Anti-Labor, Pro-liberal

It's rant time.
<rant>The great thing about blogging is that I don't have to skirt around the edges if I don't want to. So, to make a short story even shorter, I didn't blog today because I spent the entire day getting blasted to celebrate the simultaneous occasions of my birthday and the Eagles making the Superbowl. The Patriots are going down and, even if they aren't (OK, they probably aren't), this is going to be one happy city for the next two weeks. Anyway, after a long an inconclusive game of cards, I spent a while watching the post-game shows. Much to my surprise, Governor Rendell was on Comcast Sports Night. Even more surprising, he wasn't on in an interview, or as an occasional guest, he was actually one of the three commentators for the program. He was on TV quoting stats, talking strategy, providing analysis of blitz packages, and going back on forth with the other analysts as though he was an actual sports announcer. The fact that he is the Governor never even came up. It was purely apolitical football discussion. Anyway, seeing Rendell play sports analyst reminded me why he became Governor: because he is able to connect with wide swaths of the electorate who do not necessarily view politics as a series of legislative policies or "issues." Somehow, even though he is part of the Philadelphia political machine, he just has the touch that will secure a huge section of the Perot swing vote. He comes across as a reformer, even though he is anything but. He knows exactly what aspects of his personality to market, and he does an excellent job of it. Watching him on TV also reminded me of the fairly bloody gubernatorial primary here three years ago between Rendell and Casey. I spent some time flyering for Casey because he had been endorsed by the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO. However, at best I was a detached or occasional activist. It bothered me that Casey was anti-choice, even though it bothered me a little bit more that Rendell, considering what he had done as Mayor, was clearly anti-labor. Because of these mutual dislikes, it was hard for me to become too involved, but in the end I sided with Casey. The way I figured it, reproductive rights hinge largely upon Roe, over which a governor has no influence, but labor rights have been in severe decline for decades. A governor has very real influence over statewide labor rights--just ask anyone in Illinois, California or New York. Of course, in the end, neither labor nor choice mattered. Rendell won in a landslide due to his Philadelphia connections and his "regular guy" image. At long last, this brings me to the point of this article. I am staunchly pro-choice and pro-labor. However, while these positions did not matter in the election, they did matter among activists, whom I felt were strongly lined up behind Rendell. As someone (admittedly, a male) who is both pro-choice and pro-labor, this really bothered me. I worry that we have come to the point as a party where, in order to be a Democratic standard bearer, it is okay to be anti-labor and pro-choice while it is not okay to be anti-choice and pro-labor. It is as though liberalism has been detached from labor. Just for example, why is it that Roemer's position on reproductive rights has become an issue in the race for DNC chair, but no one's position on labor rights has become an issue? Why is it that when Kucinich ran for President, his announcement brought with it worries over his once anti-choice position, but no one's announcement brought with it cries over anyone's anti-labor positions? Kerry is practically dead last among Democratic Senators on Labor Rights, but no one cared during the primaries. In fact, have you ever, even once, heard of a major Democratic candidate being criticized for their position on labor? I haven't, and quite frankly an anti-labor Democrat even became our beloved President during the super-corporate nineties. By contrast, how often are potential Democratic standard bearers harangued about even holding anti-choice positions at one time? Because Kucinich, who had been voting pro-choice for eight months, had become pro-choice only around eight months before he announced, his candidacy was basically D.O.A. Why is it that being pro-Roe a litmus test, but being anti-FTAA is not? Why is it that being anti-occupation is a litmus test for so many in the Democratic Party, but being pro-card check for the private sector is not? In my opinion, a candidate's position on private sector card check law should be as well known as their position on single payer health care, Iraqi troop deployment, the Kyoto treaty or Roe, but can you even tell me what Kerry's position on private sector card check is? I'll wager you ten dollars that you can't. The fact of the matter is this: one of the main reasons Democrats are losing elections is because it is okay to be pro-environment and anti-labor, it is okay to be pro-Roe and anti-labor, it is okay to be anti-war and anti-labor, it is okay to be anti-patriot act and anti-labor, but it is never okay to be pro-labor and anti-any of these other things. It has literally come to the point where you can be pro-liberal, but anti-labor, and no one seems to care. We can have millennialist rhetoric about the abolishment of our rights in so many areas, but never in labor, even though the erosion of labor rights is far more clear than the erosion of nay of our other rights. For cryin' out loud, in the 1950's, 40% of the workforce was unionized. Now, it is 1/3 that total. That is not a potential crisis--that is a full blown disaster that is already taking place. Quite frankly, the leadership of our party, in an alliance with the Republicans, sold unions down the river for middle-class liberalism. Further, the massive decline in union membership is directly tied to the massive decline in the Democratic Party, especially at the grassroots level. For the love of God, unions were our Left Wing Noise Machine, and we destroyed them to protect our middle class causes at every turn. Who provided our precinct captains that we now so desperately desire? We provided the grassroots before the netroots were around? Who provided the anti-conservative economic policy? Whose void are we now claiming to fill? Here is an ugly truth about the netroots: we are the not so rich version of the DLC that we claim to hate. Our lack of interest and knowledge about labor is stunning. The importance of these issues among the netroots is revealing. Pop quiz--can anyone even tell me what private sector card check means, much less what it would mean to this country? The last time I used that term in a blog article, it elicited only questions, no affirmations. You want to know why Canada is so much more left wing than America? It might have something to do with 40% of their workforce being unionized. You want to know why Western Europe is so much more left wing than America? The answer is similar. And this is not a chicken and the egg argument--the unions are the ur force here. This past Thursday, during the Philly DFA steering committee / house party meeting, I snapped at a couple of people who I both like and admire very much when they complained about the potential difficulty in endorsing and working for Casey for the Senate in 2006 because he is anti-choice. I said something like "yeah, it would be terrible if we actually got someone pro-labor in the Senate for once." I felt bad about snapping at them, but it does not reduce the level of my frustration. It is absolutely stunning to me how little the netroots care about labor, yet still claim to be "taking back the party." It is stunning to me how little the netroots care about labor and still claim to be building a progressive future. Would it be so bad to have someone who is pro-labor and anti-choice, considering our current state of affairs? Granted, it would not be as good as having someone pro-choice and pro-labor, but why is one a litmus test and the other one isn't? Is Roe being overturned really worse than all of us working at Wal-Mart? As a man, I ask that as a serious question, not rhetorical or sarcastic in any way. (More as an aside, I would ask which one is closer to reality, anyway?) More to the point: why aren't labor rights a litmus test too? Nothing pegs our middle class movement for what it is more than our apathy about labor. That needs to end, because if we are not pro-labor, and loudly pro-labor, the Democratic Party will die no matter what Noise Machine or grassroots movement we bring to bear. Period. It is time for a new litmus test, and quite frankly, as far as I know, the only candidate for chair who passes that test is Howard Dean.</rant&gt

Tags: Labor (all tags)



I concur with EVERYTHING you just wrote but have an observation.

When you mentioned Rendall hosting a sports show, my mind immediately conjured up the image of Rush Limbaugh on ESPN...what's up with that.

The wingnuts ideology has already seeped into our churches now are they trying to infect sports. I just watched a documentary on Pele and it revealed how the "Generals" used sport as an opiate for the masses. What are they up to now?

by Parker 2005-01-23 10:05PM | 0 recs
In solidarity
Except for Wal-Mart, labor issues are sadly ignored in the blogosphere.
by Lavoisier1794 2005-01-23 10:22PM | 0 recs
after my father died..they pay for my mothers

medical insurance like 80% they did not have

to do that...because of them my mom was

able to have cancer surgery which saved her

life...all her drugs which are expensive

are 80% paid for...I thank God for pipeliners

union 798 in much longer they

can help I don't I say that to say

this bring all the union votes into

our corner lockstep is to re table abortion

and re table gun control ...the 2nd one is

easy just by the mere fact fascism is on the

rise in this country (people who want it all)

we as progressives need to get educated about

self defense for patriotic reasons (no! I am

not advocating violence but I am advocating

a deterrance from fascism).Now the first is more difficult ..but we need

to have an honest conversation with feminist

and women in we can get 90%

voting block from labor..if not labor dies

we die...fascism grows.

by Aslanspal 2005-01-23 10:51PM | 0 recs
I agree with you... I think.   If fascism is on the rise the first thing you need to do is support the 2nd amendment.  Get over the fact that is impossible to get guns out of the hands of criminals and it is very necessary for self-defense against a radical government.

By no means am I calling for a revolt, just asking progressives to support the rights that hold the union together.

by Classical Liberal 2005-01-24 03:37AM | 0 recs

the essence of fascism is NOT the propaganda, the Gestapo, the death camps.

The essence of Fascism, according to Mussolini, was ...

Crony Capitalism! The heart of Fascism lies in removing the distinction between the state and the firm.

It isn't just the Constitution that needs to be protected. It's also the whole structure of regulation which not only protected workers and unions but broke up monopolies, exposed crooked business deals, and the like.

This Right Wing movement wants to remove all regulational constraints on business and to unite favored coporations with office holders.

THAT is the sort of Fascism that powered Mussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany. The Nazi Party was driven by its seamless intermarriage with Junkers and Krupp.

by Thresholder 2005-01-24 01:24PM | 0 recs
It is telling which leaders you decide to follow.  
by Classical Liberal 2005-01-27 01:32PM | 0 recs
The Death of Labor unions...
Labor Unions as Seperated from a pro labor position are dead in my opinion.

It was the UPS strike that first made me aware of the sheer stupidity of the labor movement.  UPS is a union shop and far more pro labor than Federal express, however instead of unionising Federal express the unions made their benefactor less compeditive by striking.  Net result labor hurts the hand that feeds it.

Same story in California with grocery stores lowering benifits to compete with Wallmart.  Labor couldn't touch wallmart so they went after the food chains that had given them a much much better deal for a long time and were terribly terribly afriad of a wallmart that was entering the food segment in a serious staterbrothers way as opposed to their current gas station food way.

In my opinion we need to do one of two things.  

  1.  Either we need a massive massive massive massive effort to bring back unions like we had them in the past.  In my opinion this will fail as we are entering the robot revolution and capital really can do without labor for the first time in human history.

  2.  Find ways to help labor in ways that are not directly anti-management.  The farmers co-op model appeals to me as this is a way that we can help the common man.  We should have labor friendly orgainizations that are not anti-management/wallstreet.

Most of the poor and lower middle class actually pay more for things than do the rich.  Very poor may rent by the week because they cannot afford to pay the down payment for rent by month even though the monthly rent is lower.  Credit cards are a massive money drain for many people who have to borrow as oppopsed to already having the money.  Housing is another way the poor pay the rich.  

If liberal economics is better nation wide then we should be able to find ways to express it that make money in our local communitites.

Habitate for humanity is a good idea that breaks even but why don't they have a lottery for those houses and make money?  Making money is like releasing energy in chemical reactions, if you make money it will spread like an explosion, if not it won't.

Many poor play the lottery with an average pay back of 10 cents on the dollar.  Having a housing lottery that pays back 80 cents on the dollar and has as its prize a house that you have to live in for 3 years.  This lottery would raise local economies as the winner didn't win enough money to leave his neighborhood or job, just enough to make his/her life a little easier.  

Same idea but this time a lottery that pays off your credit card but only if you cancel all your credit cards and stay credit free for 6 months.

I think there are ways to be pro-worker, pro citizen, pro family that are not pro organized labor.  Because in my opinion organized labor as it is currently orgainized is dead or dying...

by donkeykong 2005-01-23 11:05PM | 0 recs
Re: The Death of Labor unions...
You are obviously ignorant to the process of getting an election for a union at these employers.  Let me explain.

UPS and FedEx are covered NOT under the National Labor Relations Act, but the Railway Labor Act.  In order to form a union at FedEx, you have to organize it everywhere, not shop by shop.

And, if someone doesn't vote, it's counted as a "no" vote for a union.  Plus, the fact that the boss has unfettered access to these workers and the unions have to got through dumpsters to try to find a list of workers put the union at a disadvantage.

And I would have to disagree with you on the UPS strike.  That strike brought forth the issue of part time America to the forefront.  When has that been an issue in America other than Wal-Mart?  

And by all accounts, the strike is seen as a victory for Labor, not a defeat.  Not to mention the fact that UPS is profitable than ever.

