Republican Attack on Unions is Short on Facts

By on November 27, 2017

From The St. Louis American:  My compliments to state Rep. Shamed Dogan (R-Ballwin) on his well-written commentary (“Unions ignore long history of excluding minorities from jobs,” Nov. 13) designed to intentionally distort the reality of unions and their support of minorities. His commentary, while skillfully written, is factually, and intentionally, incorrect.

Representative Joshua Peters, District 076

I was troubled by the fact that the bulk of his anti-union, anti-worker screed was based on reports from the 1930’s, 1959, and “a century ago.” The only current reference to unions and their involvement with African Americans was an AFL-CIO report in 2016 that clearly said the Labor Movement can, will, and has done better when it comes to inclusion. I credit the AFL-CIO for their candor and honesty, something Dogan should try to emulate.

Dogan should read the latest report on 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Labor:

“Among major race and ethnicity groups, black workers continued to have a higher union membership rate in 2016 (13.0 percent) than workers who were white (10.5 percent), Asian (9.0 percent), or Hispanic (8.8 percent).”

Let’s review a few facts about St. Louis’ labor unions and their extensive minority support and inclusion efforts.

FACT: The so-called “right-to-work” law that Dogan praises and voted for (a law that will hurt not only African Americans, but all workers by forcing lower wages, less safe workplaces, etc.), was created in 1936 as a moneymaking venture by a man who did it specifically to keep blacks out of unions. Look up Vance Muse and the Christian American Association and be shocked at what you are supporting.

FACT: The St. Louis Building Trades have for years worked diligently to recruit minorities and women.

In 2013, the St. Louis Building Trades Council and its member unions, along with the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters District Council, created the BUD program (Building Union Diversity), which has successfully graduated 87 percent of its 127 participants and placed 86 percent of them in union apprenticeship programs working with unionized businesses and contractors.

Painters District Council 58, in coordination with the Workers Education Society, created an Advanced Skills Workforce Center that to-date has graduated 80-plus African Americans into union painting jobs with union wages and benefits.

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About Dede Hance