When did unions and the middle class become the enemy? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Letters To The Editor

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When did unions and the middle class become the enemy?

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Posted: Wednesday, July 6, 2011 6:00 pm

The very idea that being supported by a union is a bad thing for candidates is an example of the abandonment of some of the values that have become foreign to American culture - solidarity, a sense of equality, a belief in democracy and individual rights.

Is it a bad thing for candidates to be supported by business interests or the chamber of commerce?

I have never belonged to a union, nor do I come from a union family. I am aware of the union movement's failures, just as I'm aware that certain corporations and bankers have become corrupt and excessive, ruled by greed at the expense of the taxpayer and investor.

But these problems get all the attention, while labor's achievements go largely unmentioned.

All but forgotten is the fact that our nation's extraordinary prosperity from the end of World War II to the 1970s was in great part the result of union contracts that in the words of Barack Obama in 2008, "spread the wealth around."

Between 1966 and 1970, the United States enjoyed 48 straight months in which the unemployment rate was at or below 4 percent.

Unions cannot take all the credit for this, but they share the credit and the social contract that made our country fairer, richer and more productive. Good pay, generous benefits, and job security make possible a stable middle-class existence for nearly everyone. Will that become a permanent footnote of the past?

Today, the truth is what "they" say it is has become contagious. No one listens, there is no compromise and negotiation is out of the question. Pursuit of whatever goals one has provides yet another alibi for placing blame on the "other" for one's present predicament.

Everything has become a socioeconomic power struggle at the subjugation of democratic ideals and the destruction of anyone or anything that stands in the way.

To quote E.J. Dionne, "When unions mattered, prosperity was shared."

Maryann Moody

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