108 Comments

I keep saying to myself: "We all win, when we all win." The nauseating CEO pay and their weak, entitled defense of it makes me sick. They steal the labor from those creating ACTUAL value and send it straight to the pockets of unenlightened, greedy shareholders (through stock buybacks and dividend payments) who are so far removed from the factory floor and the struggles of those trying to make a living and rise up that they don't give a damn what it really costs, the toll it really takes physically and psychologically on the workers and the communities. I LOVE how you've connected the dignity of the worker and the fair wage to having time to be part of their family and community--because that's where the suffering shows up. Bravo to UAW--and all the American people that are waking up to the giant scam of trickle-down economics that did nothing except hollow out the middle class to enrich the immoral oligarchs of America who have paid for right-wing extremist politicians and chaos agents, stolen our courts, and are doing everything they can to dismantle our democracy to make us powerless in the global order so vicious distracts and authoritarians can rule unimpeded.

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Trickle down was Reaganomics right? It was started by him in 1980 as well as Union busting. Republicans still push trickle down. Sadly Macomb county in Michigan which is full of Union autoworkers has gone from a total Democrat voting block before 1980 to Republican. It is always shocking to me as I live in the neighboring county, that people vote against their own interests. Racism has a place in this.

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Reagan symbolically broke unions when he clobbered PATCO, the air-traffic-controllers' union. I was just starting out in the work world when that happened, in magazine publishing in New York, which had just seen the old Newspaper Guild get beat badly in a poorly conceived strike. I knew instinctively that without some sort of power against management we all, and the country, would suffer but could never have imagined the division and rage that would grow over these past decades.

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You struck a nerve with your comment. I was fresh out of the USN and trying to figure out my place in the world. I was trained as a Jet engine mechanic in the service and Reagan decimated the aviation industry witch resulted in layoffs and my career took a different path. I was tending bar at the time and some of the air traffic controllers would come in and drink heavily, right or wrong, they did. And some eventually lost their jobs, not from drinking, but from layoffs and replacement hiring. I eventually joined the Carpenters union and developed a new skill as an apprentice, then to journeyman, and eventually running jobs/work projects. I still carry those skills with me today at 74 years of age and support the unions completely. Those skills eventually landed me the position of AVP of Facilities for a major financial corporation and if it were not for those skills I would never of held that job. Ironically the management of this corporation changed hands a few years ago and a 75+ year old company was run into the ground, bought out and 900 people lost their jobs and the top walked out with that old "golden parachute". It's quite and observation from my perspective. I love this article and I absolutely agree with Steve here. Have a great day.

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Thanks for your personal side of what was a huge wake- up call, but Reagan (and his greedy trickle-down hucksters) helped put America to sleep.

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St. Ronnie was as bad as trump in his way.

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Yes racism absolutely plays a part in this. Many union workers vote for the GOP. They hear and believe the lies, especially “lower taxes.”

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I feel a “Praise The Lord” finally the real people are standing up. I don’t have the ability to write anything that begins to compare to what Steve has stated or Stacey Estrella (and all of you). I have thought this for many years, but when I would say it (depending on to whom you were talking) would justify the CEO. NO... I do not believe they are worth that much if their workers are not able to enjoy the security of taking care of their families. Where we are now in our Country is as bad as it gets before collapse. (out of control) 1 million dollars is nothing anymore and yet the workers take home less, spend more, no savings ... we are seeing now that it is not sustainable. Please keep up the good fight for honesty and integrity in every household.

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It's funny. A lot of the ballplayers I follow make more than Mary Barra, so I have to actually stop and think about how obscene this all is. Frankly, nobody is worth $29 million a year. Not even you, Mookie.

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You know it is. Look at all the atrocities in pay. Myself, I am happy with what my husband and I were able to just by working together. Then when he died, it changes. But, he provided me fine...though it makes me mad when I think about others that could/or cannot not because of this very subject. It is WRONG. 🇺🇸

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Reading this took me back to my first job at the 5&10 (college freshman) and a meeting held by management about why unions were bad. At the end someone stood up and said "if we had unions we would have better pay and regular hours". Good point then and now.

