I read Senator Daley’s latest “Legislative Update” and was touched by his willingness to fight for a blue-collar agenda that puts the needs of working families ahead of big corporations. Senator Daley just how do you propose to do this? What is your agenda? When you were a representative, you voted for the Right to Work law—a law intended to weaken a union’s position when bargaining collectively for blue collar workers.
This past couple of years, three acquaintances of mine have left non-union shops for union shops. They received a 30 percent increase in wages, better benefits and last year, a $9,000 profit sharing payment. I believe some of today’s unions leaders have lost focus on the original goals union leaders of the 1930s and ’40s fought for, much like our leaders in Congress have lost focus today. As of last summer, some UAW officers are now directing their focus on cell doors and not the dues of the membership.
During my years as a manager, I had discussions with the president of our local regarding the 1940s adversarial type relationship between our local and the company then. With the black cloud of free trade on our horizon back then, staying profitable was becoming more of a challenge for many companies. My feelings were that if a union was negotiating for a package that included a 10 percent increase in wages and benefits, the officers should be willing to work with management in an effort to improve efficiencies and reduce costs to help offset the cost of that package. He told me “that would be a cold day in hell.” A union is only as viable as the company its members work for. A couple of years after I retired the plant went from 600 employees to 150 and was sold.
Unions aren’t perfect but neither is corporate management. Some of the inefficiencies and feather-bedding that occurs in plants today were brought to the bargaining table by the union and agreed to by management. I believe collective bargaining created the middle-class and it drives our economy.
Senator Daley how does your agenda move people into the middle class?