and slowly erode our rights as workers. We used to have that type of work climate at the turn of the 20th century when many Corporate leaders were known as "Robber Barons'. It has already started by the downsizing of the workforce. This has had a direct result of record profits and one worker doing the work of many people. The profits DO NOT MEAN MORE JOBS. It means stockholders and corporations share more money.
This is a test of whether or not our country will return to the way it was in the late1800's-early 1900's or if the middle class will get so pissed that Unions will become stronger just to protect the jobs of many of us.
I agree that everyone has to make sacrifices in this time. I have and I will gladly to make ends meet for every body in my department. I don't defend those who have and are tooling the system. It make me and the majority of public union members look bad. But I am tired of hearing how the Unions have ruined this country. We have not. Corporate America and the politicians who know no better than how to get re-elected have done so on the backs of everyone who relies on them for competent leadership.
Sorry about the rant....Stepping off the soapbox.
PS: If I pissed anyone off...think about it before you rebut me...That is all it takes.