With Labor Day occurring last week, the role of organized labor has been in the spotlight for several days, and the issues that the labor movement discusses are ones that need to be constantly repeated – because they are under attack.
As union leaders throughout the country continue to debate which Democratic candidate has their best interests in mind, they know one thing for certain – A Republican victory in 2016 will be an absolute disaster for both labor unions and all working class Americans.
As evidence, Salon.com put together some of the most vile statements that Republican presidential candidates have made about working class Americans, so let’s go through the list to see just how bad any one of these candidates would be for workers.
We’ll start with Jeb Bush. In addition to saying that struggling American workers just need to work more hours in order to make more money, Jeb has also called for the complete abolition of the federal minimum wage. Jeb believes that wages should be left entirely to the private sector, ignoring the fact that private sector wages have remained well below inflation levels for the last decade, in addition to the fact that the reason the federal minimum wage exists is because corporations were not paying a fair wage to their employees.
Chris Christie is just plain tired of hearing about the minimum wage issue, and thinks that Americans just don’t care about it. Christie also makes the false assumption that most minimum wage earners are teenagers, when in reality, 75% of minimum wage earners are over the age of 20. But Christie’s insistence that he is tired of hearing about the issue shows one of two things: Either he really is ignorant about the plight of American workers; or, and this is the most likely, he’s not smart enough to come up with a plan to make things better.
And then we have Carly Fiorina. Fiorina has made it clear that she thinks raising the minimum wage makes absolutely no sense, and has gone as far as saying that raising the wage will actually decrease upward economic mobility. Keep in mind that this is a woman who laid off 30,000 workers when she was the head of HP.
John Kasich believes that raising the minimum wage will harm worker morale, and Rand Paul is in favor of passing federal right to work legislation.
And of course, no discussion about the Republican assault on labor without talking about Scott Walker. Walker made a name for himself as the go-to corporate puppet by dismantling public sector union power in the state of Wisconsin, and he wants to bring this assault on organized labor to the national level.
Walker has opposed increases in the minimum wage, calling the concept of a minimum age a “lame idea.” He is also pushing for nation right to work legislation, a move that would not only cripple the already-limited power of labor unions, but it would drive wages down for workers across the board. States where right to work laws have been put into effect suffer from higher poverty, lower wages, lower job satisfaction, higher turnover, and lower quality of life. This is what Walker wants to do to the entire United States.
This attack on working class Americans has got to stop, but the only way to stop it is to stop electing these anti-labor, anti-worker, pro-corporate Republican and even Democratic politicians. As long as we keep these people in power, labor is going to continue taking hits.