Watering Hole – September 6, 2010 – Thank a Union

Labor Day – (from Wikipedia)

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 6 in 2010).

The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on September 5, 1882 in New York City.[1] In the aftermath of the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the 1894 Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with Labor as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike.[2] Cleveland was also concerned that aligning an American labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair.[3] By the 20th century, all 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday.

Labor Unions – How Unions Help All Workers (from a 2003 study)

Unions have a substantial impact on the compensation and work lives of both unionized and non-unionized workers. This report presents current data on unions’ effect on wages, fringe benefits, total compensation, pay inequality, and workplace protections.

Some of the conclusions are:

• Unions raise wages of unionized workers by roughly 20% and raise compensation, including both wages and benefits, by about 28%.

• Unions reduce wage inequality because they raise wages more for low- and middle-wage workers than for higher-wage workers, more for blue-collar than for white-collar workers, and more for workers who do not have a college degree.

• Strong unions set a pay standard that nonunion employers follow. For example, a high school graduate whose workplace is not unionized but whose industry is 25% unionized is paid 5% more than similar workers in less unionized industries.

• The impact of unions on total nonunion wages is almost as large as the impact on total union wages.

• The most sweeping advantage for unionized workers is in fringe benefits. Unionized workers are more likely than their nonunionized counterparts to receive paid leave, are approximately 18% to 28% more likely to have employer-provided health insurance, and are 23% to 54% more likely to be in employer-provided pension plans.

• Unionized workers receive more generous health benefits than nonunionized workers. They also pay 18% lower health care deductibles and a smaller share of the costs for family coverage. In retirement, unionized workers are 24% more likely to be covered by health insurance paid for by their employer.

• Unionized workers receive better pension plans. Not only are they more likely to have a guaranteed benefit in retirement, their employers contribute 28% more toward pensions.

• Unionized workers receive 26% more vacation time and 14% more total paid leave (vacations and holidays).

Unions play a pivotal role both in securing legislated labor protections and rights such as safety and health, overtime, and family/medical leave and in enforcing those rights on the job. Because unionized workers are more informed, they are more likely to benefit from social insurance programs such as unemployment insurance and workers compensation. Unions are thus an intermediary institution that provides a necessary complement to legislated benefits and protections.

Reasons why Republicans hate unions:  All of the above bullet points.

This is our Open Thread.  Speak Up!

Bonus video

(ht to Zooey for the link to Kenneth C. Davis’ website)

107 thoughts on “Watering Hole – September 6, 2010 – Thank a Union

  1. Cats, thank you for this excellent post and a reminder to be grateful. At this time, I would like to thank the labor unions that have personally assisted my family: AFT/AAUP, AFSME/APSCUF/PSEA, PSCOA, IBB-CLGAW and over many the generations, the ILGWA, now UNITE . . .

    May you all find peace this Labor Day ~

  2. The Triangle Fire tragedy became the impetus behind unionizing the garment industry. One hundred forty-six workers, mostly young women, burned to death, unable to escape because the factory owners locked the fire escape doors.

    The fire brought national attention to sweatshop life and unsafe conditions, and galvanized public opinion against corporate bosses.

    Read more here.

  3. Cats, when I watch reruns of the Daily Show on my PC (which I only do when riding my exercise bike, which would explain why I’ve missed weeks of TDS) I occasionally have trouble getting the video to work fullscreen and have to switch from Firefox to IE. When I do that, I have to sit through commercials, which are never visible on Firefox. Weird.

    Thank you very much for the post. I’d like to add my particular appreciation for the members of ATU that I work alongside every day.

  4. The decline in American Unions began when President Reagan broke the Air Traffic Controllers strike. Now, as a result of NAFTA and other free-trade agreements, the American worker competes with exploited labor from third-word countries. Men, women and children work in deplorable conditions for a pittance in wages. We buy their products everytime we shop at WalMart, only stopping to think about the consequences of our purchases when the media brings to light how our cheap fashions are made.

    We get what we pay for. And right now, we’re paying for corporations to ship American jobs overseas.

