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Rigging The Rules

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There’s one grassroots way that workaday folks can create more fairness in our country’s plutocratic, corporate-controlled economy: unite in unions. Some 60 million workers say they’d join a union if they could.

Well … why can’t they?

Because corporate chieftains and Wall Street financiers don’t want us hoi polloi having any say over such things as offshoring, downsizing, wages, benefits and working conditions. So for decades, they have deployed their lawyers, lobbyists and politicians to rig the rules of unionization to keep people from joining.

For example, the Railway Labor Act, which sets union rules for railroads and airlines, has a tricky little provision to sidetrack nearly all new unionizing efforts. When workers vote to decide whether they want a union, employees who do not vote are counted as “no.” In every other American election, people who don’t vote aren’t counted.

The Obama administration has repealed this absurdity, and—whoa, Nellie!—the airlines have gone bonkers. Sen. Johnny Isakson, a Georgia Republican and well-funded attack dog for Delta Airlines, stood on his hind legs to declare that deleting nonvoters from the “no” column was an “assault on employee rights.”

Really Johnny? How would you like playing by such rigged rules for your own elections? In his last run, 79 percent of eligible Georgians either voted against Isakson or did not vote—so nonvoters would’ve soundly defeated him.

Hmmm … if it would get rid of all the Isaksons, maybe the nonvoter system might be a good thing after all.

 

Find more information on Jim Hightower’s work–and subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown–at www.jimhightower.com