Skip to comments.Gutting Unions Hurts the Black Middle Class
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...
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 invaderthe barbarians enter Rome." Robert A. Heinlein
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.
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.
So I guess if you ar Anti Public Union, you are now a racist.
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.
Except for those racist police unions!
“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
Keeping unions hurts America.
That trumps the other.
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.
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:)
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.
Skip Gates rears his ugly racist head.
Why doesn’t he go on tour with Rev. Wright and assorted other so called academics.
“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.
THE WORLD IS ENDING
African-Americans will suffer the most.
Same Shi er Stuff Different Day
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.
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...
That is exactly where they are going with this, and the only surprise is that it took this long for them to go there.
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.
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.
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.
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