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Damn auto-correct. "Distracts" = "Dictators".

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Happens to me all the time. What’s supposed to make me look smarter, seems to have the opposite effect...:)

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On the other hand it forces some of us (me) to be a little less hyper- critical and even sometimes a little more imaginative !

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👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

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Hello Stacey...I agree completely. It is an inherent problem with our species that our rich brothers get used to caviar and don't care about their poor brothers eating unsafe , poor man's stale and out of date food, and the rich do not care about the poor brothers having no money for living a decent life with dignity.

It has always been like this with our speices since the dawn of time . Americans were bamboozled with nationalsm. We committed genocide to steal all the land, had slavery to make the whites rich, and we never paid reparations for those crimes against humanity.. ...We were always destined to be an ultra rich class vs a poverty class nation. How can it be any good, knowing that?

.

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All I can say is right on. What an awesome comment.

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Steve, your arc towards being a genuine Progressive is nearly complete. 💙

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Unions are what built the middle class, why we have five day work weeks, medical insurance etc. So if it's about unions I am all for them. My dad was a union worker and striking was the only way the workers will get anything. There is always union busting which should be totally illegal. Maybe it is. When I was a teen and my dad went on strike he had to borrow to put food on the table, we suffered a bit but the union got what it wanted or close to it. Support unions. They will build a more secure future for those who don't earn $30 million a year.

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Our middle class society has evaporated under our current system. While CEO’s make more money than any regular person can imagine, they continue to blow smoke up our behinds to tell us how much its deserved. I pray our unions and it’s workers have the fortitude to endure. We must support their actions because the stance they are taking impacts us all!

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Our role is to support their efforts.

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Can an unbeatable coalition that stands for economic justice possibly grow into a winning strategy ?

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Once again Steve, I ask you; why were you ever a republican? You truly sound like a man, of, and for the people. Your metamorphosis is almost complete...:)

That said, I agree. Too often when companies are in trouble, the government comes to the rescue; without stipulations I might add. During COVID, the free grants given to companies without strings attached, that were supposed to keep jobs in tact, was used to give special dividends to the shareholders and the employees were eventually furloughed or fired instead.

This helped fuel the country’s slow recovery and caused supply chain issues, leading to massive inflation and price gouging.

We saw the same thing during 2008, after Wall Street was granted the largest bailout in US history. We gave the money without any stipulations, and Wall Street paid the highest bonuses this country has ever recorded; $36 billion, while tens of millions of people were losing their jobs. And not one destroyer of the economy and financial markets faced a prison sentence.

This led to the Tea Party’s rise and the eventual domination of the FreeDumb caucus and their takeover of the Republican Party.

Nothing happens in a vacuum, and yet here we are. I’m glad workers are fighting back. Capitalism works when there are fair regulations, a working SEC to police the markets, and all companies compete equally.

Unfettered free market capitalism only leads to the economies destruction and the ultra rich class of Americans, and everyone else who is not. We’ve seen the middle class shrinking over the last four decades and the upper middle class moving to the Uber-rich. We’re headed to a Russian economy. Plenty of oligarchs and then everyone else.

Thanks Steve for another great newsletter. Have a wonderful week...:)

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Fantastic and inspiring piece. Thanks Steve. Thanks Shawn Fain and the workers. I hope he leads us into an American future that narrows the wealth gap and creates a fairer and more just society. Fain is clear and compelling. Soaking in riches on the backs of others is fair. Fain talks in language everyone can understand. May hundreds of millions of everyday Americans join him and the UAW , as well as the Hollywood writers, in their fight for fair compensation and pay. It's not socialism. It's not Communism. That talk is propaganda and lies by the. 1%. It's healthy American Democracy, and it needs to be the way forward..

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Correction: Soaking in riches on the backs of others is NOT fair.

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Comparing “when we work together we all win” to the “I am your retribution”. Collective bargaining as we see it with UAW and Writers strike are individuals demonstrating the value of their work. They deserve a larger share in the prosperity their work creates.

