Labor accepting permanent defeat?
Even at manufacturing companies that are profitable, union workers are reluctantly agreeing to tiered contracts that create two levels of pay.
In years past, two-tiered systems were used to drive down costs in hard times, but mainly at companies already in trouble. And those arrangements, at the insistence of the unions, were designed, in most cases, to expire in a few years.
Now, the managers of some marquee companies are aiming to make this concession permanent. If they are successful, their contracts could become blueprints for other companies in other cities, extending a wage system that would be a startling retreat for labor.
Doing this splits the union. Solidarity is the first rule of unions, if you sell anyone down the river, you weaken yourself fatally.
On a larger scale, the destruction of unions remains job #1 of the oligarchy, especially that part of the oligarchy which prefers Republicans to Democrats. Why?
- Because union members vote Democratic, even if they are part of a demographic which normally vote Republican.
- Because the oligarchy’s overall goal is to crush wages and benefits, both to pay for their bailouts and as a permanent, long-running goal. They do not really believe that domestic consumer demand is necessary to their own prosperity, and prefer workers who are in permanent debt-slavery. For a generation and a half now they have made most of their money through leveraged financial games, asset bubbles and by offshoring and outsourcing jobs. American workers are nothing to them, less than nothing.
Update: My friend Matt Stoller has up his first blog post in about 2 years, on debt-peonage. A good read and some interesting information on where the phrase “the man” originally came from. I’m sad Grayson lost, but it’s nice that Matt can write again.