DICK BAYNTON: Labor Day 2017

Dick Baynton

The first Labor Day was celebrated in New York City on the first Monday in September (5th) 1882. According to historical records, the person who thought up the idea was Peter J. McGuire but it also could have been Matthew Maguire. The two union men, McGuire, a member of The Carpenters and Joiner’s Union and Maguire, a member of The Central Labor Union of New York will be considered joint creators of Labor Day.

Let’s look at the status of the working class in 2017. Average wages are up about $1,200 over year 2000 or about 4%. However, the CPI (Consumer Price Index) is up 16.3%. The U.S. population in 2000 was 281.4 million and is now 325.8 million, a growth of about 16%. The workforce has tumbled about 3 million. What happened to all these workers? Check the welfare rolls, the number of Social Security and permanent disability recipients.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports unemployed of about 7 million in August 2017 but the actual is 13.6 million, meaning that the unemployment rate of a published 4.4% is more than double that number at around 11%. The reason is simple; there are 94.8 million workers not in the workforce. Read the previous paragraph again to determine where these workers have gone.

Public sector union membership has grown to 34.4% while private-sector union membership has sunk to 6.4%. In 1953, private-sector unions had 36% membership. Union leaders have shifted their loyalties from the people they represent to politicians. The facts are that since 1990 unions have given more than $1 billion in union worker dues to politicians and political parties; 97% went to Democrats.

Just as a side note, consider that if unions are major supporters of liberal causes and media offers 95% acclaim for progressive metaphysics, where do the conservative voters come from? It is probable that unions spend their largesse in opposition to their member’s desires and media (deliberately) misinterprets polls and political rhetoric.

Mark Twain said this: ‘If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”

Union bosses have found the goose that lays the golden egg(s) and that gander is a pet of public sector unions. Here’s a sample; in Michigan, the Mackinac Center for Public Policy has found that three former MEA presidents and dozens of other school employees in at least 70 Michigan school districts have ‘loaned’ officials and other employees to the private state union so they can receive higher salaries and retirement benefits at taxpayer expense. Current President Mr. Cook, a former teacher and MEA president since 2011 making $200,000 per year will retire with an annual benefit from taxpayers of $105,000. Had he retired as a teacher, the benefit would have been about $10,000.

The President of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Randi Weingarten is unhappy with Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Secretary of Education. In fact, recently Ms. Weingarten accused DeVos of being a racist because she used the expression, “school choice.” Weingarten went on to condemn DeVos of being guilty of sexism, classism, xenophobia and homophobia. Ms. Weingarten thinks that the public will ignore the failures of public schools by allowing increases in school spending for teacher retirements and the current trend of ‘resegregation’ in schools. School boards and teacher’s union have unwittingly formed a conspiracy to reduce their commitment to learning by students while increasing the retirement and healthcare benefits for teachers and administrators.

Among the bastions of power in union/corporate bargaining, United Automobile Workers (UAW) President Dennis Williams proclaims that “The UAW has zero tolerance for corruption or wrongdoing of this kind at any level.” His words are a leaky sponge considering that 47 of his officials have pleaded guilty to corruption and embezzlement since 2001. Williams was referring to UAW VP Holiefield who apparently conspired with Fiat Chrysler’s bargaining agent Alphons Iacobelli to take money from the National Training Center to purchase a $350,000 Ferrari, renovate his Michigan home to the tune of $375,000 and liquidate a mortgage of $262,000. VP Holiefield’s base compensation was $924,000.

Our population of about 52 million has expanded six-fold since the first Labor Day. The human frailties of corruption seem to have flourished at about the same rate.