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As Union Power Dwindles, the Rich Get Richer and Corporate Profits Soar


As Union Power Dwindles, the Rich Get Richer and Corporate Profits Soar

Jake Johnson

A recent report by the Economic Policy Institute reveals in startling fashion a fact that rings true intuitively for many working Americans: The rich benefit substantially from the dwindling membership and political clout of unions.

This, of course, is nothing new.


Fine analysis by Mr. Johnson. I'm glad he mentioned Powell and The Page & Gilens Study. However, I'm surprised that left unmentioned is Jane Mayer's book, "Dark Money" since it chronicles how billionaires like the Koch Brothers funded the think tanks that MADE FOR the "conventional knowledge" of the land. It's this type of generous funding that puts monsters like Paul Ryan, Rick Scott, and Scott Walker into top governor positions.

Also, while NAFTA is mentioned, I think it's important to add that many jobs have been "outsourced" to foreign nations with cheaper labor pools. THAT threat hangs over other companies that still base inside the U.S. This threat tells workers--and if they're fortunate enough to still have union management--that if they demand too much, their jobs will head south or east, too.

Between offshoring jobs and automation, good jobs are becoming scarcer. The only entities that can strike are those still situated here in the U.S.

But the Koch Brother types have been granted New Muscle through a virtual resurrection that's based upon the massive lobbyist system in Washington, the corporate consolidation (and control) of mass media, and a Supreme Court that could not be more deferential ("Citizens United") to them--the 1%.

Nor will TIPP and TPP do much to favor workers, the environment, or the principles of Democratic representation.


I realize people can strike in other nations, but I was talking about the status of UNIONS in AMERICA.

Secondly, why are you determined to play down the particular influence of the Koch Brothers?

They are one of the key facets in "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer.

As you know, I don't trust you. Your hostility to me, personally, and many of the cases I build (with LOTS of sources backing them up) is quite suspect... particularly for someone whose demeanor comes off as J. Edgar Hoover while pretending to work for "Solidarity."


BTW: You give off the SAME EXACT "vibe" as Two Americas and Iowa Blackbird (both posting here regularly in the past). And it's quite likely all 3 of you work for the same organization, if not operate as derivatives of the same flexible sign-on screen names. I watch how the "oldies" get recycled from time to time to what... keep those accounts active? (Also quite "simpatico" with Yunzer.)


Mentioning Paul Ryan is very appropriate when you consider that Obama and other high ranking Democrats frequently complement Ryan as though he is less Republican than other Republicans when in reality he is far more dangerous than Trump, despite the superb job the Kochs and others have done in branding him as an objective policy wonk.

Ryan did such a good job playing Eddie Munster the Kochs figured he could act in any role.


Ray - surely the issues of the decline in union membership and effectiveness, and the increasing inequality gap, not just in the Us but in many western states; surely these issues are of greater significance that the qualities of individual politicians, regardless of how likeable or disgusting they may seem to be?
I found Mr Johnson's article interesting and informative, especially since he looked at the changes occurring in the US over a long period of time, and not just in this or that industry - but generally, across the board. NB Very similar changes have been happening in Britain and Europe.
Everywhere the working class have to struggle to battle against the power of the employers.


It's a mistake to point to the Verizon strike as a victory for Labor. The contract we won did little more than maintain the status quo. The wage increases were offset by additional health care costs. We did keep strong job security language and even got the company to agree to hire a few more workers. But I am willing to bet that in 4 years when we strike again our membership will have declined by a substantial amount. Verizon fights dirty at work, suspending people for minor infractions in order to create a culture of fear and to push its aging workforce into early retirement. That said I am grateful to be a union member. At least we get some protection from this kind of bullying and we are paid well enough to support our families on a single pay check if we want. But take it from somebody on the inside, we are fighting a war of attrition, and unless something changes radically, we are going to lose.


CWA and IBEW are two unions in my area that continue to at least maintain the status quo and sometimes get more. Many other unions don't even do that well. A sad state of affairs indeed.

Paul Ryan's state (Wisconsin) has been the launching pad and test track for the most aggressive anti-labor campaign the US has seen in decades. Ryan may have a few other politicians running neck and neck with him in the hostility to labor arena, but he is second to none.


You're right. I have no complaints with my union (CWA). I'm merely pointing out that if the best a strong union can do is to keep our heads barely above water , then it's hard to call that a victory. I find it disgusting that while I manage to tread water many of my my fellow country men are drowning.


The precarious nature of capital, no truer today than it was 240 years ago.
As Adam Smith wrote:
"The capital, however, that is acquired to any country by commerce and manufactures, is always a very precarious and uncertain possession, till some part of it has been secured and realized in the cultivation and improvement of its lands. A merchant, it has been said very properly, is not necessarily the citizen of any particular country. It is in a great measure indifferent to him from what place he carries on his trade; and a very trifling disgust will make him remove his capital, and, together with it, all the industry which it supports, from one country to another. No part of it can be said to belong to any particular country, till it has been spread, as it were, over the face of that country, either in buildings, or in the lasting improvement of lands"
---Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations


When American citizens continued to purchase cheaper imported goods at the expense of the jobs and security of those within their own country, they ended up betraying both the workers at home, and, the workers abroad for the net result was to drive down wages and working conditions everywhere. The short-sighted mindset that refused to contemplate the long-term manifestations of the 'values' being exploited is as much responsible for labor's demise as anything the Koch Brothers or their ilk devised.