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Home > Current Events & Politics > History of Unions in America


History of Unions in America

June 23, 2010 - 23:04 ET


Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel

Let me start things off by reminding you of what the president said at the beginning of his term: "Judge me by the people with whom I surround myself.”

OK, let's do that: radical Marxists and unions. Who was the number one most frequent guest of the White House? The former president of the SEIU, Andy Stern. Here's how the president describes his relationship with SEIU:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Just imagine what we could do together. Imagine having a president whose life work was your work.

(END VIDEO)

It's almost like he puts the concerns of the union ahead of everything else, including the Earth. Did you know we could have had foreign help to clean up the oil spill if the president waived the Jones Act? He didn't do it. The Jones Act is a 1920s law that requires vessels working in U.S. waters be built in the U.S. and be crewed by U.S. workers — no foreigners. So the president doesn't have any problem with illegal aliens working and doing all kinds of jobs, but working on boats? Can't do that. Why? Unions.

The real ticking time bomb in this country is not the national debt, it's the debt to unions and union workers: pensions. The more things change the more they stay the same and that is the way many people in power like it.

If I asked you why we have unions, you would say it is out-of-control companies. But if I asked you what you knew about the Vanderbilts, the Rockefellers, the Carnegies, you would probably say they were rich, industrialists, robber barons.

If I said tell me about the unions of that time period, you'd probably say they were for the little people and they helped make work fair for minority groups like the Irish, blacks, Chinese — but you'd be guessing. Why is it that the Marxist, communist, progressive unions have a history that is fuzzy yet the capitalist robber barons are crystal clear in your mind? All you remember about unions is stuff like this union jingle.

Let's put the glasses of history on, by the end of this hour you will be able to identify these things: this guy, and this and this, this document affected millions of people until recently. It is a racist document from the labor unions. You will understand that, and then you will understand this.

Here are the facts on unions. They are destroying countries and states with their out-of-control pensions. Just the top 100 Illinois school administrators alone will be owed approximately $887 million. An administrator named "Gary," he can retire if he wishes — he's making $306,000. He'll end up making over $9.2 million during his retirement. How can you pay for this? You can't and that's why this list exists: "Highest default probabilities." Greece is at number two. Hugo Chavez's socialist haven is at number one. But notice, Illinois is ahead of California on the list. They are more likely to default than Latvia. And they are in the same ballpark as war-ravished Iraq.

Seriously, you progressives and unions are doing a bang-up job. Keep listening to them and not to the voices of reason like Chris Christie. When you hear him speak, it's such clear common sense it's impossible to argue with. And the unions and progressives hate it because it's true and it exposes what many radicals are trying to do: Cloward and Piven — collapse the system.

The reason we have all of these problems with union pensions is because of an executive order signed by JFK in 1962 that granted federal employees the right to unionize. Go back further and you'll see that even FDR knew this was bad. He wrote a letter to the unions and everyone focuses on this part: "All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service."

But I think the more important part is this: "I want to emphasize my conviction that militant tactics have no place in the functions of any organization of government employees." So does that mean violence is OK against private corporations and capitalism?

Go back further and you'll see that Marx and Engels were part of the trade union. The idea at the beginning was to make everyone equal: Pay the workers the same, treat them the same, give them the same benefits. Essentially unions could eliminate the class system, which is of course what the Marxists hate so much — those damn rich people.

I've always hated the "income inequality" argument — yes, people make different salaries. Get over it. Do I think Al Gore should make $100 million for what he does? No, but get over it. You'll never make as much as Al Gore or Nancy Pelosi. They have something you don't. I like to call them "connections."

There are a few things labor leaders won't tell you about their history. Unions have a long history with deep communist and racist roots. You only hear about how unions heroically stopped greedy employers from sending 10-year-old kids to work in the coal mines for a dollar a day. But you don't hear stories like these about unions:

There was a union mineworker strike in Illinois in 1898. It ended in the unions (with the backing of the governor) telling blacks they couldn't have their jobs back — with the governor threatening to use the state militia to, "shoot to pieces with Gatling guns" any train bringing in black workers. The militia captain said, "If any Negroes are brought into Pana while I am in charge, and they refuse to retreat when ordered to do so, I will order my men to fire." Several black miners were murdered in the ensuing weeks. The AFL passed a resolution praising Governor Tanner and "Remember Pana" became a union mineworkers slogan.

Have you ever heard about the Davis-Bacon Act of 1931? It required federal construction contractors to pay local prevailing wages. It was created to protect northern and mostly white unionized construction workers from the southern, black, non-union construction workers. They feared blacks would be willing to work for lower wages and get all the jobs.

We've got more on the racist history of the unions coming up in a few minutes, but there's another historical aspect to unions they'd like you to ignore: communism.

If you think that it's not a big deal, does anyone remember California wanting to pass a bill that would have changed current law and allow communists to teach and use the public schools in California?

Here's the text: "Under existing law, a public employee is required to answer, under oath, specified questions, including, but not limited to, knowing membership in an organization advocating the forceful or violent overthrow of the government of the United States or of any state. This bill would delete these provisions."

Even though it was vetoed by Gov. Schwarzenegger, it's not stopping the unions from hiring teachers like this. In what universe would this be a good idea to take this out? Who would even think to bring this one to the table? Unless you are a teachers union looking to recruit more communist teachers.

We have a group that past presidents have said should not be able to organize in the government. Not only have they been able to organize, but they are going to be responsible to the biggest hits to our system. It won't be the banks that bring us down, it'll be the politicians and the unions. We have a president surrounding himself with Marxists and union leaders — unions that are stirring up hatred on the streets.

It's easy for me to say we have commies, unions, etc. who share the same goals as this administration. I don't want to say that. I can say it every day and it means nothing. I want to show you the history, built off what we've already showed you over the past few months. You decide: Do we have commies, unions and this administration sharing the same goals?

— Watch Glenn Beck weekdays at 5p & 2a ET on Fox News Channel


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