Labor needs to change, but we are far from dead.

by unionmark 2005-01-24 05:09AM | 0 recs
Re: The Death of Labor unions...
I have to agree with Union Mark on the UPS front.  Just because they had a better deal with the labor unions than Fed EX really isn't the issue.  The rights ofthe part time workers were not anywhere near the full time workers...the part-time guys make up a significant portion of UPS workforce.  I remember the hassles that happened when they went on strike (the store I worked for used UPS) and had managers delivering.  But if you ask me they brought it upon themselves.  The company gambled, they lost, they paid the price.  It hurt them short term, but long term (I know people who work for both companies) it seems to have helped them and of my friends the UPS workers seem to have a happier work enviroment than the FedEX guys.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-24 09:08AM | 0 recs
How very warped
That you blame unions for these strikes.  Do you think that their workers woke up one morning and thought, "Hey!  Let's strike!  It'll be fun."  No.  Strikes were the only way that workers could compel management to meet their demands.

Fact is, in both cases, the management brought the strike upon itself.  They wanted it, or at least they wanted it more than they wanted to meet the demands of their workers.

What the UPS strike showed me was exactly how far management is willing to go to fuck over a worker.  Alternative readings are honestly baffling to me.

by Drew 2005-01-24 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: How very warped
Quick name 3 more pro union shops than pre strike UPS.
by donkeykong 2005-01-25 10:46AM | 0 recs
Re: The Death of Labor unions...
"however instead of unionising Federal express the unions made their benefactor less compeditive by striking..."

Doh!  What could we have been thinking of?  Of course, it's all clear now.  We should have just waved our magic unionizing wand and turned FedEx into a unionized shop.

Donkeykong, you don't realize how nearly impossible it is to organize new unions.  Federal law is supposed to aim for a "laboratory environment", which means that workers are supposed to be able to decide on representation without intimidation.  But, the corporations are allowed to hold mandatory anti-union meetings subtly use their workplace authority to influence the vote.  And those are just the legal things they can do.  If they do something illegal, they get slapped on the wrist.

by jameswithrow 2005-01-24 03:58PM | 0 recs
Northern California Grocery Strike
Did you read about the strike by the grocery clerks union in northern California? You didn't read about it because it never happened. The grocery stores took a look at the estimated billion dollar cost in lost sales and decided the current contract wasn't that bad after all. They completely caved.

The unions didn't go after the grocery stores, the grocery stores went after the unions. Chasing Walmart wages isn't the solution, it's the problem.

Of course you won't read about pro-union stories in the newspaper because newspapers are anti-union and have done everything they could to help kill off unions. The media bias against unions is as strong as any bias the media has. Misinformation is probably more prevalent on this issue than any other.

Unions can't strike back or mount a PR campaign because they are outgunned by the corporate and media interests.

by Gary Boatwright 2005-01-24 04:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Northern California Grocery Strike
Look at the real picture.  The Grocery stores didn't go after the union in a vacuum then did it because faced with competition with Wallmart they would lose out because their cost structure doesn't allow them to compete with Wallmart.

End result Union keeps its jobs for a few years then Wallmart cleans house and all those jobs are lost forever.

by donkeykong 2005-01-25 10:45AM | 0 recs
Re: Northern California Grocery Strike
Pass laws that make it easy to organize unions and the Walmart problem disappears.
by SRconbio 2005-01-25 11:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Northern California Grocery Strike
Or organize a boycott of wallmart.

Or get other stores to match prices for 6 weeks and everyone boycotts wallmart for 6 weeks over wages.


Or get supliers to boycot wallmart.

Or get legislation that any store selling more goods from China than from USA must offer  X dollars per hour and X hours per week to X percent of its employees.

by donkeykong 2005-01-25 12:21PM | 0 recs
OKay I'll Bite
Can you please explain

"private sector card check law"

I googled it, got a general overview, but please do explain the ramifications for the labor ignorant (myself at the top of the list).

by Virginia Liberal 2005-01-23 11:18PM | 0 recs
Re: OKay I'll Bite
It has to do with Union elections.  When you want to unionize a place, you have to have an election and 50% of the voting work force must approve of the Union.  The problem is that once the companies learn about these elections, they scare off and strong arm the people who want to vote Union, and thus the Union measure burns in flames.  They will do things like Anti-Union direct mail, because, of course, they have all the employee addresses, and the Unions do not.

Some Unions actually get around this by getting more than half of the employees to sign Union cards.  The problem is that companies do not have to honor that and let the Union in the shop.  When you hear about people talk about "Card Check Neutrality", they mean laws that guarantee that companies recognize a Union if more than half of the employees sign up.  I'm not sure whether some states have such laws or not, but it needs to be federally mandated.

Until a friend of mine from the Dean campaign talked about this and my Mom, a former organizer, explained this to me, I didn't know card check from a hole in the wall.

by charlesdog12 2005-01-24 01:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Anti-Labor, Pro-Liberal
I'm hearing you.

I think there are challenging issues that the American people want solved and they're tired of hearing screams from all sides arguing about unimportant issues or purely ideological debate points.  The moral and philosophical entry requirements for joining the Democratic party are becoming so high that most regular folks just can't afford it anymore, they see the party sometimes as trivial at best in the causes it decides to champion and completely out of touch with the general population's concerns at worst.

As an example I give you the topic of gay marriage.  Over the holidays I was fortunate to have dinner with some people who had widely differing views on the subject.  After some minor debate they reached an accord, that gay's should have the same rights as everyone else, but that most of them didn't want it to be called marriage.  Why ?  Simple enough, some of them didn't believe in "gay marriage".  They did, however, believe that in a fair America everyone gay or straight, etc, should have the same basic rights when it comes to things like visitation and other points proponents of gay marriage put forth.  They also concluded that if one group couldn't have "marriage" mandated by the government then to be fair nobody should, so they decided the government shouldn't have it's nose in marriage to begin with and everyone should use civil unions.  Marriage was to return to the realm of religion and pairs(?) of people.  Imagine that, Democrats and Republicans were able to agree on something, solving the troubles of the world over dinner haha.

And what is so wrong with holding a moderate opinion ?  On the topic of choice, does the party have to follow it's zealots ?  Sure, there are people in America who want to get rid of abortion, some are fanatical, funded, and dangerous.  But most Americans don't seem to want that, most Americans seem to want to get rid of some of the more barbaric late term abortion procedures and keep abortion as a medical procedure, they don't want Roe/Wade overturned.  And there are plenty of people out there who agree with Democrats in general principle but have a hard time understanding where the party is coming from on some of these issues.  Why can't the party get on board with a reasonable moderate position in spirit as well as in word ?  Where are the party's moderate voices ?  Is it so terrible to be reasonable ?

In the last election stem cell research was a buzz phrase.  Many Americans actually have a moral delimma when it comes to stem cell research and need a chance to think about it, discuss it, consider it, and I believe they resented having it shoved down their throats on ideological grounds from all sides.  At it's base this is a shocking idea for a lot of people and they need some time to let it simmer and brew, to form an opinion.  But the party was perfectly willing to parade itself out on the tree limb in full cadence completely oblivious to the ever increasing amplitude of the limb's bounce as things became more precarious.  Does the Democratic party have to be the party of martyr's ?  Does it always have to be unfashionable to hold a popular opinion that a majority of people believes in ? haha.  And not for the reason of being popular, but in actual spirit and in essence, truly reach out and come to a consensus on the best path and do what is right for the country.  Where is the party's moderate voices, voices of pragmatics and practicality ?

What is a factory worker in Michigan actually concerned about ?  I don't think anybody has a clue.  Most folks don't talk with him, they just talk about him in the pubs in Georgetown.  I'm betting he's not concerned with gay marriage, stem cell research and abortion as much as he is road building, economic development and medical insurance though.

I'm probably just rambling ... I didn't think about it much before I wrote this LOL.

by Purple Foxglove 2005-01-24 12:01AM | 0 recs
Re: Anti-Labor, Pro-Liberal
Those "barbaric" late-term abortions are there to save women's lives, they aren't just something you do because you like barbarity.  

Surgery is generally pretty disgusting, you could make anything sound "barbaric" if you just describe it. (Want me to gross you out with descriptions of my eye surgery?  I usually short-hand it as, "I got my eye gouged out.")

What we need is to articulate what all of our beliefs are about and not let the right-wingers shape the discussion.  We have to explain why being pro-choice is the only pro-life position, that no one is saying we should require your church to marry gays, that people who work for a living deserve job safety and a living wage and the knowledge that when they are no longer hardy enough to work they can retire in peace.

Unfortunately, Kerry explained nothing in his campaign, and that made all the difference.

by Avedon 2005-01-24 05:55PM | 0 recs
Labor rights and the DNC race
why is it that Roemer's position on reproductive rights has become an issue in the race for DNC chair, but no one's position on labor rights has become an issue?

Chris -

It's because --- based purely on rhetoric and not reality --- all the DNC Chair candidates take an ostensibly pro-labor stance. Has anyone heard them say anything that could even be remotely construed as "anti-labor" (that would be an interesting research project; where's the AFL-CIO on this?).  

Meanwhile, on abortion, there are real fissures within the party, both rhetorically and in reality.

Now you and I both know that the ONLY candidate in the race who is ardently PRO-LABOR is Howard Dean. And in fact, at the DNC Western Regional Caucus that I attended yesterday, he was the ONLY candidate to say ANYTHING about labor, "free" trade and globalization. And he VOLUNTEERED it in the scope of a question about a completely different topic (no one asked him what his position was).

A very loose paraphrase of what Dean said: "We need to be exporting labor unions to the rest of the world, not jobs". In other words, globalizing the rights of workers and not just corporations.

by Fiat Lux 2005-01-24 12:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Labor rights and the DNC race
By the way... you could have heard a pin drop after Dean's critique of "free" trade. It wasn't just the content --- it was the passion in which he delivered it.

You can tell that Dean really "gets it," whereas the other candidates mouth platitudes about outsourcing, etc., without drawing a direct connection to the source of the problem --- a corporate-controlled international trade system.

Unfortunately, provided an opening by Dean's testicular fortitude on trade, the rest of the DNC candidates instead remained silent.

Maybe someone can bring this up at the NYC caucus this Saturday?

by Fiat Lux 2005-01-24 12:13AM | 0 recs
Pro NAFTA and GATT be considered inherently anti-labor?

I'm asking because I have seen very little talk about the Free Trade agreements and I personally believe that they are directly impacting the labor in the USA.  Both in terms of union membership, as well as the living wage.

I personally don't support free trade in general.  Maybe on a case by case basis, but Im not very keen on blanket free trade agreements. (Especially with countries that do not have good worker protection / min. wage/ child labor laws)
It seems to me that it hurts the american worker and only helps corporate america.  

Maybe Im wrong, I'd love to hear opinions on this.

by avagias 2005-01-24 02:03PM | 0 recs
Labor's position
That was my sense of it too.  Here's what the AFL-CIO has to say about them:

Regarding NAFTA

Regarding the WTO and GATT

Another thing that's often overlooked is the environmental issues with these treaties.  See:
by Horq 2005-01-24 10:59PM | 0 recs
Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
The reason that labor laws have fallen by the wayside is that there's an innate difference between being pro-labor and pro-union. The Democratic has no  hope if it opposes the worker protections that were earned over decades. It can survive however without ultra powerful unions. The reason is simple, white collar jobs pay more, necessitating less need to negotiate over wages.

Now the last fifteen years saw this carried out to the extreme. Now you have union shop electricians landscapers and the like undercut by illegal aliens who are not qualified but will do the job for 25% of what union set wages are. Accountants who balk at bad conditions find their job sent to India. And while lawyers are safe for now, even that is going to change.

The priority of the Democratic Party should not be concerned with who are unionized, who aren't etc. It should be considered with fair and humane labor standards period. This is what guys like Al From don't get at the DLC: campaigning for workers in America is all for naught if we do not demand more out of trading partners like China and Mexico. Further, international trade is important in creating peace and stability in the world, but we can't allow the debate to be "Free trade" versus "fair trade"....we can ONLY allow "free and fair" trade.

So yes, if Dean is either DNC or running for President in '08 there is light at the end of the tunnel. But the growing demographic shift also portends that for scab wage payers like Walmart an inevitable day of reckoning, close at hand.

by risenmessiah 2005-01-24 12:38AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
he reason is simple, white collar jobs pay more, necessitating less need to negotiate over wages.

Hmmm. Interesting logic. Can you explain then why median real wages have fallen steadily since the early 1970s? I wonder if that decline in wages has anything to do with the decline of labor unions...

The priority of the Democratic Party should not be concerned with who are unionized, who aren't etc. It should be considered with fair and humane labor standards period.

I agree with your second point here, but completely disagree with the first. How do you propose raising the standard of living for the millions of folks who work at Walmart, or really any of the big rertail or food chains, who are the largest group of workers in this nation? What do you see happening, after that day of reckoning, if it is not the organizing and collectivizing of service labor?

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
The reason the real wage has not rose in so long is simple: immigration. Population growth itself is cyclical. However, at the point in which the population of the US (of the working age) should have been declining c. 1995... it actually increased because of our "liberal" immigration policies.

