Sunday, June 12, 2005

Paul Krugman defends workers' right to organize

yeller dawg mentioned Ed Sills the other day. Mr. Sills is communications director of the state AFL-CIO in Austin, and publishes an e-mail news letter that he sends to union members (including yeller dawg). His letter of yesterday was especially informative. He included an op-ed piece from the New York Times by economist Paul Krugman, telling how the restrictions on workers' right to organize into unions has hurt the economy. Here it is its entirety:

"6) Anyone who reads this space regularly has followed the dots laid out inthiscolumn by Paul Krugman of The New York Times. But this is an eloquent statement of how 25 years of anti-union corporate and government behavior are a highly visible symptom of what's ailing the economy: June 10, 2005 'Losing Our Country' by PAUL KRUGMAN

Baby boomers like me grew up in a relatively equal society. In the 1960's America was a place in which very few people were extremely wealthy, many blue-collar workers earned wages that placed them comfortably in the middleclass, and working families could expect steadily rising living standards and a reasonable degree of economic security.But as The Times's series on class in America reminds us, that was another country. The middle-class society I grew up in no longer exists.Working families have seen little if any progress over the past 30 years.Adjusted for inflation, the income of the median family doubled between 1947and 1973. But it rose only 22 percent from 1973 to 2003, and much of thatgain was the result of wives' entering the paid labor force or workinglonger hours, not rising wages.Meanwhile, economic security is a thing of the past: year-to-year fluctuations in the incomes of working families are far larger than theywere a generation ago. All it takes is a bit of bad luck in employment or health to plunge a family that seems solidly middle-class into poverty. But the wealthy have done very well indeed. Since 1973 the average income of the top 1 percent of Americans has doubled, and the income of the top 0.1 percent has tripled. Why is this happening? I'll have more to say on that another day, but for now let me just point out that middle-class America didn't emerge by accident. It was created by what has been called the Great Compression of incomes that took place during World War II. . ." Dr. Krugman continues that when workers can organize the country does well economically, and when they have difficulty organizing, as they do today because of government interference, the economy does not prosper.

yeller dawg

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