by Matt Stoller, Tue Oct 03, 2006 at 12:38:48 PM EDT
First some logistics. Andy Stern is going to be in DC tomorrow as part of this book tour for 'A Country That Works.' He's going to be at Olsson's Bookstore at 1307 19th Street at 7pm and at The Big Hunt 1345 Connecticut Ave at 8pm. This book matters, and you should go see Andy talk, if only because he's one of the most powerful people in the progressive movement who gets what we're about. Over the next few years, my guess is that there will be a strong alliance between labor and blogs, and that Andy will be one of the key drivers building that coalition.
Ok, now on to the big bad news. The National Labor Relations Board, or NLRB, just made it illegal for millions of workers to unionize by reclassifying almost anyone with small supervisory responsibilities as management. I haven't been able to get in touch with my union friends, but this is really really bad for all of us. In Virginia, Hospitals are already planning to break the state nurse's union.
Stephen Colbert has the best explanation out there.
The AFL-CIO blog has more details. Suffice to say, this is going to make the nurse shortage in this country much worse, and it's going to damage our health care system dramatically. When nurses can't organize and speak out, it means that errors and corruption by hospital management will probably multiply and worsen since there will be a strong disincentive towards speaking up.
Politically, this is going to be bad for Democrats because labor is a huge funder of the party, and provides reliable volunteers and muscle for GOTV efforts. There is nothing good in this decision at all. It's classic Bush, and it's going to hurt anyone who has to go to a hospital. Rallies are scheduled, and I'm trying to find out what else is planned.
Heckova job, NLRB.