But you are confusing cause and effect: In the 1950s, services were highly unionized. This includes everything from higher education to UPS to air service to acting to nurses. But as these jobs were more remunerative than say working at Wal-mart, the Baby Boomers believed they could be "free riders" enjoying union labor protection without paying the dues. Unfortunately as the "Greatest Generation" retires, the unions shrink. Additionally, now there is non-union competition (who used higher wages initially to lure people away!) combined with a middle class that often gravitated to jobs where unions never existed: real estate, insurance...The rise in the real wage preceeding it's stagnation over the last 30 years is the trigger in union membership declining...not vice versa.

What's the day of reckoning? 50% of the American workface saying "C-YA". Wage pressure always increases when employers have to compete with each other over the same people. Right now there's a suprlus of labor...soon there will be a shortage. What Dems have to do is not polarize union workers and non union workers. We have to stand up for labor standards for all people EQUALLY. From the grocery clerks to the multimillionaire NBA players. The more divided and self-conflicted the working class of America is, they more they vote Republican.

by risenmessiah 2005-01-24 06:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
But you are confusing cause and effect
Interesting, in that I didn't say that the decline in labor unions CAUSED the decline in real wages, but rather I questioned whether it might have something to do with it. You, on the other hand, seem to ahve no doubt that immigration is the cause. Let me be the first to snicker at such a statement.

Does immigration have anything to do with the decline? Sure. But where in your "simple" explanation does productivity, the pushing back of pro-labor laws, the full integration of women in the work force, and the dissapearence of the biggest source of labor work, manufacturing, come into play. That explanation was simple, and simply wrong.

The rise in the real wage preceeding it's stagnation over the last 30 years is the trigger in union membership declining...not vice versa

Wow, nice statements, which you have no possible way of proving true.

What Dems have to do is not polarize union workers and non union workers. We have to stand up for labor standards for all people EQUALLY

I agree, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't be fighting strongly for Union rights. Are there problems with Unions, you bet your ass there are. Is having collective bargaining capabilities esential to having a strong working class in the face of (enourmously powerful) capital, you bet your ass it is.

Right now there's a suprlus of labor...soon there will be a shortage.

when is this happening? When the third world suddenly stops making workers who will work for 1/100th of what Americans do?

This freemarket ideology is one thing the Dems need to start purging from the party, and if we did we'd win over the "Lou Dobbs" Republicans, who are mad as hell about the state of the economy, but who see teh Dems selling out the working class of this country to some ivory-tower ideal that couldn't stand further from reality.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 07:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
If you want to be successful then you need to unionize the 3rd world.  Thats where traditional unions will make the biggest difference anyway.

Traditional unions make the biggest difference when there is a surplus in labor which capital is exploiting due to market value being below basic living conditions.

by donkeykong 2005-01-24 08:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
According to George Borjas of Harvard, illegal immigration depresses wages to the tune of $190 billion a year.

Here's a standard "liberal" response to illegal immigration: give illegal aliens driver's licenses. Of course, there's a wee bit of a selfish motive here: these Hollywood "stars" want their nannies to be able to drive. And, they want everyone else to pay all the attendant costs. Otherwise, they might have to spend a few extra dollars and hire a citizen or legal worker.

by TheLonewackoBlog 2005-01-24 01:42PM | 0 recs
Here's what I would do if I ruled the country
And I mean if I had total control of both congress and the presidency.  I would do a mass round up of illegals and fortify the border-but double, triple, mulitply by ten the number of legal immigrants allowed from countries such as Mexico-but to apply, you would have to go your embassy in your home country.  I would eliminate most or all guest worker programs, H1B's, etc., too.  That is, I would give immigrants a fair chance in coming to America-but those who won't plan on playing by the rules and/or have no intention on staying in America permanently get to go to the back of the line and let people who are willing to play by the rules and become Americans in front.  Carrot, stick.
by Geotpf 2005-01-24 02:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Here's what I would do if I ruled the country
A mass round-up is not necessary. Asa Hutchinson, who resigned today after twice being passed over for head of the DHS, was sent out a few months ago to tell us that  "Rounding up all illegals 'not realistic'". In his case, such a mass round-up was a strawman.

What's needed is enforcing the laws against employing illegal aliens and enforcing or passing laws against driver's licenses and other public benefits for illegals.

Would a major chicken processor try to incorporate rat meat into its extruded chicken products? Would a major retailer try to sell year-old milk? No, because they'd get heavy fines and perhaps be driven out of business or face criminal prosecution. If hiring illegals were considered like that, the problem would be greatly reduced.

As for increasing the number of legal immigrants from Mexico, there's very little reason to give them a break over other countries and there are significant downsides. On request I could provide several links, but suffice it to say that Mexico has a certain degree of control over our immigration policies, they want more control because it means more money for them and maybe even the possibility of regaining their "lost territories", and many "American" politicians are more than willing to help them in part due to ethnic issues and in part due to money.

by TheLonewackoBlog 2005-01-24 07:20PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
Oh Reverend, I don't think we disagree...but I'll answer you as best I can.

You asked, "why has not the real wage increased since 1970s?" I only said that wage cycles are generally cyclical because of population trends. Immigration has ensured (not illegal immigration by the way...just immigration period) has put off the date in which the labor market will contract by some ten to fifteen years.

But I assure that immigration to the US is not so plentiful that the bullet can be dodged by those paying wages. In fact, the whole reason the big GOP donors refuse to crack down on immigration today is that they are desperately worried in the future that laborers will be so scarce that even the security guard in the mall will need to be paid $18 a hour with sick time, full medical and dental.

Understand that's the reason that Cheney loves parroting, "there used to be forty workers for each Social Security recipient now soon it will be two to one". In corporate HR terms, that means you will have a whole generation of workers now in their 20s who will become free agents so to speak in to command market price. Bidding wars will be fierce. And the poor migrant who mows your lawn can't exactly be VP of marketing at Amgen.

Nevertheless, I never said we have to back away from making sure that unions are part of the future. What I said was do not punish industries or individuals who want to stay unorganized. I mean, I assume you fly Southwest at least occasionally. I assume you buy something at Walmart or Sam's Club from time to time. Hence my point is the Party needs to make clear we want to enrich the lives of all workers....not just simply return the clout of unions.

And this is not to diminish your previous post; I just hope you understand that given the limitations of the message board I try to speak as directly as possible. Otherwise, I'm happy to debate you on labor economics all day and night. But I hope that I have at least clarified things for you.


by risenmessiah 2005-01-24 05:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
Much clearer. I still think that the future which you speak of is an illusion, but you're entitled to your faith.

And if the labor market is generally cyclical than when does the increase of real wages begin? If wages are going to make this huge leap I guess they'll have to start going up at some point, or at least stop going down (for longer than 3 Clinton years). Not that I think that the market isn't cyclical, it is, but it's been spiriling downward for the past 30 years or so, my question is: how do you think this will stop? and why?

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-25 04:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Pro-Labor or Pro-Union
The reason that wages have stagnated and fallen is the fact that the manufactoring sector has gone overseas.  Those wages afforded a middle class life for workers.

Unfair trade has done more to damage wages than immigration.

The only affect immigration has had an effect on has been the fact that employers are exploiting their labor illegally.  And Bush wants to make sure that these people stay under the boot of his corporate cronies.

by unionmark 2005-01-24 12:53PM | 0 recs
Thank you Chris for a reminder of what grassroots
can mean.  I caught your post at dkos and it truly struck a nerve.  A crosspost:

When I was working my way through college here in California I worked in a restaurant to support myself.  One of the things that really helped was the health insurance I had because I worked in a union house (that and the free food!).  One of the reasons I'm a Democrat was that experience with what a difference a union can make in the lives of ordinary workers.

Since then I've prospered to the point where I'm in management and have my insurance needs covered by the company.  I'm ashamed to say that until I read your post I'd not thought of my union roots in years.  Thank you for the reminder of one of the most basic pillars of progressive democracy-unionization.

Since the end of the Cold War, unions, which, IMHO were tolerated by the right as being a compromise which headed off more radical communism, have been in decline.  

Progressive ideals will get us nowhere without the bread and butter support of labor unions:  people who through practical experience understand the validity of those ideals.  

Too many workers with no union experience lack even the vocabulary to understand progressive stances on minimum wage, on pensions and social security, on healthcare.  Without that vocabulary they are subject to the tribalist arguments of hate and fear propounded by the Reaganist Repugs.

Chris's frustration is well-placed:  Democrats especially ignore the concerns of labor at their extreme peril.  Thank you Chris for the reminder.

by CaliBlogger 2005-01-24 12:56AM | 0 recs
Things like social security were...
...considered compromises to head off communism, too.  Gee, I wonder why SS is being attacked?
by Geotpf 2005-01-24 02:26PM | 0 recs
Chris, one question for you
How can you make such an eloquent post when you are either drunk or coming down from being drunk?  I, on the other hand, was sober because I live in Germantown and couldn't get up to my normal spot in Mt. Airy to throw down because of the snow.

Well, hope to see you at the next meetup.

Fly, Eagles, fly.

by charlesdog12 2005-01-24 01:03AM | 0 recs
The root of the matter
Further, the massive decline in union membership is directly tied to the massive decline in the Democratic Party, especially at the grassroots level.

I think your analysis of causation is somewhat lacking here.  It is true that union membership has declined and that Democratic Party affiliation has also declined.  It is also true that church-going attendance has declined.  These are all related.

You mention "middle-class liberalism."  Well, here is what middle-class liberalism is.  It's an emphasis on those things that appeal most to individuals; abortion and the like are the issues most interesting to hedonistic, self-centered types.  Union, party, church, neighborhood: these are group entities and middle-class liberalism doesn't do much to foster the idea that these or any other group are meaningful.

Which is why I advocate a de-emphasis of civil liberties in favor of a re-emphasis on economic issues.  This is not to say that civil liberties are unimportant or that standard progressive stances need to change cataclysmically; this is to say that we need to emphasize more issues which are group-oriented and which help build a left-of-center group identity.  It is also a pragmatic understanding that we are a minority party and that we can't advance an agenda; given limited resources, it is more important to protect economic issues (like Social Security) even if it means giving ground on civil liberties issuse (like abortion).

by Anthony de Jesus 2005-01-24 03:32AM | 0 recs
The white collar middle class is dying.
Even if you are only thinking tactically, having the party rely on the politics of the white collar middle class is a major tactical error because the white collar middle class is disappearing. The white collar middle class is disappearing because of pro-corporate policy in this country. The labor movement was one of the primary means of lifting blue collar workers out of poverty into the middle class. Non-blue collar middle class workers have never had any significant form of structured advocacy. That has to change. Look at the abuses of programmers at EA Sports. Computer terminals may not be the threat to human health that the old coal mines or textile mills were, but is EA Sports any less of a sweat shop than the old textile mills were? Of course not. Programmers aren't going to be a middle class occupation within a couple of years. Retail workers are no different. Long hours, lousy pay, and no benefits all allowed to happen because people have bought into exploiting millions of people to get their Levis a puck a pair cheaper. Same for fast food restaurants. The reason all that fast food is so cheap is because the fast food industry has gotten away with exploiting human labor in a human labor intensive industry - food preparation.

We need to re-apply our basic principles and beliefs to the act of work in our society. We have to fight the good fight for the right of people to earn a good standard of living for working hard and playing by the rules. We have to fight the good fight for the principle that the right to profit should not be more important that the right for workers to earn sufficient wages to meet their basic needs. We have also have to change laws that force CEOs to only consider short term corporate profits when making corporate policy, and protect CEOs from investor lawsuits for treating workers reasonably and equitably.

by afs 2005-01-24 07:08AM | 0 recs
Re: The white collar middle class is dying.
I agree with the need for advocacy but programmers are no where near as enslaved as coal workers were.
by donkeykong 2005-01-24 08:37AM | 0 recs
Where did I say differently?
I said, "...Computer terminals may not be the threat to human health that the old coal mines or textile mills were..."

You need to work on reading all of what is written.

by afs 2005-01-24 09:18AM | 0 recs
excellent point
i'm coming late to this thread, but i'm going to have to repeat something i wrote when there was an outsourcing diary on dkos a while back.  it's relevant to the point you made here, afs.

i'm in IT, and i realise that my job is absolutely in danger of being exported.  i'll be lucky to survive 2-3 more years in the industry with my skillset and pay grade.

for years, my (mostly white, mostly overeducated, mostly high paid) co-workers would argue with me, saying we don't need unions; nobody works in sweatshops anymore.  we got our insurance bennies and our 401ks.  that was in the late 90s.

now here we are and my what a different world this is.  those co-workers now bitch because we're salaried and sometimes work up to 80 hours per week without getting paid for it.  our raises have stagnated and are barely keeping up with COL increases.  our health insurance keeps getting more and more expensive... i could go on for days.

and now... NOW they wanna talk about unionising.  yea, right!

assholes.  it's too late to save our jobs - they're already on the way out.