As we return manufacturing back to the US we need to restructure our labor/ management relationships toward equity. We have the chance to do it right this time.

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Great comparison!

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Sep 18, 2023·edited Sep 18, 2023

Now, if people are listening to Mr. Fain, I wish he would explain to America's voters that WE are the 'labor union' that can rein in, or fire, the politicians in Washington who are selfish, vindictive bullies with no intention of working for the betterment of everyday citizens by showing up to vote them out. Republicans in the House of Reps have had two years to show they can work for us. They have failed, and it's time to show up to hire people who will do just that. That's how we make a stand. VOTE.

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Steve- here we are. The power is in the hands of those who do the work, not demand the work at lower wages. These two industries can change our country, and if we’re lucky we’ll watch it happen.

This is how it should be, creating their own how it is. I’m here for it.

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This column is just a bit disingenuous. The attack on modern labor and the hollowing out of unions began under the sainted Ronald Reagan with the PATCO strike. Republicans, of which Steve was and who he worked to get elected for years, have always championed the corporation and the wealthy over ordinary Americans, going back to the earliest days of the labor movement.

Under Reagan, tax rates for the wealthiest--which were in place to help prevent capitalist aristocratic dynasties--were slashed. CEO pay skyrocketed, the lie of deregulation helping consumers flourished, and the limits on media ownership were demolished. Using his best folksy voice, Regan lulled much of America into believing that dismantling protections was actually beneficial for their lives. So much more destruction was enacted or begun under his administration and inspired more, like “right to work” laws--all which have directly led to our current economic conditions. Not to mention the direct attacks on government as “the problem.”

While I believe Steve is sincere and he is right to laud union leadership, reading this is hard to take having lived through this history. I also take issue with “our politics is broken.” Certainly we have one party that has given up on democracy. The GOP is broken and that is a danger to us all. But the Dems have been consistently passing or trying to pass legislation to improve people’s lives, including comprehensive immigration reform. And politics is at the heart of American life. Depending on who you vote for means whether you have safe drinking water, environmental protections, worker safety protections, and a more equitable society among many other things. This column blames them equally without naming names, lumping politicians on both sides together, which only feeds the cynicism people have and confirms their belief that “both sides are the same.” Dems aren’t perfect, and they made choices based on survival in the 1990s--winning elections to prevent total GOP control. But they never lost sight of moving the entire nation forward, not just an entitled slice.

The problem is too many American don’t understand the connection between politics, elections, and daily life. The media certainly fails in connecting the dots. If more did, I believe we would see different outcomes. The GOP know that their policies would never get them elected, which is why they lie, fearmonger, and pander to some of the worst among us. It’s all they have, and with a propaganda machine behind them, are succeeding way more than they should and are doing everything in their power to cement their control

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Yes, I also wish Steve would incorporate his own experience in promoting regressive Republican policies. That would also help explain how we got here.

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I agree with everything you’ve stated about Regan, having experienced life while he was president. The Democrats right now are our only hope out of this mess and I believe that Biden is really trying; however, Clinton and Obama (who I loved), also sold us down the River for corporate money. In regard to the media, again we’re dealing with greedy corporations who are not at all concerned with the news or informing the masses and I think that’s dangerous.

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I try to remember that a President can only do so much when some have goals to block everything.

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The full scale attack on our American Democracy and the Constitution of the United States, accelerated after the election of Ronald Reagan, one of the 20th centuries most consequential presidencies...and not consequential in a good way. The Reagan Administration is responsible for the outrageous war of lies against the American Labor movement and the nations social contracts, going back the Mayflower Compact.

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If the vote was more revered and respected then the choices attached to it would be more careful and the gaslighting would lose its power and the elected would need to show they were worth it. That's another day because the bad guys have baked in so much protection that enough good guys need to be elected to make basic change, term limits, financial accountability, proper electoral maps and the rest. It has to start in the classroom, the system is beginning to look like Dorian Greys portrait painting for those old enough to remember.

