Follow the Money: Who Profits Rampant Age Discrimination?

EDUCATION POLITICS-A recent 60 Minutes program reported on how the H1B visa is being used to get rid of an older, more expensive professional American work force in favor of imported workers whose best "skill" is that they will work for a fraction of the salary and benefits. 

The link between this phenomenon and higher profits at any cost should not be missed merely because it is not reported by the mainstream corporate-owned media that is not so coincidentally behind this phenomenon designed to increase corporate profit at any cost. Even foundation-dependent NPR is loathe to go against the interests of its equally compromised corporate owned and controlled foundation supporters, who believe that NPR will never "bite the hand that feeds them." 

This financial reality within the media is emblematic of how much worse things will be in the American workplace and economy for older, more expensive high seniority employees now that we have a Trump administration that is hell-bent on reinstituting a 19th century government-free laissez faire work environment that supports corporate profit and the elimination of hard earned seniority and vested salary rights above all other legal rights and considerations. 

The rights of expensive high seniority employees were already under assault under the Obama administration when regulatory agencies like the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) were defunded to the point of being unable to stop blatant age, gender, and racial discrimination in the marketplace. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. 

Even more sinister is what amounts to the complete elimination of the hard-earned ability of unions to stand against this well-planned assault on American workers across the employment spectrum. As I have already pointed out in many articles about the privatization of public education, unions like American Federation of Teachers (AFT) under Randi Weingarten or United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) under Alex Caputo-Pearl and company were put into office by the very players in management that are so intent on eliminating any vested rights teachers might have. 

Just one example of how this is accomplished can be seen at UTLA in its position when called upon to defend expensive high-seniority teachers that are disproportionately targeted and removed from their careers using completely fabricated "evidence." Once the school district has fired the teacher, they are no longer considered to be a member of the union so the union has no obligation to legally defend that person -- even though the LAUSD/UTLA Collective Bargaining Agreement clearly gives the union this right. 

Doesn't allowing management in any unionized industry the ability and power to determine union membership completely undermine the fundamental power and purpose of a union? According to UTLA and other ersatz unions like it around the country, you can be a good dues paying member of the union for years, but once the employer removes you, there go your union rights. 

What exacerbates this irrational phenomenon is that employees are being targeted and removed by management with no respect for their basic rights to presumptions of innocence and due process of law. 

To put it bluntly, unions like UTLA and others around the country now represent management and their own administrative interests -- not the interests and hard fought legal rights of their rank and file. 

Putting aside the blatant illegality and inequity of this collusion between union leadership and corporate management, one might also ask what avoidable economic catastrophes might occur if the institutional memory offered by older workers continues to be eradicated. 

If the laissez-faire policies of the Trump administration make 2017 the functional equivalent of 1928 (on the eve of the Great Depression of 1929) by eliminating a seasoned older work force, who will be left to keep this country from going over a cliff? 

While racial and ethnic discrimination are often in the news, do you think the majority of people in this country are aware that in the aggregate, age discrimination could be the most dominant and pernicious form of discrimination in our society?


(Leonard Isenberg is a Los Angeles observer and a contributor to CityWatch. He was a second generation teacher at LAUSD and blogs at Leonard can be reached at Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.