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Why the New Economy Shrinks the Middle Class and How We Let It Happen

Be Grateful for Whatever You Get in the New Economy

Be Grateful for Whatever You Get in the New Economy
By Celeste343, Creativecommons.com/Compfight.org

“Be grateful for whatever you get, this is the new economy.” Andrew Ross, San Francisco Chronicle.

Andy Ross actually wrote this in his weekly Sunday column on October 13, 2013 to Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) union workers.

We’ve become a nation of accepters and I don’t mean that in a good way. No wonder our middle class continues to shrink. We just continue to take it lying down and trust everyone at their word.

Polls Are Biased

For example, did you know that  63 percent of people recently surveyed who live in counties where BART travels, think BART employees should accept management’s current contract offer?

Did you also know that the survey was sponsored by the Bay Area Council, a business sponsored public-policy advocacy organization?  Do you think the Bay Area Council, which markets itself as “The Voice of Business”  has a vested interest in BART workers getting a fair contract? Probably not.

Union Contracts Boost Economy

Here’s something you should know: when BART workers get a fair contract, they help raise the middle class standard of living. With more income, workers spend more money, which boosts our economy.

According to the June 2013 Kiplinger Report, San Francisco is the third most expensive city in the country. Our cost of living is 63.4 percent above average. San Jose checks in at fourth, with cost of living expenses that run 53.4 percent above average. Oakland ranks 8th and is 35 percent above average.

No other region in the country boasts three cities in the top 10.

What does that tell you? Should we be grateful for what we get or do we have a major income gap in the Bay Area?

SF Chronicle Shuts Down Union’s Health & Welfare Plan

Perhaps Ross also feels resentful since the Pacific Media Workers Guild, the union that represents San Francisco Chronicle newspaper and communication workers, just agreed to shut down its Media Guild Health & Welfare Trust. Chronicle union members will now pay a “considerably higher” premium through the new Hearst corporate run benefit system.

I don’t know if Ross is a member of the Chronicle’s union, but he writes the way a lot people today feel. “If I can’t have something, neither can you.”

BART Unions Stand Up for Middle Class

The idea of community that our parents once shared seems almost quaint.

In the meantime, the rich continue to divide and conquer. Kudos to the BART workers and their leadership for having the guts to call out BART management while an apathetic public and brainwashed media think only of themselves.

Next Clicks

How BART Prepared for a Union Strike

BART Unions’ Messaging War

The First Rule of Negotiation


About the Author:
FX Crowley is a Public Affairs and Labor Relations Specialist, and former 15-year Business Manager of IATSE Local 16, San Francisco. A third-generation San Franciscan, FX can break down any football game from Pop Warner to the Pros and analyze it for hours. Contact to learn more ››