/rant off

by annatopia 2005-01-24 11:51AM | 0 recs
Trying a second time
because I deleted the last one.

Chris, first -- didn't you know before today that Fast Eddie sometimes provides Iggles commentary? I'd be surprised if you didn't, political junkie that you are.

Second, I agree with you thorougly on labor issues, and their relative importance relative to other leftie sacred cows. Truth be told, if I had to make a list of five issues that could cause me, under theoretical circumstances, to fight in the street, I'm pretty certain that abortion would not be one of them. I'm not sure that card check would be one either, but the litmus test business has its drawbacks. (That said, didn't Bill Clinton make a huge deal out of the fact that Roe v Wade WOULD be a litmus test for him? And didn't he win? What has changed so much since 1992 and 1996? Why did Kerry have to weasel about this issue with "I can't enforce my own beliefs on you?" What an ass.)

Third, your line about "after a long and inconclusive game of cards" is an absolute piece of literature. I'm going to plagiariaze it and make a lot of money and not share any of it with you.

Fourth, I live in Taiwan at the moment. Right before I left the States -- Philly to be precise --  I was able to attend one DFA meeting. This would have been Augustish 2003. I remember someone standing up and proposing that if we Deaniacs made Delaware our pet project, we might be able to win it singlehandedly for Howard. Might that have been you? I associate the person talking with the pictures I've seen of you since...

by Dog of the South 2005-01-24 03:41AM | 0 recs
Great post! This is something that drives me crazy. I particularly hate the "we need another Clinton" crowd in the Democratic party. NAFTA and other recent trade agreements were stabs in the back of the working class in America and all over the world and it is about fucking time the supposed party of the working class did something about it.

Free trade helps no one but corporate executives. Congressman Sherrod Brown recently talked at my library (he has new book out "Myths of Free Trade") about going to Mexico where workers living a few miles from the US border (the most toxic place in the western hemisphere btw) live in shacks and cardboard boxes.

He said you can tell where the people work because the boxes are from the packing materials of the corporations they work for. Companies like G.E. and General Motors. He said that NAFTA has hurt Mexico more than the U.S. if you can believe it.

The "free" trade agreements were sold as a way for U.S. companies to get access to foreign customers when actually they were a way to get access to foreign labor. What is a worker who gets paid $.35 a day going to buy?

A famous Chinese dissident who was in Washington to lobby against the trade agreement with China said the vanguard of support for Chinese communism consists of American CEO's. When the recent China trade agreement was up for a vote there were more corporate jets in Washington D.C. than anyone had ever seen before.

by Atrain 2005-01-24 04:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Amen!
Free trade helps no one but corporate executives. Congressman Sherrod Brown recently talked at my library (he has new book out "Myths of Free Trade") about going to Mexico where workers living a few miles from the US border (the most toxic place in the western hemisphere btw) live in shacks and cardboard boxes.

He said you can tell where the people work because the boxes are from the packing materials of the corporations they work for. Companies like G.E. and General Motors. He said that NAFTA has hurt Mexico more than the U.S. if you can believe it.

Actually I just got back from a month long trip to Mexico, Belize and Guatemala and people living in shacks and cardboard boxes is the rule, not the exception.  The people living in the border towns and northern Mexico in general are doing worlds better than the people living in the Yucatan and Chiapas in southern Mexico, and most folks in Guatemala can only dream about such a life.

The "free" trade agreements were sold as a way for U.S. companies to get access to foreign customers when actually they were a way to get access to foreign labor. What is a worker who gets paid $.35 a day going to buy?

That's about the same wage a farmer makes in southern Mexico when he has his own land, about 4 pesos a day.  And with farmland selling at 100$us/acre it doesn't take that much money to make a life for yourself and your family there.  Consider this, at 100$us/acre it would take about 300 days of labor to buy an acre of land.  Compare that to the wage you're making and how long it would take to pay cash for an acre of land where YOU live.

by Purple Foxglove 2005-01-24 04:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Amen!
The fact that we are better off relative to Mexicans does nothing to discredit the FACT that workers in both the US and Mexico have lost out big time because of NAFTA...
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Amen!
How do you figure that workers in Mexico have lost out?

Free trade brings the economy of scale to bear on the world and brings more prosperity due to a more efficient manufacturing of products.

The local pain in USA is offset by massive prosperity in China, India and Mexico.

The global gain for labor is big.  The local loss in USA may also be big.

But lets talk about the reality.

by donkeykong 2005-01-24 08:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Amen!
I doubt you really want to talk about reality, since I can easliy sense the ideaology which has shadded your vision.

Here's one study(from Common Dreams), but there's lots more data out there to help shatter your illusions, if you could take off the free market glasses and take a cold hard look at the race-to-the-bottom that is the "free market".

MEXICO CITY - Canadian, American and Mexican workers have lost jobs and seen their spending power erode under a free-trade deal that was promoted as ``win-win-win'' for workers in all three countries, a new economic report says.

``From the point of view of North American working people, NAFTA has thus far largely failed,'' notes the three-country study examining jobs, wages and labour standards after seven years of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

The report, to be released today, is authored by economic institutes that focus on labour issues: the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Canada, the Economic Policy Institute in the United States and the Mexican Institute of Labour Studies and Investigation.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 09:39AM | 0 recs
What were these Mexicans doing for work before NAFTA?

When free trade agreements occur, what LOGICALLY happens is the two economies balance.  That is, the poorer economy gets richer, but the richer economy probably gets poorer.  The net result is probably a higher average standard of living overall, but a lower one in the richer country (which means the US, whether the poorer country is Mexico or China or wherever).

by Geotpf 2005-01-24 09:48AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay
When free trade agreements occur, what LOGICALLY happens is the two economies balance.

Too bad that the free market isn't logical. And neither are you free markey ideolouges, no matter how you like to view yourself. Human beings are not rational, and neither are the institutions which our irrational minds create. Rational choice theory should have been swept away with the tides of WWII, but somehow what is obvious;y ridiculous in psychology is held as the standard of human behavior in economics.

This is a good explanation, from Soros (via Frontline), of why the theory of "equilibrium" is nonsense, at least in the monetary markets, but I would say that the same goes for all markets.

I put forward a pretty general theory that financial markets are intrinsically unstable. That we really have a false picture when we think about markets tending towards equilibrium. Equilibrium is appropriate when a market deals with known quantities. But in financial markets, you deal with unknown quantities. You're trying to discount the future. But the future depends on how you discount it today. It's not something fixed, so your discounting can't correspond to the future.

Now, there is the prevailing theory which holds that financial markets should be regarded as if they were in continuous equilibrium. I think that is actually a false image. Because, in effect, they are in continuous disequilibrium. Therefore, they are given to going to excesses in one direction or another. You can have a boom and a bust. Now, in practice, we have learned that that's the case. Through experience, we have evolved a system of central banking that prevents these excesses from going too far. Controlling the money supply, dampening the boom so that you don't get a bust. Then stimulating the economy [that] is in decline. You have various regulatory authorities and so on

The net result is probably a higher average standard of living overall, but a lower one in the richer country

Unfortunately, the result is usually that the rich in the rich country get richer and the rest are left behind. Don't forget, the workers in the third world are not only competing with our workers, they are competing with each other. The race-to-the-bottom is on, and how far the workers of the world will fall is anybody's guess.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 10:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Okay
When there is surplus labor and no multi-national coordinated attempts to develop economies, the LOGICAL outcome is a cut throat race to the bottom where both economies decline. China and India have the labor capacity to absorb every exportable job in both the US and Eurpoe and still have surplus millions unemployed.

If you had read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" by John Perkins you would not be nursing those free-market illusions about how multi-national economics are actually viewed by those with the power to make things happen.

As Dean says we need to develop a supportive multi-national environment for labor, but at the moment we are a long way off from that goal.

by leschwartz 2005-01-24 10:12AM | 0 recs
Okay, on average, who makes more and has a higher standard of living?  A subsistence farmer, or a factory employee in a country newly opened up to global trade?  Because, in many/most developing nations, the latter were once the former.
by Geotpf 2005-01-24 02:30PM | 0 recs
Re: Amen!
Generally speaking, free trade is a good thing and is beneficial to the majority of people in both countries. The Common Market, now the European Union, is a great example of free trade done right. Once poor Spain, Portugal, and Ireland are now quite prosperous.

However, many free trade agreements are setup not so that they benefit the people in each country, but multinational corporations. Free trade has become a way for multinational corporations to dominate the markets of the poorer countries while using these same countries to circumvent the labor and environmental laws of the more developed nations.

Let's see NAFTA in action.

  1. Big Agribusiness gets billions in U.S. taxpayer subsidies which allows them to sell their corn essentially below cost.

  2. Because of NAFTA, Mexico will import the corn without restrictions.

  3. Mexican farmers will no longer be able to sell their corn. Many will be driven off the land.

  4. Desperate farmers will take any job at any condition so they can afford to eat. Less than $1.00/hr with few worker rights is better than starving.

  5. Because of the high unemployment, Mexico will encourage foreign companies to invest. They will hope companies choose Mexico, so they make sure labor and environmental laws are friendly to business.

  6. Multinational corporations like pennies per hour better than union wages with benefits and overtime. The factory moves to Mexico.

  7. Goods pass duty-free back to the U.S. The U.S. cannot stop the imports.

The sad thing is that NAFTA is a lot better than some of the other trade agreements out there, especially many of the deals with China. At least the currency exchange is fair with Mexico.

It's called the "race to the bottom". Working people not only in America, but worldwide, are the losers.

by wayward 2005-01-24 07:00PM | 0 recs
Hope MyDd does more Labor New and Diaries
Dem Netroots need to get to know more of Labor.

Some Links to Labor Unions


labor union directory

by jasmine 2005-01-24 04:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Hope MyDd does more Labor New and Diaries
Another good site is and
by unionmark 2005-01-24 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Hope MyDd does more Labor New and Diaries
SEIU is trying really hard to reach out to non-labor folks with Purple Ocean and a new anti-Walmart campaign. Show your support for labor and help spread the real facts about WalMart at the same time.  Sign up here so I can watch my network grow and help me earn $1000 towards a fund for health insurance for WalMart workers.
by justpowers 2005-01-25 07:56AM | 0 recs
How about Pro-Choice and Labor-Agnostic?
Pro-choice/Pro-life is an issue I care about. Labor issues I don't really care about or pay attention to. I never lived or worked in any region or occupational field where organized labor was particularly active. So it's not really an issue that I care too much about. I'm in IT -- government white collar field.

We all have issues we prioritize one way or another. Whichever candidate most agrees with yours, you should support IMO.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 04:31AM | 0 recs
Forgot to mention...
I was in the military and I'm a veteran. We may have been organized but that's a rigid socialist-style organizational structure where we had less rights than the average citizen and virtually no self-determination.

But I did something about that. I finished my degree, left the military, and got me a cushy government job. I suggest anyone in labor do the same if they don't like what they are doing.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 04:37AM | 0 recs
Re: How about Pro-Choice and Labor-Agnostic?
Guess I understand why you're with Hillary. And hey, you don't think your Gov't IT job is in jeapordy? You're fooling yourself. There will always be a good amount of IT jobs out there, but if you eliminate the jobs that can be outsourced (programing, design, etc) than it puts preassure on all of us (I'm in IT too).

I feel like agnostic-labor folks can go and join up with the Thugs, cause this is the party of the middle and lower classes, those folks who have to work every day to put food on the table. If you're not with us, then you are most defenitely against us.

It's up to you, but I for one can accept anti-choice candidates but cannot, for even a milisecond, stand those who stand in the way of (or do nothing to help support) our rights as workers.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:48AM | 0 recs
Well, it's not your choice is it?
"Accept" labor-agnostic folks? I'm sorry, but that's not your choice. The great thing about a free country is I can vote for whomever I see fit. I'm also a registered independent so party-affiliation is not something I believe in. I vote on issues, not down party lines.

I have a suggestion. If you far-left fundamentalist liberals have such a problem with moderate dems, conservative dems, centrists, or socially liberal republicans, why don't you secede from the democratic party and create your new grassroots-only democratic party instead?

I think I know why. Without the moderates and centrists who vote for mostly democratic candidates and/or oppose the right wing, you wouldn't have a chance in winning a national election.

