Before dismissing the striking United Auto Workers union members as entitled “I Won’t Work”-ers, consider the fact that while the average UAW member earned $18.54 per hour last year, General Motors CEO Mary Barra earned about $14,000 per hour, or $29 million annually, without machining or assembling a single part of any GM vehicle on the road.

Union membership is at a historic low point in America, so obscene examples of income inequality like this should not be surprising. Forty years of “Reaganomics” has not only funneled the wealth generated from increased productivity from the working class to the ruling class, but also neutralized the power unions once had to negotiate on behalf of their members. Seemingly, the only thing to have “trickled down” in the modern economy has been contempt for organized labor.

The UAW, like the recently victorious Writers Guild of America, are striking not just for pay raises but for worker protections in a transforming industry. The rapid pace of technological innovation is making previously negotiated contracts woefully outdated across every industry. In short, unions are fighting today for their members, as well as the rest of us, to have a say in what their jobs will look like tomorrow.

The Republican primary candidates might score debate points by running their mouths about corrupt union bosses and firing striking workers but any politician actually interested in making America great again should be working to restore collective bargaining powers in all sectors of the economy. Manufacturing jobs did not create the American middle class; the benefits negotiated by unions did. As union strength in America continues to decline, so to do the prospects for workers across the country.


Jonathan Strieff

South China

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