Joel Rogers: Unions Best 'Anti-Poverty' Program; Low Unionization Equals No Middle Class in America

Joe Schoffstall | May 6, 2010 has discovered another video of Joel Rogers, who sits on the National Steering Committee of the Apollo Alliance (who crafted President Obama's stimulus bill), from a 2009 workers' round-table in Madison, Wisconsin, in which he stated “Unions are the best anti-poverty program in America” and that union membership is directly correlated to whether the United States has a middle class or not. “Having a decent job is the best way to get to the middle class. It’s probably the only way to get to the middle-class. Most workers, unless you’ve got really exceptional labor market skills that are in demand, the safest route there is having a union", Rogers said.

“That’s the best anti-poverty program in the country, that’s the best- trades especially- it’s the best trade program. It’s an American institution, our form of unionism, and does a lot of good. When you had high unionization you had a middle class in America, with low unionization you don’t, and those things are not unrelatable. Period.” Rogers stated this as unions began pushing for the passage of the so-called 'Employee Free Choice Act' last year. However, the Heritage Foundation disagrees. In an study titled, “What Unions Do: How Labor Unions Affect Jobs and the Economy, James Sherk writes: “Unions function as labor cartels. A labor cartel restricts the number of workers in a company or industry to drive up the remaining workers' wages, just as the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) attempts to cut the supply of oil to raise its price. Companies pass on those higher wages to consumers through higher prices, and often they also earn lower profits. Economic research finds that unions benefit their members but hurt consumers generally, and especially workers who are denied job opportunities.” Rogers claims the best way to the middle class is through unions and that without unions, there is no middle class. Sherk, on the other hand, says unions, in fact, cause job loses. “The balance of economic research shows that unions do not just happen to organize firms with more layoffs and less job growth: They cause job losses. Most studies find that jobs drop at newly organized companies, with employment falling between 5 percent and 10 percent”, Sherk writes. As videos such as this emerge, the likes of Glenn Beck and others have been stepping up their pressure on Rogers given his far left wing rhetoric and ties to President Obama. The Apollo Alliance, who as mentioned earlier crafted the $787 billion dollar stimulus bill, also wrote the  'Cap and Trade'  Climate Change legislation. Ironically Van Jones, the disgraced former Green Jobs Czar in the Obama administration who eventually resigned, also sits on the Apollo Alliance's National Steering Committee alongside Rogers.