The Corporation: 
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What Unions Have Accomplished for
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Confessions of a
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The War Against Unions:
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Restoring Manufacturing & Jobs to the
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The U.S. Middle Class Voice
  Current Trends, Our Concerns and Common Sense Solutions
03-20-2014  Homefront Article

"All Workers, Even Non-Union Workers, Enjoy the Benefits that Unions Have Fought For"

Union workers have fought for decades to make the benefits listed below, a realty for all workers.  If you are working, you are benefiting from the sacrifice and risks union workers have taken. 

Primary Corporate Objective
Corporations have one primary objective.  That objective is to optimize the profits for investors.  What they do to get those profits, sell products and services to consumers or other businesses, is just a vehicle to create and maximize profits.  Corporations have no moral responsibilities to workers or consumers according to the late Milton Friedman, pro capitalism economist.

Fighting for Investor Profits
Because of the primary Corporate objection of optimizing or maximizing their profits for investors, any regulation, any benefits, any work condition improvements, and wage levels are all obstacles to maximizing profits.  Corporations fight hard to eliminate these obstacles and to control legislation that forces them to comply with socially responsible behavior that would cost them money. 

Cause Marketing for Image & Profits
When corporations do provide any kind of socially responsible benefits, it is called "cause marketing."  Cause Marketing is a strategy to provide the public with a positive image of the corporation in order to increase its sales.  The publicize social cause must have a postive ROI, return on investment, for the corporation to continue the effort.  It's all about profit.

Benefits You Probably Have because of Unions and Union Workers
- minimum work age of 16 (with a few exceptions)
- the 40 hour work week
- overtime pay
- minimum wage
- pensions (fewer and fewer companies provide pensions)
- safe work conditions
  (some safety issues are part of the job as in police or firemen jobs)
- health insurance for full time workers (depending on size of company)
- full time is 32 hours a week or more
- FMLA - Family Medical Leave Act (If worker, worker's child, or dependent parent is sick for more than three days, and worker must be off from work because of the illness, the company cannot hold the absence against the worker or his work record.  Company does not have to pay worker on FMLA time off.  Worker will have to provide medical proof from a doctor using FMLA form provided by the company.  Companies fight back by demanding strict adherence to rules of filling out the form.  Doctors do not like the strict form rules that are used by companies to deny FMLA benefits even when the doctor provides proof but the proof is not written on the form properly.  Not all companies demand this strict adherence.)

- sick time is a benefit for many union workers and some non-union companies provide sick time to compete for workers in union jobs and to prevent their own workers from deciding to unionize

Union Only Benefits
Union workers enjoy some benefits that other workers do not usually have.
Union workers usually enjoy wages about 10% to 20% more than non-union workers.  They do lose money if they have to strike for wage levels and benefits.

Wage Level Standards:  Wage levels that Union Workers have fought for impact the Industrial Wage Level Standards.  These standards are considered when other companies hire and pay their workers, so if you are a non-union worker, your wage level would not be as high as it is if union workers did not fight for their wage levels.

Fired or Suspended:  When a union worker is suspended or fired, they must have documented reasons for suspending or firing a worker and this action against a worker must be reviewed between a company representative and the workers union representative.  Workers are often brought back to the job with full pay restored if the documentation of the firing or suspension reason was not adequate.  Union reps can escalate the action up to higher levels in the company and even to the Federal Government Department of Labor if the company does not handle the grievance according to labor rules.  Workers often get the benefit of a compromise by getting a second chance even if the documentation is adequate.

Non-Union Companies & Union Avoidance
A few non-union companies have created their own version of allowing the worker to ask for a review of any suspension or firing offense.  This is meant more to prevent unionization by the workers than it is as an act of fairness.  Non-union companies also attempt to pay closer to union wage levels in order to avoid worker's desire for unionization.

Business View & Workplace Control
It may be that business owners and corporate managers want full control of their working environment.  That is understandable.  However, anytime their is an interaction with the public, that interaction is subject to government rules or laws to protect the public from abuse.

Companies scream that the worker has the right to work somewhere else if they don't like it.  That is the same as saying, "we are going to polute the ground and drinking water.  If you don't like it, move somewhere else, because we are providing work for the community."

