Throwing Labor Under the Bus
As Wisconsin, Indiana, Michigan, and other states try to limit the collective bargaining rights of organized labor, the national media work to create the impression that Republicans are anti-labor and are undermining the labor unions' hard-earned collective bargaining rights. All "labor unions" are intentionally framed as one homogeneous group idespite the fact that Wisconsin's state legislation was only directed toward public sector unions.
The key to understanding why public and private sector labor are combined by the media reports is to realize that there are three major groups of labor, and that the Democrats created all three.
Historically, Democrats have always been the friends and supporters of organized labor, passing legislation for over one hundred years such as the Wagner Act of 1935. This act was directed toward the traditional private sector organized labor unions such as the AFL-CIO. The second major type of organized labor, public sector labor, was also created by Democrats. In 1959, Wisconsin passed the first law to enable public sector workers to organize and lawfully use tactics such as collective bargaining. Shortly thereafter, Federal government workers were allowed to organize through John Kennedy's Executive Order 10988, issued in 1962. It should be noted that the Federal public sector group was not established through legislation but Executive Order.
The third, most recent, and least discussed group of organized labor is illegal labor. This group was also established by the Democratic Party through subtle and indirect government policy changes such as sanctuary policy, the enablement of the matricula consular card to serve as a valid ID in the state of Illinois, and numerous benefits (see Mexicago: How the Chicago Political Machine created Sanctuary Policy to Exploit Immigrants and Grow Government, 2012. Available at Ebook on Amazon.com) Steven Camarota of the Center for Immigration Studies has found that illegal immigrants receive 25 benefits, not including education.
The illegal immigrant population in the U.S. exploded after 1990 (Unauthorized immigrant population: National and state trends, 2010. Pew Hispanic Center, Feb. 1, 2011, Table A3, p. 23), yet while the Democratic Party has always labeled themselves as the party of "labor," they have been silent as illegal workers took jobs away from traditional American union and nonunion workers. And this has escalated under President Obama. Remarkably, Steven Camarota has found that two-thirds of the net increase of employment since 2009 has gone to immigrant workers, primarily illegal workers. A recent study, "After the Great Recession: Foreign born gain jobs; Native born lose jobs" by the Pew Hispanic Center published in 2010 found that during the Recession of 2009 American workers lost jobs to illegal immigrants (pg. 6). Not only have illegal immigrants taken jobs from Americans, these jobs were taken during the recession and recovery periods. All Americans lost jobs, including citizen Hispanics.
Protection of the illegal labor group is why Democrats and the media promote the confusion between public and private sector union activities, as seen in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Michigan. The motivation for this is that Democrats do not want either the electorate or the private union members to know that their focus has changed: no longer do they give first priority to private union workers. Now their mission is to support public sector unions.
The protection of illegal labor is also demonstrated through the widespread and intentional distribution of disinformation about illegal labor; that "big business" wants low-wage workers, and that immigrants are only in the U.S. "to do jobs nobody else will do." This disinformation allows Democrats to hide the reality that they, not big business, have created the illegal immigration explosion in the U.S.
The Democratic disinformation campaign has successfully achieved two goals: it has 1) hidden from the electorate the fact that Democrats have created the illegal labor pool through their clandestine administrative actions, and 2) discouraged private sector labor groups from protesting against illegal labor. These actions mask their goal of promoting public sector over private sector jobs.
Traditional labor leaders must be aware of the fact that illegal laborers are taking jobs from their union members, particularly low skilled jobs. But they choose to remain silent. Part of the reason they do is that the union building trades have worked at thousands of contracts given out by the Stimulus and Recovery Act programs.
Additionally, many union members may not be aware of the widespread presence of illegal labor throughout the U.S., since it has not been thoroughly reported. Labor union leaders also are in their tight traditional alliance with Democratic Party leaders.
Only public sector unions, such as the SEIU and AFSCME, have actively worked to unionize illegal alien workers. The net effect is that Big Labor keeps supporting Democrats at the expense of American workers. No one discusses this. While the media and Big Labor leaders keep silent, the government keeps subsidizing illegal immigrant labor.
What do illegal immigrants offer to Democrats that would place them higher up on the Democrats' priority list? Two things: public sector jobs and population. As I mentioned here before, the older big cities of the Midwest and Northeast are all Democratic party strongholds, and all are rapidly losing population.
Big Labor has chosen to keep its share of deficit spending: high paying government contract jobs financed through the Stimulus and Recovery Act spending programs. Its primary mission does not appear to be protecting the jobs and incomes of average working Americans. Labor leaders are following the marching orders of the National Democratic Party, and have chosen short-term contracts to long-term prosperity.
The great shift in American labor has been toward public sector labor and illegal immigrant labor. These changes explain the focus of the Democratic Party since 1980 and are the best explanation of President Obama's lack of interest in private sector job growth.
In 1955 AFL-CIO President George Meany warned against giving collective bargaining powers to government workers, but his advice wasn't heeded. Those words are coming back to haunt union members. Democrats want to maintain the public relations appearance of helping both private and public sector unions, which is why the unions are seen as one homogeneous group, and their role in creating the illegal labor sector has been carefully hidden.
Big Labor has made its choice: it is following the lead of the national Democratic Party in throwing American workers and union members under the bus, so that Democrats can continue to run the big cities and states, and keep the illegal immigrant-entitlement complex running.