|Welcome to Bevinstan|
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin finally passed his wet dreams…Right to Work (RTW) and repeal of Prevailing Wage in Bevinstan er; Kentucky. This is a disaster that I predicted many times just like the Indiana fight. The Koch brothers, and their anti-worker political PAC American for Prosperity, can now notch up another victory just like they did in Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Their American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEX) is busy writing laws for Legislatures all over the country to put unions out of business. They just may do it. I recently heard a report from a union organizer from Indiana who said that her public sector bargaining group shrunk from 2,500 to just 50 after RTW was passed. She went on to say that they all immediately lost over $500 a month in take-home pay. That is precisely what the law is meant to do and is aimed directly at public sector men and women such as Fire, Police, Teachers and government workers.
Public sector unions are far larger than private sector unions and that is where much of our political clout comes from. If you didn’t know, RTW means that you can choose to join the Union and pay dues or not to join. The rub is that the Union HAS to represent ALL workers whether they pay or not. So, no dues, initiation fees, assessments or even “Fair Share” fees can be collected but they still get all the benefits of a dues paying member! I’d like to join their county clubs, the Chamber of Commerce or even the YMCA and not pay anything. The bad thing is…it may be coming at us on a national level. Mike Pence has sponsored it in the past along with repeal of the 85 year old Davis-Bacon Act (Prevailing Wage) because it’s “outdated”.
While RTW may hurt the Trades; a far more devastating blow is the repeal of Prevailing Wage. In essence, they voted for a pay cut for the Building Trades both unionized and non-union. Be sure to tell all the non-union friends of yours that they will soon be making much less on school projects in the near future. As for Union members; we will not be involved in public sector construction. Your tax dollars will be used to construct your schools, roads, bridges and governmental buildings but you won’t work on any of them.
Do not blame this on your Business Managers or Business Agents ore members of the Bargaining Committee…this is the fault of the 50-65% of OUR memberships that voted Republican at the state and federal level. Do not blame anyone but yourself when you get a pitiful or no wage increase. Blame yourself when they throw your kids under 26 off your health insurance and/or they can’t get insurance because of a pre-existing condition while your insurance premiums sharply jump. You own it and so much more.
RTW means 51% more workplace fatalities, 21% less healthcare, more welfare and food stamps, 31% less spending on education, 16% higher infant mortality rates and the average worker will make $5,300 less. Just look at the wages and benefits in Alabamastan, Mississippistan, Texastan, etc. and you’ll see what is coming to Bevinstan. Then tack on what the Trump-Pence team is going to do to Unions…Americastan??
Andrew Puzder, nominee for Secretary of Labor, doesn’t believe in the Minimum Wage or overtime. This billion dollar “champion of the American worker” has gone on record believing what workers “lose in overtime pay they gain in stature and sense of accomplishment”. I’m going to take my “stature and sense of accomplishment” in to make my house payment next month.
As I write this, Grump is going to become President in four days. I’ve been depressed since early November about him and Bevinstan. By not voting, or voting the wrong way, the struggles of Labor have multiplied…thank you membership. However, I’m optimistic that it MAY bring Labor together and make us tougher and more united after we see the damage that TEA partiers like Bevin and raving lunatics like Grump wrought upon us. I am just grateful that I’m not just beginning my career in the Trades and will retire before the full impact of anti-labor politicians do to the country and the next generation. My son and daughter may pick up that fight (my son voted for Grump and I told him he was going to lose his insurance…HA HA HA) but I will not live to see the results. My guess is that it will get much harder and painful before it gets any better (see history of Unions 1880-1940). On Inauguration Day I will be sick to my stomach and, maybe, I’ll pee my pants as a salute to our new Pee-Pee in Chief. God Bless America…urine trouble.
Lawrence E. Oberding