  5. Without unions in this country there would be no middle class. As long ago as the 40’s and the 50’s about a third of workers belonged to unions. Now it’s down to something like 13%. There really IS a war being waged against the middle class in this country.

    Great post Cats.

  6. Here are some quotes today from John McCain said on Fox Noise:

    “I really think that the that this election could be a seismic election but we’ve got to give Americans a reason to be for us, rather than be just against the Democrats and the president”.

    “I think we’ll do very well [in the midterms],” said McCain. “The question is: How well do we do?”

    I believe the Republicans have to come up with a contract for, with, of, whatever you want to call it, America”.
    (Sounds like the Newt.. Please tell me McCain isn’t going to run for Prez again..)

    “The Constitution has to be part of it. Elimination of earmarking and pork barrel spending, repeal and replace Obama-care. We have to have a short list of promises we’ll make the American people and keep it.”

    “When you look at the approval ratings of Republicans they’re just as bad as Democrats. We have to give them a reason to vote for us”.

  7. Union – Yes.

    Although not in the UAW Union my father benefitted greatly for whatever/however the Union voted on benefits the finance department was included.

    For all the reasons previously stated – without the Unions (yes, I capitalize the sacred) working conditions would be deplorable.

  8. Muse – At least John McCain was being honest this time. Republicans don’t have anything to offer except to go back to creating a contract on Americans like they did during the Clinton years. This was the contract that supported outsourcing our jobs and allowing Wall Street to steal people’s 401K savings etc… . You know the rest.

  9. One of the reasons Adam Smith (The Wealth of Nations, 1776) was such a clear advocate of strong regulation of the market was that labor could not possibly compete fairly with capital. 230 years ago it was already true that capital was far more mobile, and could easily manipulate the market in an unfair manner away from its “natural” and “free” position, all to the great disadvantage of workers.

    One can share with Keynes the sentiment that the real problem with Smith’s “invisible hand” is not that it is invisible, but that it doesn’t exist in the first place, yet still recognize that Smith’s vision of a free market is infinitely more fair and free than the brutish capitalism we’ve all been saddled with.

  10. “When you look at the approval ratings of Republicans they’re just as bad as Democrats. We have to give them a reason to vote for us”. (McCain as quoted by nwmuse, above)

    There’s only one reason anyone should ever vote Republican: they like the sound, the focus, of corporate-state fascism as a governing philosophy. It’s right there, waiting patiently, for the final approval.

    On a much more pleasant topic, I’ve added some more Arizona photos to my blog. Bugs and flowers. Interesting how much better they get along with each other than humans get along with anything, including themselves!

  11. Gummitch: “The clerk who checked out my groceries is getting time and a half. Go Union!”


    Sorry, too much time on TP.

  12. Thanks Zooey. “Seeing” has been a lifelong passion for me (thanks to my dad, rest his soul, who taught me a LOT), moreso since my eyesight went to hell on me ten years ago next month.

    I should add, btw, that I have NO photos of Republicans, none of conservatives either. Lots of bugs though. It’s a relative value thing, or so my dad always told me. 😉

  13. I checked out your photos frugalchariot, very cool bugs.

    I find my eyesight becoming more of a challenge these ongoing years, it still hasn’t affected my ability to see… it’s a simple matter of changing the perspective.
    Everything, and everyone, is beautiful…upside down.

    • What’s with all the failing eyesight around here? Mine is shot, too. Cataract surgery prolly in the next 10 years. I hope I’ll have health insurance then.

  14. As John Ruskin once observed, “Hundreds of people can talk for one who can think, but thousands can think for one who can see.” John Ruskin was right. Read TP today if there are any doubts!

    My eyesight was drastically (and negatively) impacted by a circulatory malformation I had in the the Occipital area of my brain ten years ago. Two grand mal seizures and one lengthy brain surgery, the problem stabilized. Eyesight is correctable with glasses except in those areas (peripheral, mostly) where it’s gone for good. I can still see to drive, but walking is a problem, esp. on uneven ground.

    But my digital camera does a lot of the focusing work that I once had to do, and it seldom complains. Plus I can still SEE!

    Counting lucky stars as I do so.

