ERROL PUTMAN: Snyder, Republicans may have won battle, the war is far from over

TO THE EDITOR:

While Democrats slept through the 2010 mid-term elections, Rick Snyder and his Republican minions swept into office capturing the governor’s mansion and both branches of the legislature.

Since then, Michigan has been plagued with one assault after another on the middle class to the benefit of corporations and the privileged few.

And now Republicans want to destroy unions in Michigan, passing right-to-work legislation to “make Michigan more competitive.”

Gov. Snyder tells us that right-to-work affects “less than 20 percent of workers,” a claim that could not be further from the truth.

Strong unions produce superior contracts, setting a high bar for wages, hours, and working conditions, contracts that often provide direction and encouragement to others (union and non-union alike) in their quest for workplace fairness. When unions are weakened the bar is lowered for all workers. It’s that simple.

In comparison with states that have collective bargaining, workers in right-to-work states receive on average $1.58 per hour less in pay, 23 percent less in benefits, and, perhaps most despairingly, suffer over 52 percent more injuries in the workplace.

Events in Michigan are only a fraction of the “long train of abuses” suffered by labor in recent years. To mention but one example: From 1950 to 1980, as productivity rose in the United States, wages rose accordingly. However, from 1980 to the present, even though productivity has continued to rise resulting in record high corporate earnings, wages have flat-lined.

When is enough, enough?

Gov. Snyder and Republican legislators may have won this battle, but the war is far from over. Since Republicans have their Tea Party, encouraged by big money interests, perhaps it is time for Democrats to promote new age Patriots, encouraged by camaraderie and a commitment to justice.

ERROL PUTMAN

Blanchard

 

 

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