The attack on workers and unions: A slide show for fighting back.

The attack on workers and unions: A slide show for fighting back.

Andrew Coates, MD, is Council Leader of Local Division 231, of the 58,000 member New York State Public Employees Federation, AFL-CIO. A physician in a public hospital, he was recently elected to the statewide executive board of his union.

Coates and his union have put together a slide show that analyzes the attack on union rights, on collective bargaining, benefits, health care, jobs and pensions. The talk is meant as a tool for other union activists to explain how this attack on workers is also an attack on public health, public safety, and public education.

Since the election of Ronald Reagan, wages have lagged far behind productivity gains. In turn household savings have vanished and household debts have soared as working people have been forced to borrow to stay afloat. Even so, an ever-increasing tax burden has been pushed onto workers.

During the same recent decades personal income taxes for the wealthy have been cut and cut again, compounding the fact that corporate taxes have been on the decline for 75 years. Tax cuts for the wealthy and the corporations explain in part why the “fiscal crisis” now experienced by public schools, local governments and states was avoidable and unnecessary.

Growing income inequality lies at the crux of the story. From 1950 to 1980 the wealthiest 1% took 10% of total income. They now take 25%. The wealthiest 110,000th of the population now takes more than 5% of all income. The last time that was true was in 1928. In New York, the poorest one-half of all households saw annual average income fall from about $16,000 in 1980 to about $14,000 in 2007. One slide (#43) shows that janitors and security guards now pay a higher effective tax rate than millionaires.

This presentation is chocked full of information that your union can use.

You can watch the show on video with narration at Local Division 231’s website:

Or at this site you can watch the slide show and download the slides.

There are 70 slides plus the presentation transcript which is down below after you skip a few ads. Here there is no sound, but there is greater clarity in the charts and you can access the sources of the data:

Local Division 231 urges you to download the slide show and share it with all who can use it to strengthen our ability to defend our unions and our communities from those who would destroy what generations have fought for.

Andy Coates is also a member of the National Board of Physicians for a National Health Program and includes in his presentation the fact that NY State could save $25 billion annually by going to a single payer health care system.