Saturday, February 22, 2014
(See article: http://www.aflcio.org/Blog/Economy/What-s-the-Greatest-Economic-Fraud-of-Our-Time
And, will GAP squeeze its workers in Bangladesh and other sweatshops to make up its "loss in profits" for "increasing" wages of its retail store employees here in the United States? Trumka doesn't mention that GAP in Manitoba, Canada has been paying its employees $10.45. Plus GAP employees in Manitoba get free health care, cheaper college tuition, one year off for maternity leave to care for a newborn child and many other benefits and protections GAP employees in the United States are lacking... Richard Trumka doesn't want to talk about any of this because then he would be forced to recognize labor in Canada has its own political party with the socialist New Democratic Party... not to mention a very influential and active Communist Party.
Richard Trumka has rejected the longstanding clarion call of "workers of the world unite;" too radical for this millionaire who takes his marching orders from Democratic Party hacks and considers holding press conferences with "tough talk" that never amounts to anything the equivalent of class struggle trade unionism.
How is it that America's top labor leader, a millionaire many times over, has no concept of the relationship between wages and "cost-of-living" and what constitutes a decent "standard-of-living?"
How is it that Richard Trumka, the President of the AFL-CIO, ignores the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 23 when discussing this issue?
Between Richard Trumka and his buddy, Barack Obama, it's hard to discern which is the greatest fraud of all time.
Like an Elmer Gantry, Richard Trumka piously proclaims with no substance and no action to back it up:
"The AFL-CIO, and all American workers, are ready to meet the challenge of falling wages and rising inequality that has been growing painfully for decades."
Wages are "falling" because exploitation and prices are rising.
Workers, including those employed under the "protection" of union contracts, are facing increased speed-up, longer hours, less vacation time, unwarranted "disciplinary suspensions" without pay, later retirement along with concessions in other benefits and wages "negotiated" by Richard Trumka and his fellow millionaires sitting on the AFL-CIO's Executive Council.
Here is something for Richard Trumka to consider:
The large impoverished Leech Lake Indian Nation just approved an increase in the Minimum Wage to $10.25 an hour for all tribal employees--- Native and non-Native, including workers employed at its three casinos.
The Leech Lake Indian Nation, poorer than any state, now has the highest legislated Minimum Wage in the Nation--- as a direct result of citizen activism. And people are justifiably still not satisfied as they push to increase this poverty wage, that is better than Minnesota's miserly $6.15--- and better than the Nation's $7.25, to a real living wage.
I am wondering why Richard Trumka, all these Democratic Party politicians and the political hacks are ignoring the Leech Lake Indian Nation's increase in the Minimum Wage?
Why is it that citizen activism on the Leech Lake Indian Nation can win an increase in the Minimum Wage from $9.00 an hour (which they just recently won) to $10.25 an hour against massive opposition from the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and the Minnesota Indian Gaming Association and the National Indian Gaming Association and the mobsters who own all the slot machines?
Native American trade unionists Greg Paquin, working together with citizen activists like Nicole Beaulieu and Curtis Buckanaga and the Midwest Casino Workers Organizing Council and our Leech Lake Casino Workers Organizing Committee helped to raise the consciousness of the people to understand the relationship between wages and "cost-of-living;" between poverty and profits.
Paquin was constantly explaining to workers that the reason they work and still remain in poverty is because, "workers paid poverty wages are going to be poor."
A very simple yet truthful insight about what is the main cause of poverty.
Paquin also pointed out that "workers without jobs are going to be poor." The Leech Lake Indian Reservation suffers from massive poverty directly related to massive unemployment and poverty wages compounded with racist discrimination in employment, education and housing.
Full employment with living wage jobs eliminates poverty.
What prevents Richard Trumka from pointing this out?
Why is it so difficult for Richard Trumka and his fellow millionaires on the AFL-CIO Executive Council to understand this, and get this point across to workers all over this country?
Why hasn't Shar Knutson, the President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO pointed out to Minnesota Democrats with their super-majority that the Leech Lake Indian Nation now has a $10.25 Minimum Wage when many of these Democrats like State Senator Tom Bakk who has been bank-rolled by the labor movement are still pushing for a Minimum Wage of under $8.00 an hour?
Not one single newspaper, television or radio station has reported that the Leech Lake Indian Nation now has the highest legislated Minimum Wage in the United States.
Former AFL-CIO organizer Stewart Acuff has called for every worker to become a "warrior for justice;" Acuff is certainly on to something... and the Leech Lake Indian Nation's new Minimum Wage proves this approach to working class activism works.
The Leech Lake Tribal Council also passed a strong resolution in support of enforcing Affirmative Action which Minnesota's Democratic Governor has ignored in spite of the promises he made to enforce Affirmative Action when he was out seeking votes.
I was advised by the past President of the Minnesota AFL-CIO, Ray Waldron, to "stop bad-mouthing the Democrats and put your casino workers out on the picket-line already" even though Waldron wasn't willing to fund a strike by poverty wage workers.
And here we see one lone picket with a sign outside of Wal-mart with business as usual going on:
I wonder why Ray Waldron hasn't provided Richard Trumka with the same advice he provided me with for Wal-mart workers?
Richard Trumka, Ray Waldron and the rest of the millionaires who have turned our unions into paper unions whose only purpose has become to collect dues while "negotiating" concessions and touting poverty wages as something to be held up as an example instead of class struggle labor unions might want to take note of the $10.25 Minimum Wage that has been won by rank-and-file grassroots citizen activists who have become "warriors for justice" in struggle for real living wages.
By becoming "warriors for justice" fighting and struggling for real living wages, workers employed by the Leech Lake Tribal Government now have "better" wages.
Can Richard Trumka and the other millionaires on the AFL-CIO's Executive Council learn a lesson here?
The lesson? Struggle wins. The more united in struggle, the more we win. United militant struggle wins even more.