  15. I can smell rain coming before I see the cloud buildup, I can touch something and have a better feel for the surface than my eyes can describe.
    And there’s that sense of awareness that transcends all the physical senses.

  16. One thing is certain: the dems have to break their silence, and SOON. And we should all dare to hope that what they come up with something exceptional, because if they don’t there’s gonna be hell to pay.

    • The thing that concerns me is voter turnout. Everyone talked about the great voter turnout for the contentious election in 2008, but in reality it was only about 54%. That is much better than former years, but I find low voter turnout to be shameful. If pissy and moany Dems stay home in November, then that hardcore 25% of nutbags will rule the day.

  17. I’m hoping and praying that the Dems have been paying attention to the track. In horse race vernacular we are just coming out of the back stretch. The R’s have been using the whip and the spur pretty mercilessly to maintain a small lead.

    With a little luck, today’s comments by the President are just the opening shot. Less than two months now, it is time to light a few things up.

    • I agree, Hooda. The President said he was going to be making lots of this type of speeches between now and November, and he really needs to do as many as possible.

      The Dems in Congress, and those no longer in Congress, need to get in the game as well — as long as they’re all on the same page. I’m looking at you, Bill Clinton.

  18. I’m visualizing that same scenario hoodathunk.
    The Repug nags are going to be shagged out, people will see how hollow and insubstantial their bluster is, and the Dems will squeak thru.

  19. I think what puzzles me the most is that the entire pile of Republicans will amass more than that a collective total of 100 votes nationwide. Testimony to the absolute DUMB that has come to define this country. Unreal, and oh, so sad.

    • The level of stupidity in this country is truly shocking.

      I’m sitting in my American history class, first day of lecture where ancient America, Paleo-Indians, and Archaic hunters were discussed. Immediately afterward, I hear one blond say to another, “I thought this was going to be American history?” I guess the American continent just popped out of the ocean when the pilgrims set foot on it.

  20. The really sad thing is if the Repubs get another chance, the scary folks will get exactly what they have been whining in fear about.

  21. I believe we have come to the culmination of Corporate Rule’s process of dumbing down, and fragmenting, American society.
    Unions succeeded in overthrowing the robber barons, and the robber barons learned well.
    They diversified themselves into amorphous entities who gradually fed Americans the notion that the “American dream” is all about me, me, me.
    One slice of Wonder Bread at a time.

  22. Amen, Raven. I am hoping America will not have to deal with the ultimate solution but I fear that luxury has dulled their senses.

  23. I can relate Zooey.
    I had a crew member this summer who was of colonial Spanish heritage.
    He would go on about the Anglo invasion of “his” territory, despised “Mexicans”, and when I asked him about the Native Americans who were here first, he just shrugged .

    (He finally got a grasp of topographical maps when he realized they could tell him where there might be a ridge-top he could get a cell phone signal from.)

  24. Here’s the thing, see: Amurka is a WHITE nation. I’ve tossed a couple of bones to the nematode crowd the last couple of days on TP, suggesting that Amurka’s biggest problem in an overpopulation of white folks, but being direct is obviously too much of a bang-zoom for them. Made me think of years ago when I made an enemy for life of an east coast wingnut when I referred to “the European invasion of America.” He’s in heaven now, but boy was he pissed at the time!

    Because, see, Amurka is a WHITE nation!

  25. I hear you. I took American History back in 1984. A liberal college had it divided between 1865 to present for the second half and 1864 to 1700 for the first half. I asked if history only began with white folk and had several professors scowl at me.

  26. I just had a student turn in a journal with 27% of the text copied and pasted from another source. Plagiarism does not anger me so much as disappoint and sadden me — although it still earns a zero. I mean, I can almost understand if they think I’m stupid, but there’s no secret that everything they turn in first goes through TurnItIn.

    Out of 100 points, the worst they can get for their own work is 55 points, while the best they can get for someone else’s is 0. I guess I’m just too old-school, but I always thought that was, like, you know, a “clue.”

    • That is just astonishing, Gary. These are the kids who ought to know what “TurnItIn” is — or even a quick Google search. That kid will have a cloud hanging over him his entire college career.

