As we celebrate this Labor Day holiday today, we should be ready to combat conservatives and Republicans in their war against the middle class and unions when the day is over.
In the race to the bottom in this country the Republicans in Michigan are waging all out war against living and decent wages for workers and trying to destroy unions in the process. There are bills in both the House and Senate to make Michigan a right to work for less state, and if that doesn’t work there’s a group poised to launch a petition drive to put it on the ballot. What is even worse is these are the same people who put the racist and deceptively named “Michigan Civil Rights Initiative” on the ballot, and they used shady tactics to collect signatures.
The Mackinac Center for Public Policy is also pushing to abolish Michigan’s Prevailing Wage Law. The same Mackinac Center is also pushing privatization as a way to bust unions and drive wages down, and in some cases it is working. If you need any more proof that we need labor unions, a couple of reports in the corporate media illustrate it even further.
A report from Booth Newspapers reported on the outrageous salaries and perks CEOs make. It seems funny that we can throw money at these people who are not doing the job, but we can’t pay workers a decent wage. The money we throw at these people is ridiculous: like the Lions signing Scott Mitchell for $11 million in 1994.
“But the story is much brighter for CEOs of major corporations and the wealthiest in society.
CEOs of major corporations earned 262 times what average wage earners made in 2005, the latest available figure from the Economic Policy Institute shows.
In 1965, CEOs earned just 24 times an average worker's salary, according to the EPI.
Another study from The Corporate Library, a corporate governance watchdog group in Portland, Maine, said the average CEO of a company listed in the Standard & Poor's 500 made $14.78 million in 2006. And the poster child for excessive CEO pay recently moved to Michigan.
He's Robert Nardelli, the new CEO of Chrysler LLC. The former CEO of Home Depot, Nardelli left the company under fire for its poor stock performance and his excessive pay. Nardelli walked away from Home Depot earlier this year with a $200 million severance package.”
As the CEO of Home Depot Nardelli made $38 million, or roughly $100,000 a day, in 2005, but the average worker who is selling the product and is the public face of the company is making just $10 an hour on average with few if any benefits. He made this outrageous salary despite the company’s stock going down 6 percent in six years. To me, that’s just an amazing stat.
The same report also disputes the rosy picture people like Leon Drolet and others behind the right to work for less scam are painting for states that are already right to work for less states.
“But the new census figures show that many right-to-work states, including South Carolina, Alabama and Texas, had higher poverty rates and fewer people with health insurance than Michigan.“
If you still don’t believe we don’t need unions check out this story in today’s Battle Creek Inquirer that says, “four out of six occupations with the highest employment in the state in May 2006 had a median hourly wage below the poverty wage for a family of four, the report from the Michigan League for Human Services said.”
"We're growing a lot of low-paying jobs and they aren't jobs that can support a family," said Sharon Parks, vice president for policy for the league, a policy and advocacy group for low-income residents. The study also said that in 2005 nearly a quarter of all Michigan workers were employed in jobs paying less than the poverty wage level for a family of four.
"We've got a lot of untapped human capital and we need to be able to invest in these workers," Parks said.
Have fun, relax, enjoy yourself today, but lets be ready to fight off this attack on the middle class and unions come Tuesday.