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Gutting Unions Hurts the Black Middle Class
Henry Louis Gates' "The Root" ^ | 11 March | Holloway

Posted on 03/19/2011 7:10:48 AM PDT by flowerplough

Teaser titled "Blacks in Public Unions: A Path to the Middle Class?"

The push to eliminate the power of public unions to bargain collectively, as the GOP is trying to do in Wisconsin, can disproportionately affect black workers. Here's why.

...Last year, African-American workers were more likely than whites, Asians and Hispanics to be public-union members, making up 15 percent of the membership, according to statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The membership of black workers remains high even as the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions overall shrank by 612,000 between 2009 and 2010 to 14.7 million. In 2010 the union-membership rate -- the percentage of wage and salary workers who were members of a union -- was 11.9 percent, down from 20.1 percent in 1983.

Public unions, which came of age at about the same time as the civil rights movement, became the gateway for millions of blacks to rise to the ranks of the middle class through state, city and county jobs as teachers, secretaries, garbage collectors, police officers and firefighters. Union membership has brought significant benefits to these public employees. Full-time public-sector union workers last year reported median usual weekly earnings of $917, while those who were not represented by unions had earnings of $717.

"Dismantling bargaining rights will disproportionately affect African Americans," Terry Smith, a professor at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, told The Root. A scholar of employment and labor law and voting rights, Smith says that unions have really been part and parcel of African Americans' movement into the middle class. Taking away those bargaining rights will stop that progress, he maintains. "People ask what's so important about bargaining rights. It's one thing to go to your boss as an individual and demand a raise. It's quite another thing to go to the boss as a group of thousands of employees and demand a raise."

The specific history of the disproportionate number of African-American public employees stems from the late 1950s and 1960s, when the government first began to allow organizing. That move helped dismantle the most obvious form of bias that had prevented African Americans from achieving a higher quality of life: job discrimination.

"The government presented the first readily available opportunities for blacks to work," he said. "Alongside that history, you have a broader history of blacks and unionization...


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Government
KEYWORDS: mrskippy; wisconsinshowdown
The America of my time line is a laboratory example of what can happen to democracies, what has eventually happened to all perfect democracies throughout all histories. A perfect democracy, a ‘warm body’ democracy in which every adult may vote and all votes count equally, has no internal feedback for self-correction. It depends solely on the wisdom and self-restraint of citizens… which is opposed by the folly and lack of self-restraint of other citizens. What is supposed to happen in a democracy is that each sovereign citizen will always vote in the public interest for the safety and welfare of all. But what does happen is that he votes his own self-interest as he sees it… which for the majority translates as ‘Bread and Circuses.’

‘Bread and Circuses’ is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure. Democracy often works beautifully at first. But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state. For when the plebs discover that they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and that the productive members of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader—the barbarians enter Rome." — Robert A. Heinlein

1 posted on 03/19/2011 7:10:50 AM PDT by flowerplough
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To: flowerplough

Take a look at the caliber of TSA employees. That tells you everything you need to know about why the government is detested by the people. It will not go on forever.


2 posted on 03/19/2011 7:13:15 AM PDT by kittymyrib
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To: flowerplough

The interesting thing in the Wisconsin debacle is how few African Americans have participated in the protest rallies. I noticed this from the beginning.

I worked for the state of WI for many years. Government is the laboratory for affirmative action. I will say this, however, as difficult as it is to remove someone from civil service, when it happened, it was usually an African American getting flushed out.


3 posted on 03/19/2011 7:16:12 AM PDT by chickadee
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To: kittymyrib

So I guess if you ar Anti Public Union, you are now a racist.


4 posted on 03/19/2011 7:18:47 AM PDT by Old Retired Army Guy
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To: chickadee

Did you notice how many drove UAW made cars? I’ve noticed among most lefties I know that their support for unions stops when it’s time to make a major purchase such as a car.


5 posted on 03/19/2011 7:19:35 AM PDT by TwelveOfTwenty (Compassionate Conservatism? Promoting self reliance is compassionate. Promoting dependency is not.)
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To: flowerplough

Except for those racist police unions!


6 posted on 03/19/2011 7:19:49 AM PDT by Doc Savage ("I've shot people I like a lot more,...for a lot less!" Raylan Givins)
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To: flowerplough

“Full-time public-sector union workers last year reported median usual weekly earnings of $917, while those who were not represented by unions had earnings of $717.”

I thought the name of the game was to level the playing field and achieve “income equality”. Gutting unions seems like the way to go in that case. LOL


7 posted on 03/19/2011 7:20:32 AM PDT by dajeeps
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To: flowerplough

Keeping unions hurts America.

That trumps the other.


