By Jo Piazza / current.com / @jopiazza
Unless a football championship is on the line, many Americans remain blind to the continued attacks that organized labor faces on a regular basis. From the erosion of collective bargaining to the enactment of right-to-work laws, workers in our country are facing a crisis.
We've collected 17 attacks on labor in the past two years alone. They range from the enactment and enforcement of unfair laws and practices to verbal abuse from politicians at the national level.
1. During an education forum hosted by NBC just this week, Mitt Romney said he wanted to put an end to political donations from teachers unions.
"I think it's a mistake. I think we have to get the money out of the teachers unions going into campaigns. It's the wrong way for us to go. We've got to separate that."
2. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie attacked unions in his speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa. Speaking about what Democrats believe, Christie said:
"They believe in teachers unions. We believe in teachers. … They said it was impossible to speak the truth to the teachers union. … We did it."
3. Oh, and so did South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley:
"We deserve a president who won't sacrifice American jobs and American workers to pacify the bullying union bosses he counts among his political allies."
4. While basking in record profits, Boeing asked for employee cuts in July contract negotiations, including no pensions for new employees.
5. A July fight between Scranton's Mayor Chris Doherty and its city council over the city budget has resulted in a pay slash for all 400 city employees — including police officers and firefighters — to the minimum wage.
Watch Teamsters president James Hoffa explain
how Romney would create a national
right-to-work law if he is elected.
6. The Koch brothers are funneling millions of dollars into promoting California's Proposition 32, which would put roadblocks in the way of unions making contributions to political candidates.
7. Uniforms for the U.S. Olympic team during the 2012 summer games were made by workers in China, not America.
8. On September 11, 2012, the Orange County Commission in Florida voted to keep a paid sick leave initiative off the November ballot even though a petition in favor of the measure was signed by more than 50,000 people.
9. New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez refused to consult with teachers before drafting a reform scheme that would have teachers teaching to the test.
10. Despite posting a profit, Southwest Airlines proposed changes in its collective bargaining agreement with its workers that included outsourcing jobs, increasing part-time workers and reducing benefits.
11. In February 2012, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels signed into law Indiana's right-to-work legislation, which effectively outlaws union security agreements.
12. In Michigan in 2011, the Republican legislature introduced anti-union measures that would allow cities and schools to terminate labor union contracts, would eliminate required binding arbitration for police and fire departments, and would repeal "prevailing wage" laws.
13. In August 2011, American Crystal Sugar locked out more than 1,300 union workers until they accepted essentially the same contract they were offered the previous year. Those workers have yet to return to work.
14. In September 2011, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) introduced the National Labor Relations Reorganization Act, which would abolish the National Labor Relations Board.
15. In March 2011, Ohio Gov. John Kasich introduced SB 5, anti-worker legislation that sought to eliminate the right of public employees to bargain.
16. In Iowa, Gov. Terry Branstad said that the state's labor laws are too friendly to unions. He asked for "veto power" over state worker pay and benefit agreements, giving the governor and legislators authority to reject negotiated union contracts that they find unacceptable. Branstad also wanted health care benefits for state workers to be set by the governor and legislators and no longer be part of contract negotiations.
17. In March 2011, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker took away all collective bargaining rights from the majority of the state's public employees.
(Photo from Getty Images)
- news blog