Unionist: "Worst Job Crisis" since 1932
[This short article originally published in: Zeit-Fragen Nr. 47, December 15, 2003 is translated from the German on the World Wide Web, http://www.zeit-fragen.ch/ARCHIV/ZF_112a/TO2.HTM,
"Since Bush took office, we on the labor market have skidded into the worst crisis since the Great Depression." Jerry Zellhoefer, European representative of the AFL-CIO drew a disastrous balanced of George W. Bush's presidency in a conversation with the "Vienna Zeitung". The official statistics do not show the true extent of the problem: "The 15 million on the street who have lost all hope and don't seek jobs any more should be included. 44 million - 2.4 million more than 2002 - have no health insurance. Millions of `working poor' keep their heads above water with McJobs at $5.15 an hour, a rate unchanged for 3 years."
The unionist sees globalization as one of the causes of the malaise or plight: "More and more jobs are outsourced to low-wage countries. After Mexico and Latin America, Asia and China are now strengthened." Following industrial jobs, "white-collar" jobs of the service branch in computers, medical technology and research are affected increasingly. According to union information, IBM and other electronic giants are planning on transferring 3 million service jobs to India and Asia in the next 15 years "representing wages of $136 billion". In the negotiations on world trade, international social standards and environmental regulations must also be enforced in the threshold countries. Still the main evil is homemade: "There is no labor market policy under Bush. All the advances of the Clinton era are shattered." Productivity, stock prices and profits rise. Protecting investments is the only goal.
"Bush runs into debt, steers money into the military-industrial complex instead of the infrastructure and lowers taxes for the rich while a fifth of the children live in poverty." What can the union do? For Zellhoefer, the next presidential election is the "most important since 1932". "A Democrat must win. Otherwise the casino economy will continue unrestrained and unbridled."