Don't strip power from union workers

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Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin and The Augusta Chronicle have something in common -- they both want to prevent "collective bargaining" and bust all public service unions.

The Chronicle in its editorial Feb. 22 ("Our first last-stand") has made the claim that the unions are bankrupting Wisconsin. Wrong! The unions have agreed to every demand for reducing salaries and benefits the governor requested, even though he gave millions in tax breaks to the wealthy.

What the governor and The Chronicle want is to take away the singular power that union workers have -- collective bargaining. Where are they getting their signals from? They are getting it from a rich right-wing organization Americans for Prosperity, which reports it has some $40 million, mainly from the billionaire Koch brothers, a notorious union-busting family that owns Georgia-Pacific, makers of paper products. This same organization, operating in multiple states, has targeted environmental regulations and the new health-care laws.

Let's get it straight: Unions, through collective bargaining, raise the level of lifestyle for its working families and, by competition, for nonunion families as well. Unions, such as those in Augusta, sponsor training and safety for workers in electrical, plumbing and carpentry so consumers get a job well done while making homes, and the workplace is safer.

Union collective bargaining prevents contractors from using cheap labor from other countries, thereby denying jobs for Augustans. At the root, is the right to use collective bargaining to offset the power of corporate greed, to bargain from strength and not from weakness, which individuals bargaining alone would face.

You can be sure that Gov. Walker's bravado is not his own, but shadows the voices of Charles and David Koch, who bankrolled him to the governorship. Instead of listening to the Koch brothers, The Chronicle should interview our union leaders in Augusta. They may be pleasantly surprised by what they hear.

Lowell Greenbaum

Augusta

(The writer is chairman of the Richmond County Democratic Party.)

Comments (33) Add comment
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dwb619
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dwb619 03/02/11 - 04:34 am
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Dues have been with held from

Dues have been with held from my checks in RTW states for forty years.

Weed
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Weed 03/02/11 - 11:57 am
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I worked 14 years in the

I worked 14 years in the union. I watched greed at it finest. I watch people that could not perform be protected at the expense of people that tried to work. I was told to slow down so the slowest worker could stay up. I watch the union order us to slow down to go 5 minutes into the next hour to get paid for another hour. Union are not practical for manufacturing and have caused those jobs to go elsewhere. The car plant near Atlanta closed and we all were laid off. The union bosses still got paid and went elsewhere. What a joke is the unions in America.

seige56
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seige56 03/02/11 - 01:24 pm
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Beck Tears, thank you for

Beck Tears, thank you for your clear and concise post. I appreciate civility in disagreement more than anywhere else.

And just to clarify: Union dues are NOT used to fund ANY political endeavor. Instead, union workers (or anyone else) may choose to contribute to a PAC (Political Action Committee) to advance their chosen political agenda. Republican PACs were instrumental in helping their candidates gain control of Congress.

wordwright
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wordwright 03/02/11 - 03:09 pm
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Chillen quoted: "Who are

Chillen quoted:
"Who are America’s fastest-growing class of millionaires? They are police officers, firefighters, teachers and federal bureaucrats who, unless things change drastically, will be paid something near their full salaries every year–until death–after retiring in their mid-50s. That is equivalent to a retirement sum worth millions of dollars."

This is the most ridiculous opinion, which it is because there are no millionaire police officer, firefighters, or teachers, at least who made their millions from teaching. Many people want to privatize these types of employees, but they need to think carefully before doing so. For example, most private school teachers make less money and have fewer benefits than public school teachers. Will anyone seek advanced degrees to teach for $25,000 per year? Our schools are already suffering from brain drain now. Why is it so hard to get math and science teachers? Because they can make more money and have less stress (from ill-behaved children) in another profession. Many people justify paying doctors more because of their educational requirements; however, many teachers have advanced degrees and do not receive adequate compensation for those degrees.

If you want to see salaries of public employees in Georgia, just go to
http://www.open.georgia.gov/ and look up whomever you wish. I think you will find that most public employees are far from the millionaire class.

As far as federal bureaucrats, those are a different breed of cat--alley cats. Republicans and Democrats both have their share. Our government representatives no longer look out for the American people. They have been corrupted by greed. Corporate America has bought out our country. Does America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, exist anymore?

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
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Crime Reports and Rewards TV 03/02/11 - 03:20 pm
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As long as unions keep

As long as unions keep jacking everybody’s property taxes and every other fee or tax they can jack up on the captive taxpayer they will be no better than protection racket goons that go to prison for doing the same thing.
I’m a long time member of the National Taxpayers Union. They have never shaken me down for cash, they earn it. The Unions we're talking about here only shook U.S. down for cash like gangsters. They've never earned anything but a prison sentence. Take them away now for misappropriation of tax money. They are guilty as sin, and we deserve full restitution from their racketeering.
Not all unions are crooked shake down artist like these organized criminals are. Look at how they are defrauding and forging and doing criminal acts wherever they leach onto? My union has NEVER done that.

Chillen
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Chillen 03/02/11 - 03:46 pm
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workwright. Good Lord. Read

workwright. Good Lord. Read the article I linked. Then you'll understand. They aren't millionaires in pay, they are millionaires in pensions & benefits. Geeze.

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