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How this Unstable Economy and Janus will make the American Union Movement Stronger

The false reports of a good economy and increased union organizing will make way for a new generation of Janus workforce leaders

Kris LaGrange's picture
Feb 09, 2018

Last week I ripped and read a few AP stories about wages, retirements and unused vacation days a few days before the Dow crashed. What goes up, must come down and it was just a matter of time that the walls started crumbling down all around us with all the tax cuts and deregulation coming out of Washington.

Bodies weren't dropping from the skies on Wall Street, experts are telling us to expect that in about 2 years so fellow New Yorkers keep your head up when trying to catch the 2 or 3 up to Penn okay. The federal tax cuts have yielded some crumb distribution. Just like when Caesar threw out bread to the people in the Coliseum during Gladiator, employers like Walmart, Chipotle, and AT&T have thrown out some bread, but not without controversy. After putting out a press release that they would be handing out $1,000 per employee, Walmart closed 63 Sams Clubs stores without warning. Financial experts on CBS Radio boasted that with all the money AT&T saved in federal taxes, they could well afford $10,000 per employee instead of the measly $1,000 per employee that they doled out. Trickle down doesn't work, and this petty distribution of wealth is nothing to really celebrate.

Yet, some of those workforces are loyal and grateful, but they shouldn't be. We're all working harder and doing more with less. AP reported that Americans left 662 million vacation days unused in 2017. Fidelity Investments is claiming that we as a nation are in the best shape ever when it comes to retirement savings, but the recent market crash and the fact that we are living longer than our grandparents leave us unsure if retirement is even an option for Generation X.  AP also reported that wages and benefits are up in 2017, but again the eggheads are claiming that they should be rising at a faster rate like they did in the 1990's. So, what do we make out of all of this? Well, I think we need to ask someone who works at General Motors, who bargaining way back in 2015 for the pay dirt they received this year. GM handed out checks for $11,750 to 50,000 United Auto Workers. This deal had nothing to do with Trump, and they all know that. Union membership is up and steady for the most part as a nation, and those locked-in wage and benefit packages undoubtedly have contributed to healthy economic forecasts but sadly the worst is yet to come.

The Janus v. AFSCME Supreme Court case will greatly impact the power of organized labor to bargain collectively and effectively. Janus will thin out union ranks and create labor unrest in once peaceful workplaces. One good thing will come of it though, weak union leaders will find themselves unable to survive and this will make way for a new generation of union leadership who read all 500 of these words and understood every point that was made and be able to communicate it.  

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