I am sick to my stomach of this anti-union rhetoric that puts worker’s safety and financial security against a corporation’s freedom (or should I say greed). This idea that workers should be paid the least amount possible to maximize company profits, is fed by the right wing ‘free-market’ idealists. It is corporate greed and nothing more.
Take for example this recent editorial (Don’t just whine, compete) from Fosters Daily Democrat, one of the biggest right-wing loudmouths in a very small state.
The editorial is about how Boeing and the International Association of Machinists (IAM), are unable to come to an agreement for a new contract for building the new Boeing 777X.
The editor writes, “That term — compete — is what unions conveniently tend to overlook.”
The editor also explains a little about what the ‘deals’ Boeing is being offered by the state, and what Boeing is offering to their workers.
“From the state, Boeing is looking for tax breaks and infrastructure spending.” What Fosters is not telling you is the details of the deal with the state. According to Reuters, the package on the table in Washington state is: $8 billion in tax incentives plus another $10 billion in transportation infrastructure.
Why would the State of Washington pony up $18 billion dollars in incentives to Boeing? Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! The state understands that if you have high paying jobs in your community the local economy will benefit the most. High paid workers have more disposable income and that means more money at local shops, restaurants, and businesses.
The problem is that Boeing is trying to push their unionized workers down yet again. They want more and more from the workers, so Boeing can put more and more in their greedy pockets. Fosters puts it very mildly:
“From the union, Boeing wants to restructure health care coverage and move from a defined-benefit pension system to a 401(k)-style defined-contribution plan.”
Workers sent a very strong message to both Boeing and their elected leaders that this type of deal is unacceptable.
You would expect this type of demand for concessions from companies that are just scrapping by or even upside down. Boeing is not even close to that.
“Boeing’s third-quarter sales increased by 13 percent to $20 billion from $17.7 billion a year earlier.” (NY Times)
“Boeing reported net income of $3.9 billion for 2012, down 3% from a net profit of $4.02 billion in 2011 [due to a $2 billion dollar income tax change], on an 18.9% rise in revenue to $81.7 billion.” (Air Transport World)
Why should workers be forced to pay more for healthcare and more towards their retirement as the corporation rakes in billions in profits from an 18% increase in revenue? Who benefits from the $4 billion dollars in profits? Wall Street, and the corporate executives. The problem is that Wall Street does not buy clothes, or go out to dinner on Main Street. The rich get richer, while Main Street goes bankrupt from a lack of consumers.
Fosters also punches at unions by stating: “Construction of the Manchester Jobs Corp Center was held up for years due to demands the project be bid out under terms favorable to unions and which would siphon off more taxpayer money.”
I think that Fosters has conveniently forgotten the fact that the project was held up for two years by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and our former Republican Congressman Frank Guinta. It is an easy mistake to make, blame the entire unionized workforce for wanting better working conditions and fair pay, or blame one Congressman for holding up the entire project.
It was Congressman Guinta who through a ‘hissy fit’ in Washington about the Project Labor Agreement (Read NHLN post). Without his objections, the project would have been completed by now, and workers would already be benefiting from their new training center. The ABC was so happy with then Congressman Guinta’s anti-union, anti-Project Labor Agreement positions that ABC gave him their highest award of the year.
For the Fosters editors, workers do not matter, the truth does not matter, and the only thing that matters is their insatiable lust for money.