So spare me the "with us or against us" rhetoric. You sound just like Chimpy.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 07:19PM | 0 recs
Re: Well, it's not your choice is it?
I'm talking about my job, and my families job, so pardon me if I say piss off if you're not pro labor.  There's room for the rich and the wanna be rich in this party, but just as fudnraisers. If you want a pro-wealth party, the thugs are waiting. This party is the party of the working man and woman, which is why it's good that you're not in it. Vote for whatever you want, but run a Dem again who is labor-agnostic and we'll lose again.

And I am no "fundementalist" anything, I just want someone to stand up for me, and the majority of Americans who are in my class. If you're not standing with me as I demand that labor have a large voice in this country, then aren't you against me?

Yeah, "vote hillary", and vote against your job.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-25 04:17AM | 0 recs
Re: How about Pro-Choice and Labor-Agnostic?
But I did something about that. I finished my degree, left the military, and got me a cushy government job. I suggest anyone in labor do the same if they don't like what they are doing.

I assume that you can already see the ridiculousness of what you just said. How many cushy Gov't jobs are there? How many working class people are there? We all can't work for the Gov't, but we all need to work.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:50AM | 0 recs
That's a given.
But this is a free country and you have the self-determination to choose your way in life. No one is born a laborer like a peasant farmer in feudal times. If you work hard enough and don't give up, virtually anything is possible.

I have little sympathy for people who hate what they do, complain about it, and ultimately do nothing about it. Things don't improve -- I wonder why? I knew far too many people like that in the military. 95% of enlisted troops never use their college benefits. But they still find time to complain about the work, the lack of self-determination, the deployments, officers getting paid more, long hours, etc.

I finished my college degree working a flightline job on aircraft weapon systems, unknown shifts weekly, 60+ hour weeks were the norm, weekend duties, naturally no overtime comp in the service, unexpected deployments, constant military exercises, etc. How did I manage? I made sacrifices. I chose school over a social life. When others were enjoying themselves I was doing homework. I finished a four year degree in just under three with a high GPA that qualified me for the federal outstanding scholarship program that prioritizes my application over others for all federal jobs. I'm also a veteran so that's another special qualifier above peers. I also have secret security clearance which is gold in this post 9/11 era.

Check the federal job listing websites. Every day there are 13k to 18k jobs open in federal government. Not even including state jobs. There are plenty of opportunities out there if you're willing to go for them. Will you have to do the hard work? Yes. Will it take years of dedication? Yes. But it pays off in the end.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 07:35PM | 0 recs
Re: That's a given.
But this is a free country and you have the self-determination to choose your way in life. No one is born a laborer like a peasant farmer in feudal times. If you work hard enough and don't give up, virtually anything is possible.

Now who is the fundementalist?

Just because something is possible doesn't make it likely, which is why there is very little upward mobility in US society anymore (actually we're going the opposite direction).

I have little sympathy for people who hate what they do, complain about it, and ultimately do nothing about it.

Me neither. I have  even less sympathy, or patience, for those who stand in the way of me doing it.

That said, I admire the work which you posted above, and would you believe I also am in a cushy IT job (granted at a school, but still...), which I actually hate because I can't work as hard as I'd like towards the things whcih I am passionate about(but which I figured out on my own and worked my ass off to get to). My point is that the preassure of the market will eventually be felt everywhere, even in our cushy jobs, and so we better start fighting for our brothers and sisters working at McDonalds and Wal Mart, before we find ourselves working 60+ hours a week for jack shit and no benefits. Nobody in the working class is secure, not you, not me, not any worker out there.

Your feeling of security now does not garuntee your security in the future...

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-25 04:25AM | 0 recs
Re: How about Pro-Choice and Labor-Agnostic?
I'm in IT -- government white collar field.

Guess whose taxes pay your salary.

by Atrain 2005-01-24 05:08AM | 0 recs
Somehow I'm less than sympathetic.
Considering I served my time in the military, sacrificed my personal rights for those of others but subjecting myself to more restrictions, and helped liberate a country (not Iraq). All of which is more than I can say for most people in this country.

Examine your logic as well. You think government employees don't pay taxes? How about military servicemen for that matter? So let's see, apparently we were paying ourselves the whole time.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 07:42PM | 0 recs
The Patriots are going down and, even if they aren't (OK, they probably aren't), this is going to be one happy city for the next two weeks.

It's exactlly this kind of self doubt that kills us liberals each and every time. Buck up, eliminate doubt and move forward. This one is ours! NOW BEEEEELLIIIEEEEVE IT!

And you never seen Rendell on the Sunday post-game before? He's there every week...

Either way, those endorphins poppin up there in your noggin have led you to the best question you've asked since I've browsed through this site. We have to make labor and unionization the center of everything we do. It is the one thread that ties together folks from Alabama, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, California, and the rest.

Plus, let's be honest, how many of us are really that secure in our middle-income jobs? We are working class, so why don't we fight like hell to protect what we've got and shore up the jobs of our friends and family? Is there anything worth fighting for more than the ability to put food on the table and a roof over our heads without working like a slave?

Anyway, great rant, hopefully the rant your write after the Eagles win in two weeks, which they will, will be even better!

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:45AM | 0 recs
Why are you a liberal?
Just ranting here as well...spent way too much time ignoring the game and sledding down the Art Museum steps. I'm sore all over.

A few points:

-- Grover Norquist holds meetings every week to get big business and Christian funddies to work together. I don't see why we can't do the same.

-- If we saw more of "our issues" through the glasses of economic equality, we'd see that choice, racism, gay rights, women's rights, war and environmental degradation all are tied together.

-- Which brings me to my last point -- we need a liberal story that brings all of these together -- a story that goes straight to the gut and far beyond a liberal education and upbringing. How many times have I heard the sentiment if not exactly the phrase -- "I'm liberal -- I'm smarter and better educated than conservatives." This makes my stomach turn.

So I ask:

Why are you a liberal? What's your personal story? Here's part of mine:

I'm a liberal because my parents barely made ends meet on income from managing a retail store. When times were tough, my baby-sitting money went to paying the  water bill. When I became a senior analyst at a retail chain store, I was keenly interested to know how much more we could pay our store associates without going under. The answer: significantly more. But Wall Street will fire any exec who would dare do that.

by AnneinPhilly 2005-01-24 04:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Why are you a liberal?

I'm sorry for snapping at you a couple of days ago. I'll send you the script soon.

I'll start a post on this as well. I'd like to talk about it.

by Chris Bowers 2005-01-24 08:27AM | 0 recs
unions self-destruct

First of all, don't take this as an anti-labor post.  I am very pro-union.  However, I want to point out that a lot of labor's problems are self-inflicted.

My first contact with a union was when I was a master's student at the University of Illinois.  I had a small office, and one day, the door to my office became sticky and wouldn't close.  The maintenance guy came upstairs, tightened one screw, and it closed.  He said "that happens all the time, that screw is always coming loose."  I said "oh, next time I'll know to tighten that same screw."  He said, "oh, no, you can't do that: union rules."

Now I'm working at Carnegie-Mellon, and the local union just one-upped the U of I maintenance guy.  I brought a lamp to work to make my office look a little nicer.  One day the bulb burned out.  So I asked the secretary for a light bulb.  She said she couldn't give me one - union rules, all light bulbs must be changed by union employees.

Those are the only overt contacts I've had with unions in my entire life.   It seems to me that if unions want to grow, they need to spend less effort scraping every dime, and more effort on positive PR.

by joshyelon 2005-01-24 04:56AM | 0 recs
Abuses against non-union workers outweigh
Your post is a good example of CNN journalism. Looking to find a minor bad to present as a counterweight to all the major bad that is done to non-union work forces.

Are there mistakes in the union movement? Are human beings working in unions? Yes to both. Mistakes happen in anything that human being participate in. Stop expecting anything different. I'm not saying we shouldn't be on a never-ending quest to improve our society. We should, and mistakes anywhere should be corrected. The problems faced by non-union work forces are far greater than those found in union work forces. The problems faced by non-union work forces are vastly greater than those caused by unions. Unions correct far more problems and far greater problems than they cause.

by afs 2005-01-24 07:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Abuses against non-union workers outweigh
Amen. My sentiments exactlly!
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 07:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Abuses against non-union workers outweigh
The problem that Unions cause is the end of unions via economic suicide.

We need to focus on pro Labor strategies that improve working conditions/pay AND increase corperate profits.

Because if you are fair most business types are trying to find Capital strategies that improve earnings AND improve the saleries paid to workers.

I promise you if we come up with improvements to workers pay and working conditions that can be shown to at least not cost anything net, the companies will line up to implement them.

by donkeykong 2005-01-24 08:51AM | 0 recs
Increasing corporate growth forever is impossible
It's not just hard to increase corpoarate growth forever, it's mathematically IMPOSSIBLE to increase corporate growth forever. Even if corporations stop paying wages, refuse to give any benefits, and buy a slave labor work force, corporate earnings growth will eventually end even with a work force of nothing but slaves.

We've got to end looking for growth of corporate profits as a goal for the economy. We have to look at economically sustainable ways in whick businesses can make a good long terms profits for investors while the work force is still capable of earning what it need to provide a decent standard of living.

The need to profit DOES NOT TAKE PRIORITY over the need for workers to earn a reasonable middle class standard of living. Balance needs to be re-established.

by afs 2005-01-24 09:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Increasing corporate growth forever is impossi
If you pay good wages to your employees then the market increases.  
With a larger market you can sell more goods and pay your employees more money.  
Your employees can then buy more goods etc.....

If we focus on improving the process of work we can really grow the pie and everyone gets more.  You are richer than people in the 1400s even the top 1% back them didn't have the health care that you have today .

by donkeykong 2005-01-24 01:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Abuses against non-union workers outweigh
We need to focus on pro Labor strategies that improve working conditions/pay AND increase corperate profits.

How about this old tried and true method: This is a cunsumption driven economy, so increase the wages of those at the bottom and the middle, thus increasing their discretionary income, thus increasing demand for comsumable products, this increasing corporate profits.

Simply saying unions are "anti-growth" does nothing except show the world that you don't give 2 shits about how real people struggle and work like hell just to get by.  

Because if you are fair most business types are trying to find Capital strategies that improve earnings AND improve the saleries paid to workers.

That's not "fair", it's blind. How you could believe such BS after all the scandels we've seen in corporate america is beyond me, unless you're a Corporate PR person, or one of the thieves at the top.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 09:48AM | 0 recs
Consumption economy and research-based growth
You cannot continue to find growth in the economy by cutting costs. Even if you manage to cut costs to zero, you hit a wall when you do cut costs to zero.

We have to base our economy on people at all level of the economy keeping the engine of the economy alive. We also have to point to the only option for continued economic growth, scientific research, and technological improvement. Technological improvement is the only variable in the growth equation that can always show a positive gain.

by afs 2005-01-24 09:55AM | 0 recs
...this is a common comment from non-union people.  These are not uncommon reactions by non-union people who deal with unions.  This is not good PR for unions, which is what the point of the original post was.
by Geotpf 2005-01-24 09:43AM | 0 recs
Unknowledgable people make lots of errors
If we were to have a discussion about people who are mostly clueless on a subject making comments and decisions about same said subject, we'd be talking all day. It's a rather common problem in human affairs.
by afs 2005-01-24 09:49AM | 0 recs
Unknowledgable people vote
If we can't get our message across, we lose.

Right now, a lot of people think unions are full of overpaid lazy fatcats who hide behind retarded work rules to be as lazy as possible.  It is our job to get them to have another opinion of unions-to make them knowledgable.

by Geotpf 2005-01-24 02:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Abuses against non-union workers outweigh

"Your post is a good example of CNN journalism. Looking to find a minor bad to present as a counterweight to all the major bad that is done to non-union work forces."

Why can't you see that I'm on your side?

If I were in a dressing room with Howard Dean, and if he had a giant ketchup stain on his chest, I'd tell him, "hey, you've got a giant ketchup stain on your chest," and I'd tell him before he went out on TV.  That's not "finding fault," that's warning him so he can do something about it before it's too late.

Likewise, if I'm sitting in a room with a Union organizer, and the union has a big ketchup stain on its self image because of a dumb policy, then I'll damn well say so.  That's not "finding fault," that's giving a warning so that they can do something about it before it's too late.

by joshyelon 2005-01-24 10:03AM | 0 recs
You are the problem with the Democratic Party
More interested in damning itself for minor errors and typos, than challenging the enemy for war crimes. You ARE about finding fault, and you're denials to that facts are meaningless in the face of your overt demonstration of exactly that behavior.
by afs 2005-01-24 10:20AM | 0 recs
Re: You are the problem with the Democratic Party
No. The problem with the Democratic party is not its willingness to reevalute itself.  If anything, it has been way too long since we've reevaluated our practices.  Self-criticism is necessary for improvement.  There are venues where self-criticism is not good, such as in the mainstream media.  But on a strategy website like MyDD, this is the perfect place to get the job done.

