There are a few facts that if reviewed will be relevant. First of all it must be understood that the reason for the stand-still in the earning amount of the average working man and woman for over 35 years now was primarily due to stagnation that occurred during the twelve years as President Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush as well as. If you add the eight years of George W. Bush that is a total of 20 of the preceding 35 years that were dictated by Republican policy. This was unfortunately the dreaded predicament most of the blue collar labor force found themselves in beginning with the terms of Ronald Reagan. There are a few circumstances that must be noted and evaluated before the dots can be connected to these two situations which I will touch upon now.
For 50 years leading into the decade of the 80’s big business had always fought against labor unions and the demands they represented to a company’s bottom line in terms of set minimums for certain skilled labor positions such as cement finisher, brick layer, painter, drop ceiling installer not to mention plumbing and air conditioning. In 1985 and 1986 a painter would be paid anywhere from 13 – 17 dollars an hour. A cement finisher could and would command an hourly rate between 15 – 22 dollars an hour. This is tough and physically demanding work which requires skill and knowledge of materials and equipment to complete to a quality level standard acceptable to meet most city code specifications. Sheetrock people were also paid well. It soon becomes the standard for those unskilled or non-crafted, to just find out what a position is paying and fake it until they could make it, which was most improbable, because skill levels could be identified readily or be honest and come in at a lower hourly rate and learn the craft.
On August 5, 1981 Ronald Reagan fired 11,359 Air Traffic Controllers for failing to report back to work through Executive Order. This single act alone forever changes the labor union movement and brings to a halt all essential labor demands on wage minimums throughout the labor market and greatly reduces the willingness of employers to contemplate paying beyond the absolute least amounts for hourly wage workers. The events that occurred as a result of Ronald Reagan’s termination of the air traffic controllers were on two levels. The worker was confronted with the fact that the wages they could quite possibly have anticipated earning were no longer a guarantee. Employers felt that the muscle of labor unions had been greatly diminished and were not compelled to adhere to nor respect the hourly minimums thus far established. Workers definitely resisted any attempt from employers to pay them less by refusing to accept a job. This left a gap in the space between workers needed and available workers. A solution for the skilled laborers shortage was answered quite easily by simply allowing open borders or to put it mildly a much more relaxed attitude towards scrutiny and regulation at America’s borders towards who was allowed to cross it. This paid big incentives for the business concerns in the reduction of labor cost, which quite naturally increased profits for American business. Another factor which becomes crippling to American wages are the appointments Republican Presidents since 1980 have put over The National Labor Relations Board. Beginning with the appointment of as Chairman, under President Reagan, of The NLRB an enemy of organized labor named Donald Dotson. Donald Dotson was vehemently opposed to and viewed unionized labor as the biggest factor in the decline of any numbers in American business. “Reagan gave dedicated union foes direct control over the federal agencies that were designed to further and protect the rights and interests of their workers and unions. Under Dotson a House Subcommittee found the board abandoned it’s legal obligation to promote collective bargaining, in what amounted to, “a betrayal of American workers.”‘ The NLRB settled only about half as many illegal cases as had the Democrat Jimmy Carter during the previous administration and those that were settled upheld employers 75% of the time. It is time that Americans recognize that the Republican Party and what is in the best interests of the average man and woman in America have nothing in common. Because the Republican Party represents the interests of business which often is against what is best for you and me due to yield of profits. The reduction in the number of middle class over the last 35 years can be placed firmly in the hands of the Republican Party.
quotes should be attributed to Dick Meister