The Nexus printed one of the worst economic analyses I’ve read in years this week (“Bloated, Overdemanding UAW Suffocates American Auto Industry,” Daily Nexus, Oct. 16). Jeff Dulgar suggests the reason the auto companies lose money is because they pay their employees a living wage. If only the workers would work for nothing or give up health care, Dulgar implies, then corporations could be as profitable as they are destined.
I want to take issue with Dulgar’s contention that labor unions are “remnants” of an earlier time when corporations were mean to their workers. Dulgar parrots other right-wing columnists and wants us to believe that today, corporations are benevolent, wonderful creations wanting nothing but the best for their workers. I’ll dismiss this myth with just one word (or is it two?): Wal-Mart.
It’s galling that Dulgar would write such an anti-worker column at a time when corporate profits represent the highest share of gross domestic product since the 1960s. The take-home pay for the average worker is at its lowest level on record. Every economic indicator shows the gap between the wealthy and the rest of America is growing larger at an alarming rate. But still, Dulgar insists: Workers are the problem.
As a member of United Auto Workers Local 2865, I can speak from personal experience that even the most progressive employers, like the University of California, will squeeze their workers at will if they’re not unionized. Just a few weeks ago, the UC proposed deep cuts to my wages and health care. Thankfully, I have a strong union that stuck to its principles at the bargaining table, so teaching assistants like me have health care – for the next two years at least.
Dulgar and other conservative commentators have no problem placing corporate well being above that of their neighbors. I expect that most of your readers understand the larger picture. The problem with the American economy isn’t that there are too many unionized workers. The problem is there are too few.