The problem with the Democratic party is its belief that its job is good governance, not persuasion. That's fine for a party in power, but it's no good for an opposition party.  We need to focus all our efforts on how to make ourselves more persuasive and more compelling.  That sometimes means doing painful work on our public image.

Like it or not, that means unions too.

by joshyelon 2005-01-24 10:27AM | 0 recs
One thing Democratic Party not lacking is critics
Are you kidding me? Then only thing you ever do hear about the Democratic Party is criticism. FAUX News. Right-wing talk radio. The M$M. All that is ever heard about the Democratic Party is criticism.
by afs 2005-01-24 10:38AM | 0 recs
Uh, Roger that!
Right on.

That sort of anecdotal argument only works out of context.

Yes, union members tend to pursue soft deals for their members. This can be a problem.

Now put those issues over and against the havoc wrought by corporate predators.


Workers have one source of power only: organization at the job and in government.

Managment has all the manifold dimensions of opower that arise from the control of money.

I'll take organized labor over crony capitalists any day.

by Thresholder 2005-01-24 01:14PM | 0 recs
Re: unions self-destruct
maybe if bosses didn't use arbitrary, vicious, and often illegal practices, unions wouldn't the need to protect themselves with overly rigid rules.
by plunkitt 2005-01-24 10:08AM | 0 recs
Re: unions self-destruct
Rules are made to be bent.  The union employees didn't have to tell me I couldn't change the bulb in my own lamp, even if their rules said so.  They could have let it slide.

I understand the value of rigid rules so that when the day comes, if the boss does something really bad, you can sue him and win.  But you don't have to use those same rigid rules as a bludgeon to annoy the crap out of passers-by.

The fact that this experience happened to me twice, and that others have confirmed that it has happened to them too, tells me this isn't a random event.  It's a PR problem, and you better deal with it if you want to start winning arguments.

by joshyelon 2005-01-24 10:17AM | 0 recs
You are the problem with the Democratic Party
Wasting your time on myDD bitching about one stupid light bulb problem rather than using that time for helping democratic causes.

If you don't have anything to contribute to help democratic casues on a thread, keep quiet and move to a thread in which you do have positive feedback. This bullshit criticism of minor problems and expectation of the perfect in all things Democratic is ludicrous.

More interested in damning itself for minor errors and typos, than challenging the enemy for war crimes. You ARE about finding fault, and you're denials to that facts are meaningless in the face of your overt demonstration of exactly that behavior.

by afs 2005-01-24 10:24AM | 0 recs
Re: You are the problem with the Democratic Party
Do we really want to live in a bubble here? I for one find disagreements and arguments to be extremly healthy.

Here's my favorite military term, which is very relevant to all politics:

Incestuous Amplification:  "A condition in which one only listens to those who are already in lock-step agreement, reinforcing set beliefs and creating a situation ripe for miscalculation."

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 10:32AM | 0 recs
Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
Again... Are you kidding me? Then only thing you ever do hear about the Democratic Party is criticism. FAUX News. Right-wing talk radio. The M$M. All that is ever heard about the Democratic Party is criticism. A lock-step democratic Party? BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA... more like herding cats.

The Democratic Party couldn't live in a bubble in it's wildest dreams.

by afs 2005-01-24 10:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
I'm not talking about lockstep agreement within the party, but rather on this site.

All too often on this and every other blog/discussion site disenting opinions are met with barrages of insults. Take a look at some of the reactions to anyone who doesn't support Dean 100%...

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 11:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
Here Here!!

As a simple example, I dont agree with many comments I have read from Reverend AIX (esp. about Dean / Rosenberg), but I would hate to not have them.  To make me think, to make me evaluate, to make me introspect, to challenge my beliefs (and maybe even to change them).  No one should be shouted down or attacked for standing up for what the believe in. (assuming that someone is genuninely saying what they believe)

This is a liberal blog.  This is where the criticisn SHOULD be.  That way it doesn't make it out to the MSM without it being at least discussed here.

The only person anyone should be telling to keep quiet is him/her self.

by avagias 2005-01-24 02:13PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
That's Al-X, as in Alex...
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 02:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
Sorry about the name mis-spelling...
by avagias 2005-01-25 06:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
We don't need the right wing spin displayed all over liberal blogs. We've heard the right wing spin from the corporate media over and over and over again. It's been repeated so many times it's been memorized. Anyone that needs to see the right wing spin again is too dense to be helpful.
by afs 2005-01-24 02:29PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
And you judge what is right-wing spin and what isn't? I'm just saying that if we're going to perfect our messages we're going to have to counter many of the same arguments you're seeing here.

Which reminds me, if any of you are interested in helping to form a single message for Dems, go check out the Principles Project, which is, in the words of my man Josh Koenig of Music for America:

an initiative set up by some young turks in Democratic circles to help that damn Donkey stand for something.

The idea is to collaboratively draw up a statement of principles which is strong and clear and true, get a bunch of believers on board, then set about getting those we call "public servants" to hold 'em up by hook or by crook

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 04:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Democratic Party is not lacking criticism
We don't need the right wing spin displayed all over liberal blogs. We've heard the right wing spin from the corporate media over and over and over again. It's been repeated so many times it's been memorized. Anyone that needs to see the right wing spin again is too dense to be helpful.
by afs 2005-01-24 02:28PM | 0 recs
Re: You are the problem with the Democratic Party
No afs,

YOU are the problem with the democratic party.

I personally am very pro-union.  I personally dont mind their stupid rules (when they are implemented).  I personally dont mind when they aren't that efficient.  I personally dont mind that many times CBAs allow for dead weight.  The way I see it, thats the way that the little gets gets a little something back from corporate america.

But that's me.  Not everyone sees it like I do.  In fact, I would bet most people dont see it like that at all.  I would wager that the average american's perception of a labor union is very close to the description that joshyelon gave.  That's why there is no pro-labor (well actually pro-union) litmus test.  The average person sees unions as cesspools of corruption and inefficiency.  I don't agree with the assesment, but I am not going to pretend there arent MANY MANY people that do.

joshyelon wasn't attacking the democratic party. Instead he was making a very valid point.  The point is that if you really want national support for a pro-labor agenda, then you better be ready to play the PR game and change people's minds.  Perception is more important than reality in politics (as if the last 5 years hasn't proven that already).

So please....stop attacking joshyelon for making a an honest and valid critique.  Labor Unions HAVE done these types of things.  They arent one example that is used out of context "CNN style".  These types of events are what have been shaping the minds of the average non-union person for years.  (even though they are not truly indicative of what unions stand for)
You have to change that perception FIRST then you can actually get some pro-labor change.

Ill give a small example.  My sister is a liberal, but hates unions.  Whenever I talk to her about what unions do, and how important they are, she responds with the same thing..."that's all very well and good, but look at the crap they pull.   Look at the criminal element that gets into union leadership.  What about all the mob ties the unions have??  Why do they allow for workers to sit on their asses without fear of repurcussions? (sp?)
These unions bully their members, and strong-arm them into paying dues give very little protection quite often".

I dont agree with it, but its perception. That perception has to be addressed and altered if any kind of change is to occur.  And for you to sit here and attack someone who is being honest about the perception of unions is the real problem.

by avagias 2005-01-24 01:54PM | 0 recs
You are the problem with the Democratic Party
Again... the anti-union case gets made over and over and over again in the corporate media. We don't need to hear the corporate case against unions to be restated again here.

You want to spend all your time picking at scabs. We need the time spent actually productively fixing problems.

by afs 2005-01-24 02:23PM | 0 recs
Re: You are the problem with the Democratic Party
  1. If we don't talk about it amongst ourselves, then we can not counter these same arguments when they are brought up by the MSM or anyone else.

  2. Stop putting words in people's mouths.  No one wants to pick at scabs all the time.  No one is doing that.  But what the hell is your philosophy??  Let's never criticize ourselves because there are others who would do that??  That's dumb.

How do we spend time fixing problems if people like you don't want to acknowledge problems?
How do we discuss something honestly when people like you won't get your panties in a bunch when someone adds criticism to a discussion?

You dont fix problems by ignoring the negatives and only focusing on the positives.  And the way to keep others from criticising you is to PRE-EMPT the criticism and address it before others can.  Your way that can never happen.

This whole thread started about labor.  And here is the bottom line.  There is a union perception problem.  That's why most people don't care that membership is dwindling.  That's why most people don't care that they are having a harder and harder time getting leverage and getting good deals for their workers.  That's why most people could care less about being in a union. You want to pretend that this perception problem doesn't exist???  Then you are wasting time.  Admit the perception problem, then we can talk about solutions.

So let's here some productive do we go about fixing this perception problem??  How do we "sell" unions to the average joe?  How do we make people care about unions and want to protect them?  Let's here your productive input

by avagias 2005-01-25 06:27AM | 0 recs
Re: unions self-destruct
As opposed to all the "great" ideas that come out of business.  These are the people that brought you:

Bhopal India
the Exxon Valdez
great corporate stewardship of Enron

Just to name a few.  Give me some inane union rules that employ people over those catastrophies.

by unionmark 2005-01-24 12:56PM | 0 recs
And the automobile, and the personal computer...
...and almost every other major invention ever.
by Geotpf 2005-01-24 02:23PM | 0 recs
The car and PC weren't invented by big business
Both were invesnted in small workshop. They both turned into big busness later.
by afs 2005-01-24 02:37PM | 0 recs
by afs 2005-01-24 02:38PM | 0 recs
Re: And the automobile, and the personal computer.
And who made those autos and computers and other such wonderful inventions?  It was working people.  Unless you have people to make your wonderful product - you don't have anything to make your wonderful capital so that you can complain about government intervention in the economy.
by unionmark 2005-01-25 04:30AM | 0 recs
Thank you
Working in the labor movement, we feel isolated from the rest of the world sometimes.  Nice to know that we have some allies out there that really care for working class people.

That's why we need to reach out to all working people - union/non-union - red state and blue state.  Working class people have to realize that they are getting screwed and the only way out is to stop believing the boss and band together.

by unionmark 2005-01-24 05:13AM | 0 recs
Government vs. Private Sector
The one area where unions remain successful today is the public sector.  A quick look at some web sites gave the following stats: 39% of "protective service" workers (police and fire) are unionized, 37% of government emplyees are unionized, but the % of private sector workers who are unionized was about 8%, less than in 1903 (stats were from 2003).

Lest we forget, Max Clelland went down because Bush insisted that Homeland Security be non-union.  FOR THAT, the triple amputee war hero got labelled as a supporter of Osama Bin Laden in that infamous TV campaign. Meanwhile, Mr. AWOL Texas Air National Guard plaything becomes "Mr. Patriotism."  What a load of crap.

Gotta figure that these guys are going after the one unionized sector of the economy.  Arnold is undermining the state pensions, Bush is calling a pro-union vote treason, and folks want us to move right?  Watch out cops and firemen, you are the next targets of these weasels.

by David Kowalski 2005-01-24 05:36AM | 0 recs
Throw the anti-labor bums out of the party
I think alot of this was excelerated in 1992 at the convention when Bob Casey was shunned for a pro-choice Republican who helped to defeat many of Casey's progressive legislation.  Feingold in 2008 against these bullshit trade agreements that lower our standards of living.
by Painter2004 2005-01-24 05:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Throw the anti-labor bums out of the party
That was a very dumb move on the part of the Democrats.

It showed that the liberal issues would take precidence over the economic concerned of working Americans. It also showed that there was no reom for dissent or disagreement on these issues.

As intolerant as the Republicans often are, they have done a much better job of handling disagreements on the abortion issue than the Democrats. Even though the Republican grassroots can't stand Specter, the GOP leadership backed Specter over conservative challenger Pat Toomey. The Democrats were all to anxious to sell out Bob Casey. That is not how you build a majority party, folks.

by wayward 2005-01-24 06:46PM | 0 recs
The problem is the grassroots, not the leadership

I obviously agree with a lot of what you say, since I've been pushing the need to support unions hard for years in the blogosphere.

But I actually think your wrong about the Democratic Party overall, that it's "sold unions down the river for middle-class liberalism." There are actually fewer anti-labor politicians in the party than there were a few decades ago. Democrats voted overwhelmingly in recent trade votes against "fast track" authority for both Clinton and Bush and have lined up strongly behind labor rights bills. They resisted union-busting in the 2002 Homeland Security bills to the point that Senators like Max Cleland were attacked as Osama-loving traitors for refusing to screw labor in those voters. Sure, Democratic leaders could push labor issues harder but they face unyielding filibusters by the GOP. No issue is more partisan these days than a vote on core labor issues.

