Rangel: Abolishing Unions’ Collective Bargaining ‘Close to Slavery’


rangel1State governments taking steps to “abolish” collective bargaining rights for workers is similar to slavery, Rep. Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) contends.┬áSpeaking Monday at a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) event about GOP-proposed budget cuts, Rangel brought up Republican governors’ plans to target public sector workers, as in the case of Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-fix plan in Wisconsin.

“It doesn’t really make any sense at all for the president of the United States to talk about creating jobs in order to improve the economy and find out that mayors and governors are talking about laying off people,” Rangel said. “Collective bargaining is something that is so close to slavery in terms of abolishing it, that it is not an American concept to tell people that they cannot discuss their economic position.”

Rangel’s statement is one of the strongest rebukes of Republican-controlled state governments’ efforts to cut spending and go after public-employee unions.

Walker’s plan would not entirely abolish collective bargaining for state workers, but it would limit their ability to collectively bargain over everything but wages. The plan does not apply to police, firefighters or state troopers. Walker’s proposal would also force workers to pay an increased share of their pension and healthcare benefits.

The budget bill sparked widespread protests from union workers and their supporters that have lasted weeks; state Senate Democrats have fled Wisconsin in protest, preventing the bill from being passed.

Ohio and Indiana have proposed similar plans.

On Tuesday, CBC members blasted congressional Republicans’ plans to slash federal spending, calling that a step back for civil rights.

“It’s really especially poignant that this year during Black History Month, the Republican leadership has proposed a budget for fiscal year 2011 that will fall most heavily, mind you, on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society: African Americans, Latinos, and poor, those who have been shut of the American dream,” said Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.)

Rangel, who was censured by the House last year for ethics violations, said the GOP has “chutzpah” to support the spending cuts, which he said fall unfairly on the poor.

“In New York, they have a certain expression called ‘chutzpah,'” he said. “And I think that it takes a lot of chutzpah to talk about everybody making a sacrifice and targeting just the working people that come from the poorest communities.”

{The Hill/Matzav.com}


  1. Another nutjob. They are coming out of the woodwork.

    If Mangel says collective bargaining is close to slavery. Then he knows not what slavery was. He is an embarrassment to his race and the human race.

  2. A history lesson for #2 and friends –

    Why did slavery never catch on in the North? Because it was cheaper to hire and fire factory hands whenever there was a change in the work available. Factory owners didn’t have to pay wages during downturns, and they could pay starvation wages in unsafe conditions and get away with it. Slavery required a big upfront investment in buying the slaves and then ongoing expenses to feed and clothe them even when work was slow. So much for Northern virtue….

    Unions only really got started in the 1930’s, because factory owners and the government were afraid that Communists (IWW and similar organizations) would unionize instead, so they legalized “American style” unions. The result? The prosperity of the 50’s and 60’s when workers had the money to buy the products they produced.

    Now, your average worker is making peanuts or is unemployed, and the economy is crashing. The gap between rich and poor has reached that of most Third World poor countries, and yet Walker, Koch and company are calling for more wage decreases. Who’s going to buy what we produce if they don’t have any money? We’re about to see a new phenomenon – trickle-up poverty. As the poor get poorer, and the middle class disappears, the rich are going to see their businesses fail too. If you’re under 40, you’d better start learning Chinese.