8 posted on 03/19/2011 7:21:49 AM PDT by Howie66 (I can see November (2012) from my house.)
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To: flowerplough

Professor Gates again shows himself not to be capable of in depth thought.

If liberal politicians wish to pay high wages to public employees, the lack of union representation for those employees is no barrier to those politicians to set the wage rates at whatever level they choose.

Large numbers of public employees, even in states with public employee unions, aren’t in unions. State and local bureaucracies tend to have lots of layers of managers and supervisiory staffs which aren’t unionized, and get big paychecks.

Unionizing civil servants just provides a way of laundering public funds to support Big Labor with taxdollars.


9 posted on 03/19/2011 7:22:19 AM PDT by I_Like_Spam
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To: TwelveOfTwenty

Good point. I worked at a University - I was one of the few people parking an American car in the lot. And, oh, how they love their Priuses. Makes you wonder how those poor underpaid civil service workers can afford them:)


10 posted on 03/19/2011 7:25:02 AM PDT by chickadee
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To: flowerplough
"People ask what's so important about bargaining rights. It's one thing to go to your boss as an individual and demand a raise. It's quite another thing to go to the boss as a group of thousands of employees and demand a raise."

And it's yet another thing to negotiate with a politician who will not protect the interests of the boss (taxpayers), but will instead grant increased salary and benefits in exchange for political contributions.

11 posted on 03/19/2011 7:27:46 AM PDT by Malone LaVeigh
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To: flowerplough

Skip Gates rears his ugly racist head.

Why doesn’t he go on tour with Rev. Wright and assorted other so called academics.


12 posted on 03/19/2011 7:29:37 AM PDT by Carley (WISCONSIN STREET NO DIFFERENT THAN THE ARAB STREET. UGLY AND VIOLENT)
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To: flowerplough

“People ask what’s so important about bargaining rights. It’s one thing to go to your boss as an individual and demand a raise. It’s quite another thing to go to the boss as a group of thousands of employees and demand a raise.”

People don’t have a right to collectively bargin, it is a legislative privilege given by the government which should be taken away for all public employees. Taxpayers should not be held hostage by lucrative contracts negotiated by liberal elected officials which in turns forces people to pay money into union coffers which is laundered back to liberal elected officials.


13 posted on 03/19/2011 7:34:31 AM PDT by grcuster
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To: kittymyrib
I knew it was only a matter of time.

THE WORLD IS ENDING
African-Americans will suffer the most.

Same Shi er Stuff Different Day

14 posted on 03/19/2011 7:34:35 AM PDT by Tupelo (The Boudicca from Wasilla supporter)
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To: flowerplough

If it does, then the “Black Middle Class” really isn’t a middle class - it’s a lower class which has been artificially elevated by government subsidies.


15 posted on 03/19/2011 7:41:16 AM PDT by Mr. Jeeves ( "The right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended." - Rowan Atkinson)
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To: flowerplough
Public unions, which came of age at about the same time as the civil rights movement, became the gateway for millions of blacks to rise to the ranks of the middle class through state, city and county jobs as teachers, secretaries, garbage collectors, police officers and firefighters.

The author is wrongly conflating employment by the government with representation by a public workers' union.

The push to eliminate the power of public unions to bargain collectively, as the GOP is trying to do in Wisconsin, can disproportionately affect black workers.

Let's have fun and turn that assertion upside down.

In other words, the author is claiming that since the 1950's or 1960's, black workers have unfairly taken a larger share of public union jobs than their representation in the overall population would suggest is proper. That's clear evidence of racial discrimination at the hands of public unions. Therefore, in a financial crisis more severe than any since the Depression, isn't it only fair that black workers take on a higher proportion of the burden of correcting the problem?

See, isn't phony racial grievance muckraking fun? I can be a clueless, race-baiting, pseudo-intellectual too, just like the author...

16 posted on 03/19/2011 7:42:49 AM PDT by Zeppo ("Happy Pony is on - and I'm NOT missing Happy Pony")
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To: Old Retired Army Guy

That is exactly where they are going with this, and the only surprise is that it took this long for them to go there.


17 posted on 03/19/2011 7:42:49 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: flowerplough

Next Gates will be invoking MLK....

Perhaps Gates can explain how 7-14% of the work force can have more political power than those demonized Wall Street companies, Oil companies, etc.? =.=

This is NOT about the “middle class,” Gates.........get frakin’ real here, kkthx.


18 posted on 03/19/2011 7:52:53 AM PDT by cranked
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To: flowerplough

I don’t care whether or not a specific group is getting the lions share of the graft of not, public unions are just a democrat kickback scheme pure and simple.