No, in this case, your impulse to complain about the "netroot" itself is right. The problem here is not with the Democratic leadership but with its non-labor base of voters, who don't understand the issues and thus don't campaign hard to educate their fellow voters. The ongoing union-busting in the airline industry has gone barely mentioned by most liberal blogs and one outrage after another comes down from the National Labor Relations Board without comment. If similar decisions were happening on abortion or race, it wouldn't be blogged from the far ends of liberal opinion outlets, but most liberals just don't give a damn.

No, the political leaders (who need labor help at elections) are actually ahead of much of the base on core labor issues. It's the liberal opinion leaders, not the elected ones, who need to clean up their act and take labor issues more seriously on a day-to-day basis.

by nathansnewman 2005-01-24 05:48AM | 0 recs
The problem is the grassroots
I was actually thinking about the early nineties leadership. I am sure you are right--things do seem to have improved over the last several years. In particular, I was impressed by the Democratic candidates during the primaries. It seemed a far cry from the 1992 affair (Tsongas and Clinton in particular).
by Chris Bowers 2005-01-24 08:24AM | 0 recs
Pro Union = Pro economic justice
I am a union rep as well as a long-time pro-choice activist. Back when Operation Rescue was at its peak, I did clinic defense work - blocking the bad guys from getting to the clinic doors, even blocking their vehicles to keep them from getting to a clinic.

But I agree that, at this point in this country's history, the economic fights are more important than those for individual rights, even one as basic as choice. The fight over Social Security, I think, has proven this to many of us. We can accept the concept of an anti-choice Democract, but as Josh Marshall has argued, a pro-privatization Democract is simply a contradiction in terms.

What makes this thread controversial among our lefty community, is the fact that many of us separate "union issues" from broader economic ones. This separation is killing us. Just because your shop steward was a jerk or your brother-in-law's construction firm lost out to a union bidder should not mean that you are hostile to the concept of organized labor, but for many it does.

That's fine if you are a Republican,  but for Democrats and progressives of every stripe, the idea of workers organizing together should be fundamental. Without Unions, for all of their flaws and mistakes, we are living in an Oligarthy. I simply do not see how that is consistent with Democratic values.

by pavlov 2005-01-24 05:50AM | 0 recs
BTW you're unfair to Kerry
The measure you use for Kerry's labor rating counts every absence while he was campaigning as a "no on labor" vote.  That's a ridiculous measurement.

Kerry has voted for "free trade" agreements a number of times, but aside from that, he votes down the line in support of core labor rights.  He has a lifetime 91% AFL-CIO voting record of voting right on the issues.  I don't like his trade votes but it's just inaccurate to ignore Kerry's good overall labor record.

by nathansnewman 2005-01-24 06:09AM | 0 recs
I hate unions
Some unions do good, but a lot are bad.  I was threatened & harassed as a student because the unions had a beef with the administration.  I think many unions protect grossly incompetent workers from getting canned.  

Now, do you

a) not want me to vote Democratic any more?
b) or just not want me to be chair of the DNC?

those are your only two choices.

by emptypockets 2005-01-24 06:15AM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
Just B. You can still vote Dem if you're anti-labor, but you cannot, in my mind, be a Dem leader under any circumstances.
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 06:21AM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
Thank you -- I think that is a totally reasonable approach.  To me the subtext of this post was that the backlash against DNC chair candidates for being insufficiently pro-choice has been unfair. But it's fair to hold leaders to strict standards.

I don't need to be told I'm a bad Democratic voter.  I would be a bad chair, obviously.  But calling me a bad Democrat does not help anyone.

by emptypockets 2005-01-24 06:29AM | 0 recs
You can always be an independent.
And spare yourself the petty infighting while voting however you feel is right according to your own values.

It's quite liberating.

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 07:45PM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
See my comment above.

One bad union (assuming you were in the right), and you are ready to condemn all unions.

How is this different from the bigot who uses individual examples of perceived harms to attack an entire group?

Do you like Social Security, Paid holidays, the Weekend?

More to the point, do you believe that the owner of a company should have complete power over the employees and their conditions of employment, or should they also have some power?

Because all a Union does is give the employees some power vis-a-vis their employer. The use of that power can always be questioned, as can the internal union processes by which that power is exercised, but if you don't believe that individuals should be allowed to work together to influence their work life, then yeah, go ahead and don't vote for the Dems.

by pavlov 2005-01-24 06:31AM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
I didn't say I hated the concept of unions.

I said I hate actual unions - the ones I have interacted with.

To use your own example, how is being in favor of all unions different than the same bigot, judging a group rather than individuals?

The way unions are constructed today, many of them attack the consumers instead of the management -- just because I favor the underlying principles of unionization, and appreciate the historic role of unions, does that mean I have to be pro-union?

'cuz I do, but I'm not.

by emptypockets 2005-01-24 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
That's fine, be angry at a particular union, just like you can be angry at a member of a racial minority, but just don't say "I hate __".

Because when you do, you seem to indicate an objection to the "idea" of unionization.

Now, can you shop at Walmart and still be a Democrat? Of course. (too many of my members do, and I damm well know my in-laws buy christmas presents for my family there); can you cross a picket line or even scab? Ugh, grimace grimace, but yeah I suppose, though I hope you look at the facts of the particular dispute, or feel just a little guilt.
But if you "hate unions", well, I'd like to hear an economic and political philosophy that makes that consistent with any of the principles of the Democratic party.

by pavlov 2005-01-24 06:56AM | 0 recs
Point taken
The "I hate..." was actually a little blog license -- it helps to be a little incendiary when you want to get feedback.  No one in their right mind could hold beliefs as stoutly as many of us pretend to... it helps one to stake out a position & see what happens, test your beliefs.

so, thanks for replying!

by emptypockets 2005-01-24 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Point taken
And thank you. Good discussion, and remember to "look for the Union label"
by pavlov 2005-01-24 08:13AM | 0 recs
Re: I hate unions
This is really an example of what economists call free-riding.  You like the social benefits that have been the result of union organizing and mobilization, but you don't want to contribute any effort to those goals.  And indeed, why should you if you get the benefits anyway?  But you see what happens when more and more people free ride:  benefits get slashed, wages and salaries go down, and your children increasingly will live in a winner-take-all society...fine if you're cum laude at Harvard, but not so nice if you graduate from State College.
by plunkitt 2005-01-24 10:05AM | 0 recs
so are you still a Democrat?

Why don't you read a nifty little book called Crashing the Party, or The Good Fight.

Nader has been screaming this for at least 4 years.

However, his calls if they fall at all fall on deaf ears and mamed bloggers.

It is a shame.

Dean or go green thats my new moto.

by media in trouble 2005-01-24 06:26AM | 0 recs
Re: so are you still a Democrat?

I am going to find that book you recommended.

Its not ok with me for ANYONE think its acceptable to be a democrat and anti-labor.

That concept is at the very roots of why the democratic party is dying.

BTW, Rendell is NOTHING BUT a complete SOB.

And Clinton has done incalculable damage to the democratic party. If we do not depose the clintonites and the DLC, the democratic party is finished.

Unions rules would always be reasonable in a economy where unions and laborers were not under constant attack by big corporations and government, so the complaints about the seemingly inflexible or unreasonable union rules do not start with the original cause for them.

The people who want to do away with unions and do away with a social safety net and do without a woman's right to choose should take another look (or likely take a first look) at real American history and see what society was like before these progressive changes were put into place.

by leschwartz 2005-01-24 09:39AM | 0 recs
Some History on the Liberal-Labor Split
Your commentary is excellent and I agree with its position. I think that the labor/liberal split has been building for over 30 years and can be traced back to the 1960s.

In the 1960s the AFL-CIO, led by George Meany, backed the Vietnam War, thus outraging many liberals who were against that war. At the same time the Nixon Administration began an effort to force trade unions to accept black workers. Although started by the Nixon Administration, the Democrats, because they backed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 got the "blame," if one can call it that, by trade unionists. Liberals were seen by such trade unionists as backing programs that put them at a economic disadvantage in the sense that their children would not be able to get jobs in the trades.

Democrats need to start repairing that split and one way they can do so is by advocating what I refer to as "economic populism" issues. Issues such as mandatory health insurance, increasing the minimum wage, fighting out-sourcing, etc.

by mrgavel 2005-01-24 06:26AM | 0 recs
No &lt;rant&gt; necessary

Ever since I worked in Europe and realized what labor unions could be if they put their mind to it (as a research scientist I belonged to the 'research scientist union'), I've been hoping to see some glint of the same vision here in the US. But it is hard to see union issues even on the radar as anything more than one of the Democratic "special interests" - something that those autoworkers need but will do nothing for your average white collar worker.

To the contrary. And it's not just the 6 weeks vacation and the generous family leave - which should be slam-dunk issues - but the way which large scale unionization can filter through all of society, from having real holidays (ie, all the stores are actually closed) to having union umbrella groups own things like major media outlets and large retail chains.

So thanks for posting this - I'm all for putting the Democratic party firmly behind widescale unionization.

by spandrel 2005-01-24 06:28AM | 0 recs
Re: No &amp;lt;rant&amp;gt; necessary
Good point. Unions are accorded a legitimacy in Europe and Canada that they have never achieved in America. In Germany Union leaders sit on corporate boards. Here labor unions are seen as a "problem" to be solved. Just a lack of imagination and long term vision in our business/owner class.

It is interesting to note that in 1950's at the high point of Union strength (31% of labor force unionized) the country was strong economically and the middle class was growing (not saying this is due only to unions, but unions did not hurt).

Since then, you have growth of service sector populated by small businesses and a preponderance of female workers (difficult to unionize). Then in the 1960's top labor leadership was content with management and the bargains they had. In 1970's management aggressively turns against unions. And in the 1980's Reagan-era gov't takes an openly anti-union stance.

So there were many factors in the decline of unions, but we are the only western country where there has been such a decline in union membership and power ... and I think the results are only beginning to be felt. It sucks. Even though productivity is up, wages and benfits go down, jobs get outsourced, we race to the bottom, bad environmental regulation ... and our economy is to a large extent based on consumer debt.

by Atrain 2005-01-24 06:58AM | 0 recs
Go Casey
The Democratic Party should be known as the pro-labor party, not the pro-Roe party. Being pro-labor should be the price of admission, not being pro-Roe.

Abortion rights are important to me, but labor is the heart and soul.

by mysteve 2005-01-24 06:49AM | 0 recs
The Mondale campaign
I think a big part of the problem in the Democratic Party stems from the '84 Mondale campaign, when labor endorsed him even before the primaries and we know what the result was.

Now I don't mean to blame labor in any way for Mondale's downfall, but of course every "centrist" and right-wing Democrat did, including the newly-formed DLC, and most Democratic presidential candidates have tried to steer clear of the "big labor" "special interest" taint ever since.

The news media and the RWNM have been very successful in portraying labor unions as special interests that are detrimental to the economy, even though economists who have studied the issue closely know this to be false. Unionized firms actually have higher labor productivity than do non-unionized firms. Firms that adopt "high-road" employment policies that give workers a voice on the job tend to see productivity increases too.

There is also the notion that unions are "dinosaurs" that are well-suited to a mass-production closed industrial economy, but have no place in a post-industrial globalized knowledge and service economy. Even Phil Agre in his essay on conservatism echoed this kind of thinking.

It is bunk, in my opinion. Labor unions have been around long before capitalism (think medieval guilds), and they will be around for a long, long time. The biggest gains that the American labor movement are enjoying now is in the service sector. In Scandinavia, even knowledge jobs like engineers are unionized. As long as there are people who work for somebody else for a living, with the bargaining power on the side of the firm, there will be a need for unions. In this era of globalization, when even knowledge jobs can be exported, they are needed more than ever.

by tgeraghty 2005-01-24 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: The Mondale campaign
Bit ironic that many Dems run away from the "special interest" big labor tag, whereas most republicans openly embrace the "special interest" big business tag.
by yitbos96bb 2005-01-24 09:17AM | 0 recs
Amen, brother.
We ought to be talking about a national union.

Every worker threatened by cuts in wages and  benefits or job loss ought to understand that organization is the only way to beat wage depressing corporate strategies.

These days, middle managers ought to be able to see how they fit the embattled profile.

The biggest success of Republican propaganda was to convince working class Americans that unions were bad for America.


by Thresholder 2005-01-24 01:09PM | 0 recs
Rendall, Cause and Effect
Chris I find it interesting that you basically, in the first part of the post, show how good Rendell is at being a regular guy.  This is what we need to connect to regular guys -- 89% of whom are non-union.  

It is also possible to be pro-labor without being pro-union.  One of the mistakes we've made as a party is ceding "working guy" or labor outreach to the unions in an age of increasing non-unioinization.