  27. Axe handles eminently qualify as teachable moments.
    Last winter I bought hickory wood, and made my own at 44″, as I could not find any available commercially longer than 36″.
    All summer long, whenever I got out an axe, everyone would go “Wow! Look at that axe!”
    This led to an explanation of woodworking, centrifugal force, and the relief of lower back pain.

  28. Reading the above reminded me that the dems don’t have to win in September, but only in November.

    Watching the Repugnantcons bloody themselves on their own Creature has been a cheerful reminder of my own, nearly boundless capacity for schadenfreude. But, of course, that will become much wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth of my own if the midterms turn into a bloodbath for the Dems.

    But there are a lot of GOP’ers who will be turned off by the reichwhiner extremists that are being racked up in defiance of the party’s wishes, and some Dem’s who will likely feel more motivated once they are reminded what they are voting for.

    If the Dem’s avoid losing the Senate — they will lose seats in both houses, but the House itself is likely secure — then their/our hopes for programs remain intact. The Senate might have to take seriously modifying the fillibuster rule in some significant way, but that might be as bad as it gets. If that is the case, then Obama and the Dem’s have a very serious shot at 2012.

  29. “Gary, just out of curiosity, what do you do when they plagiarize your work?”

    My work is far too specialized and obscure to be plagiarized by students. And I am far too well known in the little sector where I operate to be plagirarized by peers. (In terms of scholarly work, while I am admittedly on a VERY small hill, I am also very nearly at the top of it.)

  30. First time in days I’ve ventured over to TP –
    which one of you is The Oracle at Delphi?!

    I note that some parasitic nematodes are gone in a some what timely fashion.

    Another great birding day: first time seeing and hearing this little fellow:
    Pacific Slope Flycatcher

  31. Even after warning them in the most explicit terms possible, there are always those “special” few who have concluded that, just becaues they are “special”, you’ll simply never notice.

    In brick-and-mortar settings I go to extravagant lengths to point out that, just because I spent almost 25 years in the computer industry, maybe I really DON’T know how to form a boolean search. Maybe I WON’T notice how the font changed when they copied and pasted text from the web. Maybe I know so little about the English language that it’ll fly right over my head when every last part of the word usage and sentence structure changes between the parts they actually wrote and the one’s they merely stole.

    Or maybe not.

    And it still does no damned good; some one or two self-involved twit(s) are certain I couldn’t possibly notice.

  32. We’ve a pretty standard woodpecker here in Prescott, though I’m at a loss to identify it. (Your basic “Woody”.)

    Forestry mismanagement (they didn’t know better) and global warming (Bush era signage; they won’t admit it) led to new growth Ponderosas too close to one another and the bark beetles did for quite a number of the trees. But this in turn has led to a feeding frenzy for the woodpeckers.

    • I can’t find the woodpecker online. I didn’t get a great look at it, it was the shape of a woodpecker, I’m sure of that.

      Although I did find another bird I’d been seeing on the other side of town. It’s a northern flicker, in the family of woodpeckers, apparently.

  33. Z – thanks for posting this. Winning the elections this fall will be all about timing. The Repubs have corporate money and they have been spending it like fools. The Democrats need to be smart in spending their limited funds. Most people don’t pay true attention to politics until 2 to 3 weeks prior to the election. I’m pleased that our President will be traveling this nation speaking truth to the Republican lies.

      • If this happens, then you heard it here second (TP was first):

        Zooey (The perfect is the enemy of the good) says:
        katy says:
        “and over the past two years, that’s meant taking on some powerful interests — some powerful interests who had been dominating the agenda in washington for a very long time. and they’re not always happy with me.
        they talk about me like a dog.”

        the look of contempt as he says this is withering… for him…

        So the talking point for the next few days will be that Muslims don’t like dogs; it seems like Obama doesn’t like being talked about like a dog; so Obama is a Muslim.


        September 6th, 2010 at 8:59 pm

  34. Happy Labor Day folks! My mother, who is reaching the end of her days, has security and that rare beast, retiree health insurance, thanks to the CWA.

    Battlefield preservation has long been an interest of mine, I live in Virginia where I can watch the fields where men fought covered by McMansions. Here’s the only battlefield I know of that should be visited on Labor Day.

