Unions – Good for Wages, Good for Workers, Good for Wisconsin

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Much to the chagrin of the corporate honchos at WMC, strong unions ARE actually good for the economy, according to a new report by the Center for American Progress. Better yet, unions are good for the Wisconsin economy.  But perhaps most importantly, unions can actually help Wisconsin businesses weather this economic storm.

Of course, those of you still under the hypnosis of WMC’€™s never-ending stream of anti-union, anti-worker rhetoric and stances over the years (see here, here, here, here, and here), will no doubt crow that somehow workers getting a fair share of the wealth they helped create is a bad thing. ‘€œBad for business’€ WMC and the conservo-bots will say. ‘€œBusinesses will leave in droves’€ they’€™ll cry. But that’€™s just not the case. But what WMC really means is ‘€œThe Corporate CEOs we represent deserve all the wealth. Forget the little guys and gals.’€

Earth to WMC: if people have no money to spend, no one can buy your goods. After all, there’€™s only so many ultra-rich CEO’€™s you can sell stuff to, and not all of you manufacture private planes or gold-plated toilets. You need to expand your market’€”to the common folk. And what do unions do best? Help the workers to paid fairly, which means more cash to buy stuff—you know, the American way. Consumer spending drives 70% of the economy, and stronger unions mean more consumer spending, period. In Wisconsin between 2004 and 2007, union workers are paid, on average, 11.9% higher than their non-union counterparts. But union memberships are down dramatically: according to the CFAP study, unionization is down 50% since 1983. I wonder what parallels we can draw’€¦who was in charge for the majority of that time in Wisconsin? Conservative corporatists at the Capitol and WMC.  

Unionization numbers aren’€™t just declining because less people want to join. According to a Peter Hart Research Associates poll, 3 in 5 people would join a union if they could. Thanks largely to the scare tactics of WMC and groups like it (Club for Growth, Wisconsin Institute for Leadership, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce etc.), it’€™s harder today to join a union. And as I mentioned before, WMC’€™s lobbyists are busy as ever this session, working hard to block good pro-worker legislation. (here, here, and here).

That’€™s why legislation like the Employee Free Choice Act is so important. It will protect Wisconsin workers already in unions, and make it harder for employers to intimidate workers and prevent unionization. You can read more about the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) here, and as always, you can use OWN’€™s tools to contact your state and federal legislators and let them know how important EFCA is to Wisconsin, and to America.

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