Our working men and women are in dire condition. The average CEO in this country earns 400 times more than the average worker on a production line. The top 10% control 90% of the money.
This situation is similar to what was happening in the early part of the 20th century. One important event that happened was the birth of powerful unions like the United Mine Workers (UMW), which led to eventual development of the AFL-CIO. Quickly, union leaders received the right to collective bargaining and they had a seat at the table with corporate leaders. The result was better working conditions, benefits and wages.
Although there was some decline in union numbers, to a great degree this was the situation until Ronald Reagan became president. He attacked the union representing the airport flight controllers (PATCO), and the other unions in this country did not come to their defense. Reagan was able to decertify PATCO, and this led to successful corporate attacks on many unions. Union membership nosedived to the point where only 10.7% of workers are represented by unions today.
Since labor unions are not nearly as powerful as they once were, workers’ wages, conditions and benefits have stagnated. It is difficult to reverse this history, but if workers would take a page from those old leaders in the UMW, they could unite and form potent unions to gain a powerful seat at the bargaining table. Perhaps some of the profits they produce could be shared by corporate leaders.
Richard P. Davis