Unions can help improve economy

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By Rick Moyle

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I am responding to the June 24 guest column, titled “Improve the economy through labor reform,” and written by Rick Berman. One simply needs to Google Mr. Berman to find out that he is a hired gun who uses front groups to defend his corporate clients against public interest.

Berman writes about the Employee Rights Act, and the reasons why he supports it. Most of what is written in the article is not even an issue in unions, but Berman would like you to believe so.

Nearly all elections for unions are done by the National Labor Relations Board. If there is any coercion, it is when the company has prohibited talks with employees and threatens them about starting or joining a union. Iowa is already a right-to-work-for-less state, and people can get out of a union as they please.

Unions spend member dues helping the community, education, and for related expenses to represent, negotiate and organize.

Berman states that unions spent $897,999 to elect Democrats in Iowa in 2010; he does not say where this money came from. It must have come from donations, or willing contributions from workers.

Unions have a tendency to support those who support working people. Corporations can spend stockholder dollars on their “free speech,” so why can’t the workers have a voice as well?

The economy will be improved through labor reform if we make it easier, not harder, to organize. The workers get better conditions, with fewer accidents and injuries. The economy will improve when workers make a livable wage.

Economists agree that a large percentage of our economy is driven by consumers, so higher wages drive spending, which drives the economy.

It is proven that unions were at the highest density in the 1950s, when workers were paid more, spent more, and the economy was humming along. It’s also interesting to note that U.S. productivity is at an all-time high, yet wages have been dormant for more than

30 years.

Rick Moyle is executive director of the Hawkeye Labor Council, the national AFL-CIO organization in East Central Iowa. Comments: rmoyle@hawkeyelabor.us

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