Why should jobs funded with taxpayer money have both superior benefits and superior wages to those of the taxpayers supposedly being served? There was a time when superior benefits at the time of retirement offset lower wages during the working years but that day is long, long, gone. Shed the unions and about a third of the employees. If that doesn’t straighten up the remaining two thirds, shed them as well.


19 posted on 03/19/2011 7:58:11 AM PDT by Rashputin (Barry is totally insane and being kept medicated and on golf courses to hide the fact)
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To: flowerplough

This is, of course, the fact that noone wants to say. Gvt employment is a form of gentle welfare for a large chunk of the black and hispanic community. It has created a strong black middle-class that is still, sadly, completely dependent on the gvt.


20 posted on 03/19/2011 7:59:18 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: ModelBreaker

I wouldn’t call government employees a “strong middle class”...because it is artificial. Just what do they produce for their “work”? Mainly they hassle productive citizens. More so, I describe it as a “weak dependent MUDDLED class”.


21 posted on 03/19/2011 8:03:16 AM PDT by hal ogen (1st amendment or reeducation camp?)
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To: hal ogen

“I wouldn’t call government employees a “strong middle class”...because it is artificial. Just what do they produce for their “work”? Mainly they hassle productive citizens. More so, I describe it as a “weak dependent MUDDLED class”.”

Fair enough. If you go thru prosperous black communities in LA (the only ones I know about) a shockingly high proportion of the residents are government employees. But they are strong communities you would probably like to live in.


22 posted on 03/19/2011 8:09:10 AM PDT by ModelBreaker
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To: flowerplough

So it is better to lose jobs in Wisconsin, then for public unions to give up their ability to steal from the taxpayers.

There is no money left to pay for the benefits. The restriction on union power advantage to keep taking more (given to them by democrat/liberal politicans) has been accomplished. The judge just delayed it a bit.

I would like to see a major downsizing of the government sector in WI.


23 posted on 03/19/2011 8:16:42 AM PDT by ADSUM (Democracy works when citizens get involved and keep government honest.)
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To: ModelBreaker; Zeppo

MB and Zeppo, best two. Well put.


24 posted on 03/19/2011 8:16:57 AM PDT by flowerplough (Thomas Sowell: Those who look only at Obama's deeds tend to become Obama's critics.)
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To: flowerplough

This is the guy who abused the police officers who thought he was breaking into his house, which resulted in the POTUS insulting the police, which then resulted in the infamous beer summit at the WH!!!!!


25 posted on 03/19/2011 8:24:04 AM PDT by Gumdrop
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To: flowerplough
Last year, African-American workers were more likely than whites, Asians and Hispanics to be public-union members

That figures.

26 posted on 03/19/2011 8:32:39 AM PDT by Huck (Fools make feasts and wise men eat them - Poor Richard)
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To: flowerplough

Great thread BUMP! Henry Louis Gates, eh? /snicker


27 posted on 03/19/2011 8:44:13 AM PDT by PGalt
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To: flowerplough

Gutting Mafia Hurts the Italian Middle Class.

There: corrected that.


28 posted on 03/19/2011 9:02:24 AM PDT by dagogo redux (A whiff of primitive spirits in the air, harbingers of an impending descent into the feral.)
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To: TwelveOfTwenty

And illegal house keepers,lawn rangers,day labor.....


29 posted on 03/19/2011 9:21:22 AM PDT by Vaduz
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To: flowerplough

I wonder if black Americans will ever grow tired of being told by liberals that they are incapable of accomplishing anything in their lives without some form of governance.


30 posted on 03/19/2011 9:39:04 AM PDT by TruthBeforeAll (To a liberal, if an idea is a complete & utter disaster, it's only because there's not enough of it.)
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To: flowerplough

Well, it just goes to show you. When you put forth logic, reason and common sense, you turn over another rock of the liberal landscape and out crawls another guilt-trip....it’s racist!....give me a frickin’ break....race baiters, heart tuggers, humanists, perverts, hard working government officials, just go the hell away. We don’t want you any more.


31 posted on 03/19/2011 9:43:21 AM PDT by Gaffer
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To: grcuster
Taxpayers should not be held hostage by lucrative contracts negotiated by liberal elected officials which in turns forces people to pay money into union coffers which is laundered back to liberal elected officials.

Especially since the tax payers can't choose which agency they want to do business with for any given need. If you need a new car, you can choose which company you want to buy from, so the UAW workers still have to compete for your business and their jobs against other UAW and nonunion workers. Not so with the public sector.

32 posted on 03/19/2011 11:24:01 AM PDT by TwelveOfTwenty (Compassionate Conservatism? Promoting self reliance is compassionate. Promoting dependency is not.)
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