  35. Is integrity no longer a good thing?
    No longer valued by the younger generation?

    No amount of money can buy it or restore it once gone.

    • Ebb, I hear kids talking about cheating as if they’re talking about going to the movies — it’s not a big thing.

      They don’t come to this kind of conclusion on their own, and I suspect the culprits are mommy and daddy. So many of them will do and/or say anything to get their child to the head of the pack. A fact that is not lost on their little darlings. They begin to feel entitled to be at the head of the pack, through no sweat or effort of their own.

      This is an ugliness we’ll be dealing with for a long time.

  36. Outstanding, best of wishes for your mom.

    And, sorry, may all battlefields disappear into dust and may mankind embrace life rather than who died where.

  37. Gary, is this the Woodpecker?

    If not look to the lower left of the page under ‘related birds’ to see if it may be there.

    Zooey the Cornell site is the best but the one, referenced above, is also good for checking what maybe related to a bird that’s been spotted.

  38. When the adults judge the worth of a person according to what they can acquire rather than their honor and integrity, it’s no wonder the children have the same value system. The sad part is that those who cheat, cheat themselves. If they skate by, rather than gaining knowledge, sooner or later they’ll find themselves unprepared for challenges they should have learned to deal with.

    (see also G. W. Bush)

    • Exactly, Outstanding. People like that get backed into a corner, and they turn mean in a fast hurry. How dare anyone question their knowledge and integrity!?

  39. Thanks Hooda for your good wishes. I understand why you feel as you do. For me, if I stand in a corn field and remember that thousands died fighting there for causes that are now less than dust, I am reminded that our petty struggles are nothing compared to the sweep of time and nature. I hope that others may feel the same thing in these places.

  40. Amen, Outstanding. Respect for those who died but not veneration. Dying in war is all too easy. Learning from war is much more difficult.

  41. The Gila woodpecker is a reasonable bet for the Prescott area. It’s more common at lower elevations, but my recollection is that they’re not all that limited in range. Plus, Prescott isn’t that far from desert country — a good breeze northbound up the Black Canyon and voila.

  42. I have some very poor pictures I could share, but no good way to share them. The images associated with the gila did not seem correct, and I could not get anything to produce possibilities from the northern part of the state (where I’m located.)

  43. It is a bit difficult to discern from the photo – but it could be the Acorn Woodpecker.

    We’ve some down town – they use Palm Trees – of all things! Busy, busy, busy pounding nuts into the holes they’ve made. They seem to do a great deal of ‘rearranging’ – taking the nut out of one hole, flying to and filling an empty hole elsewhere on the tree.

  44. The Acorn looks closer: the red cap is larger, and the dark feathering goes up higher than the images showed for the Gila.

    A little weird seing the reference to Cuyamaca: something of my home stomping grounds, 35 years ago.

  45. I found one tree where they had used a 7 or 8 foot crack in the trunk, and had drilled a string of holes an inch apart all the way up. It looked like beads on a string.

  46. Gary, it was simply a guess on my part re: Gila because I knew you lived in AZ but uncertain in which area.

    Things with wings and winged things are intriguing to me – perhaps in another/former life I was avian or Odonata.

  47. 2ebbandflow
    First time in days I’ve ventured over to TP –
    which one of you is The Oracle at Delphi?!

    I guess we should be flattered you believe it is one of us. For my part, I’m guessing it’s Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne, or a Texas Ranger named Reid. Then again, it could be The Shadow.

    I know, but it’s late, and I’m tired.

    Zooey was asking the same question yesterday. She thinks she has it figured out. I cautioned her to not remove the mask, just in case she’s wrong…or right.

    Interesting discussion about birds. I dreamed of a bald eagle the other night…

  48. The level of stupidity in this country is truly shocking.

    I’m sitting in my American history class, first day of lecture where ancient America, Paleo-Indians, and Archaic hunters were discussed. Immediately afterward, I hear one blond say to another, “I thought this was going to be American history?” I guess the American continent just popped out of the ocean when the pilgrims set foot on it.

    Some things are too stupid for words…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s