Thursday, September 3, 2015

Corporations don't join in on growing love of unions

There is renewed energy in the labor movement. Polls show American support of unions is growing, the data shows union members are paid more than non-union workers, and more and more there is a belief that corporations are taking advantage of employees in an effort to pocket even more profits.

Big business is getting wise to these changing winds as well. And they're doing all they can to clamp down on it before they lose control. In some instances, that means even creating their own fake unions so they can trick workers into accepting lower salaries. The New York Times details one such case in the carnival industry:
[W]hen a new union signed contracts with dozens of companies that operate at fairs and carnivals, it seemed that a group of workers long considered exploited had found a new ally. 
Labor advocates, however, have since charged that the new union was really a stalking-horse for industry, not a champion for laborers, many of whom come from Mexico. And instead of demanding that companies pay the carnival workers more, the advocates say the union deals assured the employers they would not have to do so. 
Several officers of the union, the Association of Mobile Entertainment Workers, also had close ties, it turned out, to two businessmen — one in Texas, the other in Mexico — who have long supplied carnivals and fairs with itinerant Mexican workers.
Other more established companies are putting the screws to workers the old fashion way -- by not giving an inch. The Communications Workers of America (CWA) and the Electrical Workers (IBEW) went into early September in continuing contract talks with Verizon – talks, IBEW said, that featured absolutely no change in the firm’s wide-ranging giveback demands. The talks cover more than 40,000 Verizon workers up and down the East Coast. Verizon makes some $12 million in profits a day.
In response, the unions took to the streets to show mass solidarity for their bargaining teams, with rallies all over the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states. And they enlisted political support, from New York state lawmakers and the mayors of Salisbury, Md., and Yonkers, N.Y. In Albany, N.Y., CWA members demanded the New York Public Service Commission – which regulates telecom firms – get involved and pressure Verizon to bargain in good faith.
Taken together, it is further proof that while the public may increasingly have the back of workers, companies are not joining in. It's part of the reason the Teamsters are pushing forward with our new "Let's Get America Working" platform that not only calls for greater investment, but an increased focus on worker rights as well.
Everyday Americans trying to make ends meet won't be bullied by big business.
  • Press Associates contributed to this report.