UnionMaine

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Wal-Mart Bureau of Motor Vehicles



Why do Unions want to reach out to non-Unionized workers? Because they are suffering as much as Union members and more. Non-Unionized workers generally have less benefits, earn less money, and have almost no job security. We need to help them and in turn they will help us.

Only in the past few weeks have gas prices fallen below $4 a gallon.

Food prices continue to go up. Whether you believe in global warming or not the carbon dioxide, coal dust, and a thousand other poisons are in the air we breathe. If the air can kill you, does it really matter if it is a little warmer than last year?

Maine’s economy is facing threats from all fronts, energy costs are out of sight and winter is coming, and while right now you may only be having problems that make you cut back on weekend yard sales, but if nothing is done about the problem things will get a lot worse. This week a new ranking for taxation levels across the country was released by the same group that said Maine was the most highly taxed State in the US. OOPS! They found that ware are not now and have not been are the most highly taxed State in the country. Fifteenth place isn’t great but it is a big improvement.

California has been a leader in both technology and Union activism but is now showing where we as a state may be headed. They face the same issues with fuel, heating, cooling and a broken budget. The right wing is taking this chance to blame social programs and a Union workforce for the problems California State employees are facing. Arnold’s symbolic move threatening State employees with pay cuts and lay offs. This was coincidentally at the same time State employees were negotiating a new contract.

The right wing is wrong. The California problems are not caused by the Unions or by social programs. “Social programs” is a thinly veiled reference to anyone needing State aid. California, like many states came to expect the Federal government to continue to support the programs that the Fed voted in to law, Federal programs the States must maintain. The Bush administration decided that no one deserves your money more than the the top 1% of earners in the country and handed out tax breaks to the rich. Programs depending on everyone carrying a fair share fell apart. When the Federal government started handing out bills to the middle class, bills for blood and money while subsidizing the rich the economy came to a brick wall.

There is only so much income whether it goes to a few or is spread around. When you exempt the largest incomes from carrying the same load as a laborer or a secretary aid to those in need must be cut. In order to fuel the largest growth in wealth for the top one percent (McCain wears $500.00 imported shoes) the incomes of the working class have become stagnant while energy costs continue to rise. If you can afford the trip to the grocery store you can’t buy as much food. The right wing and many Republicans along with some Democrats wish to start gutting State government in the same way as California where the governor has ordered thousands of jobs cut.(McCain helped to destroy 8,600 good jobs and lied about it).

Cutting State government is not a move to save money, it is a plan to move money to the from the public to private corporations. Since the middle class is running out of cash the next source the corporations are looking at is public services such as roads and health care. If the same amount of money is spent or even less to replace State employees the road to profit is clear, reduce both the quantity and quality of services provided to the public in the name of profit.

This will be a MISTAKE. Laying off State employees, and we all know it is never the big salaries that get hit will cause these same employees to make use of the already strained social services and will amplify the problem. There won’t be enough funds to support the demand and there won’t be enough employees to provide the services the public needs. This will inevitably lead to a cry to outsource State functions to the private sector in order to save money. More money will then be directed to fewer employees, earning less money, and requiring more services from the tax payer because their jobs won’t come with benefits or health care. The owners will pay less taxes than their employees so in the end the State will have even less income for services.

Stagnant wages state wide and a mix of misleading lies TV and radio spots are making for a lethal atmosphere for the next round of contract talks. With rising costs for all Mainers for food and fuel we face both a short term and a long term threat.We need to help other Mainers become unionized. We need to pass the Employee Free Choice Act and open a path to a good job to all Mainers.

In the short term, we face a contract with the prospect of any raises being immediately eaten up by food and fuel costs. In the long term we face a move by the right to get rid of government employees and move their paychecks into only the hands of the rich while providing fewer services at a drastically lowered quality.

This will not only threaten State employees but will not only threaten the Public with higher costs and fewer services it will make no one accountable for the public monies spent. For an example of how corporations pull this trick consider that Anthem reported an 89% increase in profits while only adding 2% to customer base. Did they do such a good job they got tips or did they find a way to take it out of the services they provide that policy holders are expecting?

If we don’t get involved and help our fellow Mainers and work to educate them and ask for their votes you may not only be hearing “Welcome to the Wal-Mart Bureau of Motor Vehicles”, you may be the greeter.

It can’t be us and them, we all live here, and we share the same world. If imagination fails then the only game in town will be the blame game. We must look for savings. Do you know of a wasteful contract? Do you know of “temporary” consultants that have been on the payroll for years? No one sees more of the employers business than the employee. We have to help find savings to fund our needs. We have to show that our services are more efficient than outsourcing. We can work to devise policies address energy, like a four day week. We can show millions going to private industry with no oversight. Money can be saved for the taxpayer and some of those funds can then be used to help pay your heating bill and pay for your groceries.

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August 11th, 2008 Posted by narsbars | Uncategorized | no comments

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