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During the Obama Administration, America saw its lowest labor force participation rates since the Carter era. While all groups suffered, blacks suffered disproportionately.
Yet there was nary a peep from the budding Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement back then.
And as jobs in the manufacturing sector left America for China – jobs that paid well and provided great benefits to blacks and whites alike – many union bosses looked the other way. What’s strange is that union leaders opposed China’s ascension into the World Trade Organization under the Clinton Administration and issued stern warnings about the consequences. But that was then, and this is now.
Apparently, what’s done is done.
Between 1999 and 2011, America lost more than 5 million manufacturing jobs. Nearly half of those jobs were lost directly as a result from predatory behavior by China.
Where is BLM on this issue? Totally AWOL. The systematic destruction of high-paying jobs held by blacks is apparently a non-issue for them. BLM has yet to engage in any conversation about these job losses – whether to praise Trump Administration policies that have disproportionately benefited blacks or criticize unions for not making a bigger issue out of earlier trade policies that catered to China.
BLM supporters have instead put a higher priority on pushing conspiracy theories that the higher presence of obesity and diabetes in the black community is more consequential than black job losses caused by acquiescence to China undermining the U.S. labor market.
Simultaneously, it seems too many union leaders are distracted by corruption probes rather to fight for the American worker.
So it’s the height of irony that Big Labor and BLM are now teaming up to allegedly promote the interests of working-class blacks. Who benefits?
Not blacks and not blue-collar workers. While unions should be wielding their power to rail against Chinese global influence, many find themselves embroiled in scandal. It seems union leaders tasked with protecting and fighting for the workers have been so busy taking advantage of union members that they cannot focus on China.
Earlier this month, James W. Cahill – a New York construction union president – was indicted on racketeering and fraud charges. Federal prosecutors allege Cahill and 10 others accepted over $100,000 in bribes for aiding businesses that employed non-union labor.
And United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams plead guilty to embezzled union funds for golf fees, cigars and other luxuries for himself and his cronies. Williams’ guilty plea came just four months after Gary Jones, his successor, admitted to helping steal more than $1 million from rank-and-file workers.
Similarly, BLM is having its own problems. Professional sports leagues including the NBA and NFL saw their public support drop dramatically after endorsing BLM – which is increasingly seen as a force for riots and violence rather than equality.
The public is now directly critical of BLM. In the wake of the Kenosha riots, a Morning Consult/Politico poll found favorable views of the Black Lives Matter movement have dropped by double-digit points since June. At about that same time, the BLM leadership scrubbed its website after undoubtedly recognizing their extremist platform was harming their efforts.
Suffering similar problems, it now looks like Big Labor and BLM are joining forces to bolster each other. But what does it do for their members? Not much, it seems.
Consider Teamsters organizer Chuck Stiles. Another member of his local Georgia chapter – Mike Drummond – accused Stiles of payouts and a “phantom job” that has benefited himself and his family and enriching him over and above his regular union salary.
Rather than the union distancing itself from him, Stiles now uses BLM as an organizing tool for the union. And he has sought to leverage this summer’s Black Lives Matter activism into increased support for organized labor. Despite his current enthusiasm, there is no evidence in Federal Election Commission reports or otherwise that BLM’s new supporter ever helped any black political candidates.
And yet BLM doesn’t seem to care.
This partnership is unsurprising. Union members rely on their leadership to protect their rights and fight for their best interests. BLM claims that it’s doing the same for blacks.
Yet when corruption and greed are the agenda for these groups, it seems the average American worker and their families – black and white – suffer.
Project 21 Co-Chairman Council Nedd II, co-chairman of the Project 21 black leadership network, is a Pennsylvania State Constable and rector of St. Alban’s Anglican Church in State College, Pennsylvania. This was originally published by OpinionEditorials.com.
New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.
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Author: The National Center