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Best essay yet from Steve Schmidt, with nuggets like this: “Fairness isn’t a threat. It’s a necessity.” Hell yeah.

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"The people have a right to rein in the excess, and that is what is starting to happen with a resurgent labor movement."

"There is a new wind blowing in the country. New coalitions and new issues will rise as the Trump era finally ends."

While reading your words, I, momentarily, felt hopeful. I pray that your predictions are correct.

As someone who is 20+ years older than you, I have witnessed the destruction of the middle class, at the hands of the wealthiest individuals and greedy corporations. They multiple tax cuts, provided by Reagan, George W Bush and Trump, that never trickled down....and, even despite this faulty theory the current House wants more tax cuts and cuts to social programs, which they say the government can't afford.

Now, the top 10% hold too much wealth, which has given them too much power!

"In the first quarter of 2023, 69 percent of the total wealth in the United States was owned by the top 10 percent of earners. In comparison, the lowest 50 percent of earners only owned 2.4 percent of the total wealth. "

This wealth is driving the authoritarian movement, the Project 2025, and the crumbling our democracy!

Unfortunately, the American people, who vote against their own interests, have some responsibility for this mess.

https://www.statista.com/statistics/203961/wealth-distribution-for-the-us/#:~:text=In%20the%20first%20quarter%20of,percent%20of%20the%20total%20wealth.

https://accountable.us/right-wing-network-plots-to-undermine-democracy-with-project-2025/

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founding

It is the moment of reckoning. We either grow back our sustainable heathy work force or give into the domination of China and third world’s unfair labor practices. The giant corporations become less accountable as the voices of workers have diminished. The dollar disparity between the CEO’s compensation and the workers’ pay is the most obscene ever. It is the most important moment to help citizens avoid the poverty trap and the nation to avoid the liability of unmanageable welfare cost of its people. It is the best investment we will ever make in the US by giving the workers the incentive to strive for their very best, and the industry to stay right where they sell their products and make the biggest profits. We must come out if this moment not barely surviving but triumphant and better. The nation that respects the workers rights, cares for the environment and gives hope to the rest of the world must come out better after each and every daunting moment like this.

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Always look for the Union label in everything you need to buy. Stand up and support the unions and don’t let anyone get away lying about the evils of Trade Unions. Capitalism can be greedy and evil...and unions are the best way to build a strong middle class in America. Time to pass a whole package of pro union legislation that has been held up by greed and scummy, corrupt politicians who are in the pocket of big businesses.

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Isn’t it rather difficult to find the Union label?

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Senior corporation management has been a racket in America for decades. For the average worker to be able to earn a truly liveable age has for far too long been seen as something unrealistic, unreachable, socialist or un-American. It's all been part of the big-money narrative to keep the outlandish mega-profits for CEOs and their inner circles going. It should never be seen as un-American or even a crime for a family to have a secure and decent standard of living. Teachers also fall into this category!!

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100%. Im a long time union girl myself. And although I admire Fain, he’s foolish not to support Biden.

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He doesn’t support Biden?

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That's what he said in the video Steve posted on here, when the interviewer asked him why he's not endorsing Biden. He just talked around it. I feel it's a mistake for Unions to waffle on American leadership. Does Fain think tRump gives two sheets about unions? Or any republican? R's are the big union busters! It baffles me, the lack of endorsement.

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Thank you DeeDee, I read Steve’s article but did not view the video yet. That is a huge mistake by Shawn Fain then. The Republican Party has never believed in Unions or supported them.

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Sep 18, 2023·edited Sep 18, 2023

A good part of Fain’s present refusal to endorse Joe Biden is rooted in Biden’s strong promotion of EVs. Fain and the UAW need to see their way clear to two goals: decent fair wages, and a clear path to a future with EV manufacture, which is concerning to Fain because EVs have fewer parts and would eliminate certain jobs. Although Fain has said he’s not yet ready to endorse Biden, he has said that under no circumstances will he endorse Trump.

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Great clarification. Thank you

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Thank you for these comments

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