Worker Supply & Demand - Desperate Workers
Workers are at the mercy of those providing work.  When work and income becomes scarce, workers become desperate.  This allows businesses to treat workers with less respect, pay them less and provide less or no benefits for their work.  There needs to be some line that companies should not be allowed to cross.  Companies fight hard against these boundaries.  Remember that profit is the name of their game.

Trade Deals Bust Unions & Create Desperate Workers
Unfortunately, every trade deal made, has allowed companies to bring parts from overseas or to move much of their work offshore to countries with less or no regulations and with extremely low wages.  The living conditions and cost of living is also much lower in these countries.  U.S. workers cannot compete against these workers because of the cost of living in the U.S.  Tariffs are supposed to equalize this condition but a great deal of legislation is controlled by corporate connections in the  U.S. congress and senate.  Legislators no longer work for the benefit of the people but do find a way to verbalize their actions as though the legislation they submit or vote for will be good for U.S. workers and citizens. 

The focus on NAFTA, North American Free Trade Agreement, was that products would be provided to consumers at a lower price and that we would also gain jobs by exporting goods to South America. 

How to Sell a Trade Deal to the Public
What they did not verbalize to the public in seeking public support, was that it would cost U.S. workers a great number of jobs because of outsourcing jobs to South America.  What good is lower prices if you don't have a job or if trade agreements drive U.S. worker wages down.  the more workers we have that are unemployed or underemployed means we have an over supply of ready workers competing for jobs.  This creates desperate workers who will work for less and less to get a desired job.

Degrading Worker Wages & Benefits
This is one way that companies have degraded benefits to workers that Unions had fought very hard for.  Union workers were the target of corporation in driving new trade deals.  If corporations could break up their unions by offshoring their jobs to lower wage countries, then there would not only be more profits for investors, but less unification by workers in fighting for more benefits and existing benefits. 

Less Unions Means Less Worker Unification & Less Citizen Power
The number of union workers has been cut by about 70%.  That is many less workers that also can unify in voting for legislators that support the workers.  Currently, even the labor department employees has been cut, labor department managers often now back companies instead of union workers, and legislators have even brought up the idea of eliminating the labor department altogether.  If this is accomplished, labor regulations including wage levels, the 40 hour work week and more will definitely be at risk.  Workers could lose all benefits that unions have fought for.

Lessons from the History of U.S. Workers
History should teach us something if each generation actually knew of the history of the worker, worker treatment and labor unions.  Companies spend a great deal of money trying to get people to remember some of the bad things union leaders have done.  These bad things were not in keeping with proper union behavior just like some of our legislators themselves have broken the law.  Workers, all citizens, need to pay attention.  Companies would love for workers and the public to forget their workplace history. 

Dangers of Forgetting Worker History
If history is forgotten, workers and citizens will not realize the importance of their unification, whether is be company unions or unification via organizations that seek to unite the public to a cause of protection themselves from over greedy corporations and investors.

Corporations and any company gets its strength from unification of their workers to their purpose and goals.  There is nothing wrong with unification.  It is one of the great sources of power.  Unification of workers is an obstacle to a companies goal of maximizing profits for investors.  There is no other reason why comapnies could not share and distribute their earning more fairly between workers and investors.

We the People Must Remember This
One thing workers all need to remember is that slave like working conditions and wages were a reality in late 1800's and even early 1900's.  The only way worker rights evolved was due to unification of workers called Labor Unions.  We the People need to unify to a purpose in order to be treated more fairly by companies and our legislators.  The more we work together to a unified voice, the more power we have in legislation, as it was meant to be.  When we are strategically disunified by news that gets us agry with each other, the other side has "divided and conquered."


For "We the People"
### MCV Editor
"Think it Through"

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Fair Trade Logos

The Problem with Fair Trade Organizations

These organizations base the idea of Fair Trade on raising the import prices for the "stated" purpose of giving more of the profit to the actual worker or farmer. 

This is supposed to increase the impoverished foreign worker's or farmer's income and their standard of living to bring them out of poverty and help develop third world countries.

