Politicians . . . Ignoring workers is a big mistake

By Steve Vairma

When Democrats lose nearly 50 percent of the working class vote in a national election they have virtually no chance of winning, and that’s exactly what happened in the general election last November.

In the process, Republicans won the presidency, picked up seats in the Senate and won control of the House by a massive, unprecedented margin. In retrospect, while Hillary Clinton’s loss was unexpected, the result was caused by a campaign that blatantly ignored working men and women.

Now, though, because of the Trump administration’s sagging poll numbers, the Democratic Party is beginning to get a bit of swagger back.

Not so fast, Democrats. It might be a bit hasty and unwise for you to get too cocky. If you can’t harvest the votes of a sizable segment of the working class in 2018, you could be facing four more years of a Trump administration that now appears stalled in confusion.

The Clinton campaign didn’t discriminate; victims in the November election were both union and nonunion workers.

The fact is, though, that unions set the wage and benefit standards for all workers, union and nonunion. Statistics show that about 40 percent of union voters cast ballots for Donald Trump. Many of these votes came from workers in the highly unionized states of the industrial Midwest, which had been losing manufacturing jobs for years.

Worker dissatisfaction with Democrats isn’t a new phenomenon.

Some unions have been privately critical for several years about the Democratic response to their state and national problems. These doubts appear to have manifest last November when a huge number of union and nonunion workers abandoned long-held voting habits and supported Donald Trump. They had legitimate complaints.

For example, America’s manufacturing base, for years based in the Midwest, has been decimated by offshoring of jobs, and politicians have shown no concern for plight of the jobless workers who are the victims.

In addition, unions for years have complained they lost the right to strike when in 1980 the government legitimized the hiring of replacement workers (scabs) to break strikes. Also, negative rulings by state and federal courts have made it extremely difficult for unions to organize new members.

Unfortunately, since the National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935, Congress has not revised restrictive federal labor laws to allow unions more latitude in organizing. That is the key factor in decline of union density in the workforce, down from about 25 percent in 1970 to eight to 10 percent today.

Workers have been key players in politics since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. If politicians are allowed to diminish the labor movement, America is doomed to survive only as a Third World Country.

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