By International President Mike Futhey
In state after state, anti-union right-wing extremists are targeting labor unions for destruction.
It started with public-employee unions, but that’s not the end game. The end game is destruction of all labor unions in America.
Extremist U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker have advocated the destruction of labor unions and the defeat of labor-friendly lawmakers.
Arch-conservative Pat Buchanan said of Wisconsin’s assault, “That’s the end for labor.”
And the Financial Times quoted an extremist as wanting to eliminate Railroad Retirement.
Today’s battle targets public employees; but if the extremists succeed, airline, bus and railroad unions are next.
The attacks on public-employee collective bargaining rights have nothing to do with state finances. Public employee unions already agreed to concessions.
The extremists’ agenda is the destruction of labor. Period.
The Wisconsin legislation, revoking collective bargaining rights, also cancels collection of union dues from paychecks, imposing on unions huge new costs to collect dues — costs intended to break unions financially. And it requires annual representation elections — another huge cost aimed at destroying organized labor.
Right-wing extremists are terrified by our boots-on-the-ground and knock-on-the-doors activism that helps elect labor-friendly lawmakers from both the Democratic and Republican parties.
By destroying labor unions, right-wing extremists will control legislatures and Congress, with an expectation of imposing lower wages and fewer benefits on working families, while further increasing corporate profits and tax breaks for the most wealthy.
According to the New Yorker magazine, in 1980, the best-off tenth of American families collected about a third of the nation’s income. Today, they’re collecting almost half. The top one percent is getting a full fifth, double what it got in 1980. And the super-rich — the top one-tenth of the top one percent — have seen their income quadruple, while ordinary workers are lucky just to have a job and get paid.
Brothers and sisters, a line has been drawn in the sand from which organized labor and the middle class cannot retreat. If we lose this battle, working families will be destroyed.
The UTU will fight shoulder to shoulder with every labor union in America — regardless of whether they are affiliated with the AFL-CIO — to win this fight.
With approval of our state legislative directors and general chairpersons, we have created the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund to take this fight to those seeking to destroy workplace democracy.
The UTU Board of Directors has approved an expenditure of $150,000 from our Education Fund to begin this effort.
More is needed for demonstrations, to help launch recall efforts of those voting to destroy organized labor, and for signs, bumper stickers, T-shirts with slogans, and other activities to increase public support for preserving workplace democracy and the union movement in America.
We ask each local, general committee, state legislative board and individual members to step up to the plate and contribute to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund.
And we ask each member not now a member of the UTU PAC to join the PAC and contribute; and those already members to increase their contributions.
The UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund will be limited to financing efforts to raise public awareness and support for workplace democracy.
The UTU PAC helps support the election campaigns of labor-friendly candidates at the state and federal level — regardless of party affiliation. We want those running for office who support organized labor — Republicans and Democrats — to know we can and will help support them financially and will be there for them in the next election.
As Benjamin Franklin warned, “We must all hang together or most assuredly we shall all hang separately.”
Please make your contribution today by writing a check to the UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund and sending it to:UTU Collective Bargaining Defense Fund United Transportation Union Suite 340 24950 Country Club Blvd. North Olmsted, OH 44070-5333
And please join the UTU PAC today or increase your PAC contribution by notifying your local treasurer or state legislative director.
Brothers and sisters, if you believe in something strong enough, you fight for it.
Right-wing extremists don’t get to decide if we’re a union. We get to decide.
Together, in solidarity, we can and will win this fight and emerge stronger than ever.