I'm pro-union but think this like arguing in favor of the record player when everyone already has CDs.  Rendell is a friend of thw working man -- he fought to keep the Navy yard in town, etc.   My understanding is that Rendell was fighting -- an impossible fight -- to keep the city center relevant.  It seems like the mistake made was not addressing the tax diffrential between Philly and Bucks County (reason why my father in law moved a plant that had been in Philly for 40 years to Bucks).

In closing, I think our vision for working America has to be more than simply supporting the unions.  The problem is that is all that it is.  The Cons, as WTMWK points out so well, are selling an altarnative vision to workers who are alienated from the culture and society.

We're not going to roll back NAFTA or stop outsourcing.  We've already ruined the world's labor market (look at Germany).  But, we can address alienation which is the root cause and that alienation -- in the minds of many workers -- is not tied to unions.  

by lojo 2005-01-24 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendall, Cause and Effect
I disagree wtih you about the "its too late to do anyhting about it" argument.

That bit of negativity is why all of the democrat economic-social-labor issues have been in free fall for as long as it has been.

We can change the ground rules for coporate participation in our economy, doing that will completely change the situation on the ground.

by leschwartz 2005-01-24 09:46AM | 0 recs
Re: Rendall, Cause and Effect
I really disagree -- I don't think I am being negative, just realistic, you say:

"We can change the ground rules for coporate participation in our economy, doing that will completely change the situation on the ground."

Our economy -- in terms of dollars -- is essentially corporate.  How do we control participation when they control the economy?  We can make changes but most of the opportunity here is in terms of shareholder rights and holding boards accountable.  We don't have leverage in terms of wages, health care and outsourcing.  

I think there is a lot of dissatisfaction from workers (blue collar and white collar) that we can tap into but, while I think we should push for unionization where we can, I don't think that 11% of the workers (many of whom work for the Government by the way) are going to be able dictate participation.

I think the key is to do what the cons do (and what the unions used to do) and to tap into diaaffection of worker in a system where they don't get healthcare and they have to drive for an hour to get to a crappy job and then have to stay late at work and not see their family.  This is not the American dream.  We need a new American dream which should not be first "get more shops to be unionized and to be cardholders."

by lojo 2005-01-24 10:38AM | 0 recs
you can't be pro-labor
and not be pro-union.  Yes, I know the history of labor unions and the past corruption and anti-democratic practices.  But the only way to raise the social living standard is to have an organized labor movement powerful enough to play the political game.  It may seem like chicken-and-egg, but it's not.  The great advances in economic equality in the US came after the Wagner Act.
by plunkitt 2005-01-24 10:00AM | 0 recs
Re: you can't be pro-labor
Sure you can.  Unions is one form of organization with one form of tactics.

There are other tactics and other forms of organization.


by donkeykong 2005-01-24 01:32PM | 0 recs
This isnt exactly profound but
I agree exactly with your sentiments Chris.
by Andy Katz 2005-01-24 10:21AM | 0 recs
Do unions mean
that I can go down to the local factory after highschool graduation and make a middle class income like in the good ol' days?

You want to know why unions declined? Because when the rest of the world started participating in the industrial economy, new jobs weren't being created at home.

Do you know what the unions did? They cut the throats of the young workers so they could continue their fat existence! All management had to do was preserve the amount of jobs and pay for the existing workers, and they bought a police force to keep young people out of the labor pool.

by Paul Goodman 2005-01-24 10:49AM | 0 recs
I worked for the Communication Workers Union

as a volunteer on a union drive for American

Airlines...I was a reservation agent there

dealing with large groups and conventions...

we now have a volunteer association..but just

let me tell you about the playing field during

our drive...1st strike against us is the

railway labor act...where you have to organize

not one reservations office but all..and they

are strewn throughout the country in pro union

states but mostly in right to work states...

a monumental task but we took it on...2nd

strike that happens card check is 99.9%

challenged by company thus it goes to an election

you must have 50% plus 1 to win...then expect

challenges from company that takes a year if

not years. 3rd at a major airline it gets nasty

they really hire the consultants...lawyers...

spend millions on video cassette tapes and mailers

to peoples homes...meetings to disuade people

and bash unions with no debate and usually unions

are painted in such a bad light it is laughable

to people in the know ..but that is not the

companys point they are going after the naive

and scared who they indocrinate or they are

scared for losing their job or

the company salts people into the work force

one day you see new people..they are

in key leadership posistions among the workers

they start an anti-union table and campaign...

I persoanlly was this day I think

someone broke into my are harrassed

about your dress...your smell...phantom complaints

from so called other workers..I knew my rights

but mass of workers do not know there rights

and cave or feel you cannot fight the company.

Well to make a long story short...election came

around in 1997 we garnished 41 percent of the

vote of agents...airport..res...etc..agent we had cards signed for like 55

percent...but the company was able to put on

a full court press and 14 percent melted away

by not voting...yeah another strike against vote no ...tear up your ballot!

I had to learn from all this that the playing

field is grossly uneven...undemocratic...

antiquated...I believe in a union campaign

you should be the underdog it makes victory

that much sweeter and worth while but as it

stands now you are not the underdog you are

more likely to lose from the get go.

I really grieved when Al Gore lost the election

in 2000 because he spoke of changing labor laws

that were antiquated and out of its

just the same old same now comes the
























































































by Aslanspal 2005-01-24 11:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....
Jesus- learn how to edit your text already...
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 11:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....




by Aslanspal 2005-01-24 01:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....
and another thing mr. books

sit on your lazy ass and listen to piss and

whine music...i have walked the walk

need to do something besides going to

barnes and noble sit around with your other

slacker friends and do nothing...but piss

and moan and hope the republican party

self destructs...what are your active

solutions...what have you done!

by Aslanspal 2005-01-24 01:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....
I'm sorry- I meant JESUS H. GODDAMN CHRIST learn how to friggin edit your text.

And before you assume who I am, what my relation to Jesus and the creator is, and what I do, maybe you should stop for a second and ask "do I really want to cast this stone". Fact is, you know me not, and know even less about how active I am (hint: very).

If you really think that Jesus is the name of the creator than you are committing a terrible sin. There's a reason that we Jews (including Jesus)never claim to be able to speak (its) name, it is blasphemous. Simply using an expression which happens to have the same sound as that which you associate with the creator doesn't equal blasphemy. The name of the creator cannot be spoken, so wisen up a little and lighten up a lot.

by Reverend AlX 2005-01-24 01:43PM | 0 recs
I can't resist...
But it's very entertaining a notion to assume that a unique supreme being would even have a name, something used among innumerable slightly-evolved chimpanzees (humans) to assign individuality and a method of identification.

I suppose God also relieves his bladder and farts in bed?

by Vote Hillary 2008 2005-01-24 07:51PM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....
Now who casts stones? surely you don't

I till you what since we both like alot

of the same books and movies (Amilee..great

christian principles in that movie...doing

good works in secret) you take your stones

put them in your bag and I will take mine

and save them for Sean Hannity or a Bill

O'rielly...btw I have been near and far

being lucky to work in the airline industry

I put two prayers at the wailing wall very is written
Blessed is the person whose strength is in thee;

In whose heart are the highways to Zion.

Passing through the valley of  Weeping they make it a place of springs;

Yea, the early rain covereth it with blessings.

They go from strength to strength;


you are pro labor I am pro labor we want the

same take your strengths and

I will take mine as we travail this valley

or weeping..and turn it into a victory for


by Aslanspal 2005-01-24 08:49PM | 0 recs
Re: Solutions....
Right, bro, we're on the same team. I'm just asking that you format your posts a little better so that I can actually read them. It's a little hard when there's 5 words per line and then a space between every line too. If you would like some help with simple web editing, let me know and I'll give ya a hand. We each have our strengths, but together we're a hellova lot stronger...
by Reverend AlX 2005-01-25 04:10AM | 0 recs
i don't know if i agree with you, J
i think what you are seeing is simply that it is not necessary to be pro-labor to be a democrat. (the "choice" issue might muddy the waters here).

fewer jobs are manufacturing jobs, and workplaces are safer due to regulation. thus, the size and onus for organizing is somewhat mitigated.

by heterodoxy 2005-01-24 11:51AM | 0 recs
I agree 100%
Another problem with the emphasis that Democrats put on Roe over all issues is that support of legalized abortion is becoming THE defining issue for the Democratic Party. Even among people who are pro-choice, abortion is not a pleasant subject to talk about or campaign on.

This, as well as the corresponding abandonment of labor is why so many working Americans voted for Bush. The Democrats gave them little better alternative. (Why was Kerry talking about importing drugs from Canada instead of talking about doing what Canada does here, or providing access to healthcare for all?) To be honest, it was only due to Bush's gross incompetence that Kerry was able to get 48% of the vote.

I've said this before and I'll say it again. The Democratic Party needs to become the party of working Americans once again, or they will be permanently in the minority.

As for overturning Roe, it wouldn't be the end of the world, the abortion issue would just go back to the states. For you blue staters, not much would change anyway. (In the reddest of the red states, not much would change either. Many of the these states have very few clinics already.)

In other words, is it worth sacrificing the party to keep Mississippi's ONE abortion clinic open?

(Disclaimer: My position on the issue is that the only thing worse than legalized abortion is illegal abortion. I am proudly in the "mushy middle" on the issue.)

On a side note, if Casey had run against Specter, that would have been rather interesting.

While I am not from Pennsylvania, I have a feeling that if Casey does get the nomination for 2006, Santorum is toast.

by wayward 2005-01-24 02:33PM | 0 recs
Joe Hill
An excellent resource to Union issues can be found on the Joe Hill website;
by meagert 2005-01-24 02:46PM | 0 recs
Pro-choice former I.B.E.W. member here...
Hell, I'm a WOMAN.  

I can't even GET to work, if I'm barefoot and pregnant!

by daemmern 2005-01-24 02:48PM | 0 recs
pro-choice, pro-labor
I have been hearing since the election that the  Democrats lost (supposedly) the votes of non-college educated white men and women whose interests are not served by Republican policies.       The argument I've heard repeatedly is that "cultural issues" are responsible for the loss of these votes.  Here's my take on it.

Labor unions have historically performed a service for its members by explaining how political and policy issues directly affect their pocketbooks and personal lives.  I think this is a very useful service that unions performed admirably well not only for members but for all of us working
stiffs who do not have the time, energy or knowledge to analyze and understand the implications of issues and policies ourselves.  With the decline in union representation of  non-college educated men and women, this group has no reliable source of analysis comparable to unions.  TV, including cable and network news, radio, newspapers, etc. simply do not and never will have the desire or incentive to make sure this group of voters understands the
implications of political and policy issues on their lives.  I think the loss of these votes has less to do with cultural issues than with the decline in this group's labor union representation.

Your blog is the first time I have seen this issue raised, and I think you did a great job of spelling it out.  Keep it up.  Maybe some of those Democrats in a position to make a difference in the priorities of the party will hear you.  

I am a 55 year old woman who has never belonged to a union.  I am a white collar professional and have been self-employed as well.  However, I grew up and have recently been living again in the Copper Country of Michigan - in the Upper Peninsula - where unions fought long and hard for immigrant copper miners, inbcluding my grandfathers, in the first half of the 1900s.  The area was for a long time dependent on unionized mining and timber industry jobs that have almost entirely disappeared leaving low wage tourist jobs in their wake.

by 45merc 2005-01-24 04:27PM | 0 recs
Unions equal High Pay
Everyone thinks Manufacturing is the Holy Grail of High Paying Jobs.  One look at our history and China tells us this is not true.  In the United States, manufacturing jobs were low paying until the rise of the Union.  I believe this will be true in China too.  Why are Manufacturing Jobs moving to China?  Low labor cost.  Why are the labor costs low?  Because in China, real unions are illegal.
I believe the Democrats should work for two major changes that will give unions more power in the USA.  

Pass laws that make easy for Unions to form.  Today the deck is stack against the formation of unions in a nonunion work place.

Pass a law that makes it illegal to hire replacement workers for the first three months of a strike.  

By empowering unions, the service work force, the white-collar force, and blue-collar would have real power to raise their income and to obtain better benefits.  I do not believe any one type of job is the Holy Grail to High Paying Jobs.  The Union is the only counter balance that the
employee has to the greed and the power of Corporations.

Chris your the best.  I am well paid manager, but I believe in unions!!!  I will never forget where I came from.

by SRconbio 2005-01-24 05:36PM | 0 recs
Silly comparison
While both "pro-Choice" and "anti-Labor" are a little vague, the meaning of the former is crystal clear compared to the latter.   Being pro-Choice essentially means that you are against laws to outlaw abortion on demand.   There is no single or small set of legislative issues that define pro-Union or anti-Labor.   But if being anti-labor means that you don't reflexively take the side or organized labor on most every issue, then count me in to that group.
by LastToKnow 2005-01-25 08:32AM | 0 recs


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