The World Trade Organization has their versions of Fair Trade exchanges. 

There is an EFTA, European Free Trade Agreement and other alternatives as well.

According to Wikipedia, no one monitors how much actually goes to the worker or farmer when the prices are increased on the imported products.

Wikipedia reports that in some cases only 1% more of the profits goes to the actual producer/worker.

In other cases it is reported that anywhere from 2% to 18% of the increased profit goes to the producer/worker.

What about the other 82% to 98% of the increased pricing/profit???

This Does Not Work
if it is not regulated and monitored. 

Just increasing prices means the big corporation hiring the worker or distributing the product gets the huge profit margin and maybe gives a little of it additionally to the actual producer, worker, farmer.

It says nothing about any benefit to the U.S. worker who has to compete with these imports or who faces the real possibility that their job will be moved overseas for the sake of increasing the profit margins of big corporations ... which is the exact motivation of corporations for moving jobs from the U.S. to foreign countries.

These organizations can SPIN all they want, call it Fair Trade and create make-believe Fair Trade groups, but until the cost of goods made is equalized (not counting the profit margin, officer bonuses and giant salaries) then
IT IS NOT FAIR TRADE ... not for workers in the U.S. or in the under-developed countries taking advantage of their desperate and poverty-stricken workers.

### MCV added commentary ###
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The biggest enemy of bad politics, political lies and highly paid corporate spin is an informed citizen. 

MCV books can help you stay informed.

The wealthy can pay for a great deal of help giving them the time to participate in politics.  Most working class are overwhelmed with responsiblilies. 

Working, taking care of children, home maintenance, cleaning, shopping, meals, and more all take up so much time and energy that we usually have little energy and time to fully pay attention to politics and fact checking.

However, it is important to understand that politics, legislation specifically, controls the playing field of life and life conditions for all of us.  For that reason, it is critically important that we make sure we understand politcal promises and actions.  We need to think each one through to their bigger consequences and not just accept the lies and spin about what each promise will do for us or the economy.

Example:  Cutting the deficit will create jobs and improve the economy.  It may improve loan rates and the value of our money long term, (great especially for those already wealthy) but cutting the deficit will contract the economy at a time when it needs to expand and provide more job growth.  Cutting the deficit as fast as the Republicans propose, would shrink the economy and cost millions of jobs creating more massive unemployment and throw us right back into a severe recession or even a depression.

It should be worth noting that cutting taxes further, especially for the wealthy, which is already the largest addition to the new deficit increases, also eliminates the very taxes needed to pay down the deficit. 

What the Republicans really want to do is shrink the governement so small that it can no longer fulfill its roles in protecting the citizens from using workers as mere cost factors on a  budget sheet, paying them  below minimum wage and forcing workers to work long hours or face being fired.

Small companies are usually close to their employees and make decisions considering the well-being of their workers. 

Big corporations often rate their success solely by their bottom line with responsibility and fair pay for workers for workers as costs to be reduced to a minimum to maximize profits for wealthy investors.

Being wealthy would be great.  I have no problem with getting wealthy as long as it is done without stepping all over others to get there. 

Owners and investors, officers, workers, consumers, community and environment all need to be considered and treated fairly along the way to gaining wealth.  Workers should be treated as fairly paid assets, not some cost factor on an accounting sheet that needs to be be reduced to the lowest cost possible in order to optimize profits for business investors and owners.

The government cannot be shrunk down unnecessarily.  It needs to be big enough to be the in charge overseer of all that happens in the U.S. so the citizens, the majority, we the people, are protected from harm and from unfair treatment foreign or domestic.  That includes making sure citizens, workers, consumers, and the environment are protected from business bullies practicing extreme capitalism. 

Free market theory, being practiced now in the U.S., is just another name for extreme capitalism ... corporations doing whatever they please without government stepping in to make sure they are operating honestly and fairly.

So do everything you can to stay informed with facts, not rhetoric and vague promises.  Reading books from our MCV book list can help keep your thinking on the right track protecting workers from being underpaid and overworked to make the wealthy, wealthier while the workers struggle to pay their bills and keep their heads above water while raising a family.

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