As some people recognize, unions helped to build the middle class in this nation. Their disappearance just happens to coincide with growing income inequality, a shrinking middle class, and a growing divide between the 1% and everyone else. Why would corporations want to get rid of unions? Unfortunately, many corporations want low-wage workers who work overtime without extra pay. Unions wouldn’t tolerate that. So unions must go. They have nearly disappeared in the private sector, where people can be fired at will, with no cause. The strongest unions are in the public sector, and the teachers’ unions are the largest unions, so they are constantly attacked by those who want to get rid of the last union and have a totally free market.
Here is a useful comment by our reader, Laura H. Chapman:
There is a fairly new scheme by corporations to insert their policies into local government, with killing unions priority one.
Without much fanfare, the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC—the source of corporate-friendly and “free-market” state legislation—has spawned ready-to-use model legislation and ordinances for local governments.
ALEC’s progeny is called the American City-Council Exchange (ACCE). Set up in 2014, it is designed to promote “America’s only free-market forum for village, town, city, and county policy makers.”
In addition to proposing model ordinances and legislation at this smaller scale of governance, ACCE is also intended to diminish the influence of the National Conference of State Legislatures as a go-to-source for policy ideas and status reports on legislation. For example, the National Conference has a searchable data-base on pending or passed legislation of great use for legislators and their staff. This data base and search engine means YOU can track 50 issues in education with state-by-state reports–summaries of legislation and the text of bills. Because the National Conference is not a 100% shill for market-based policies framed by corporations, ALEC and ACCE claim it is “too liberal” as a source for ideas about legislation.
Here is how the ACCE works. Elected officials in villages, towns, cities, and counties pay $100 for a two-year membership. They are identified as members of “the Public Sector.” Here is the ACCE pitch members of the public sector.
“ACCE members receive academic research and analysis from ALEC/ACCE policy experts who work with issues, processes and problem-solving strategies upon which municipal officials vote. Provided with important policy education, lawmakers become more informed and better equipped to serve the needs of their communities.” So corporations are the sources of policy expertise and the proper way to “educate” public officials. No need for local expertise, public debate, and so on. Local elected officials can now become shills for ALEC/ACCE.
Corporations pay $10,000 to be a member of an ACCE Committee, or they pay $25,000 to become members of the Founder’s Committee with more influence on priorities.
Here is the pitch for members in “the Private Sector.”
ACCE Committee members “provide industry insights during policy creation.” “ACCE Council Committees closely imitate the city government legislative process: resolutions are introduced, meetings are conducted, experts present facts and opinion for discussion, after which lawmakers take a vote.”
The ACCE is basically a pay-to-play scheme for peddling corporate views to public officials at the local level, with a very low threshold of expense for local and policy makers to be open to ready-to-use corporate friendly ordinances and legislation. The scheme comes with the bonus of a tax deduction because ACCE is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.
ACCE first two initiatives are already in circulation, thanks to regional chapters and the nurture by ALEC of this strategy to control local governance. Some elected officials who are Democrats are trying to blow the whistle.
One of the first ACCE initiatives is a model ”Right to Work” ordinance, a local version of ALEC’s anti-union model legislation.
A second is designed to limit local government oversight of the process of contracting for municipal water and wastewater piping. Apparently the municipal and wastewater industry wants to secure total autonomy for project engineers to set performance criteria for the piping in these huge public works projects. This may also be a scheme to by-pass EPA’s 2011 “green infrastructure” practices for administering the “Clean Water Act.” For both model ordinances go to http://www.alec.org/legislation-tags/acce/
In addition to these initiatives, I think we will see more of ACCE’s influence, working in tandem with other efforts to get rid of locally elected local school boards, to have all education funding follow the child, and set up “virtual” and/or multi-location districts to process funds, meet any remnants of public accountability, all with appointed CEOs. The Center for American Progress and venture capitalists like Global Silicon Valley Advisors want to accelerate popular acceptance of such schemes as “essential” to get more bang for the buck, to allow for more choice, and so on. Getting rid of local school boards s also a strategy for killing unions.
If your community still permits unions and suddenly decides to scrap those with something that looks like a ready-made ordinance, it could be from ACCE. It might come with claims that it will not only save money on salaries, but reduce pension obligations, permit fires and hires based on performance, and also be good for business, especially for those corporations who have paid for access to your elected officials. BEWARE.
Corporations do not want employees to have due-process rights. Many also have NO respect for authentic democratic governance and the electoral process—witness the current efforts of billionaires with corporate fortunes to buy the next President of the United States and also to make it difficult to vote.