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From Jack Metzgar
Striking Steel
Solidarity Remembered
Temple University Press, 2000

The labor union is an underappreciated and easily misunderstood institution.  It's underappreciated first because American culture depreciates all institutions as "bureaucracies" that stifle the natural goodness and spontaneous vitality of both "the individual" and that collected mass of individuals we call "the people."  But of all of our institutions, none (with the exception of the armed forces) goes against the grain of our radical individualism like the union -- not just in its practice, but in its beliefs.  Most people have little or no direct experience as a union member, and even members, particularly those who have to join the union as a condition of employment, have little to do with the union unless or until they have trouble.  Most union members probably appreciate their union, if they do, like they appreciate the sewer system -- they're glad it's there, but they neither understand how it works nor are cognizant that it works until it malfunctions.  Only those who directly experience the before and after of the union can properly appreciate it for what it is and what it does.

From the AFL-CIO, what are the concrete benefits of union jobs?

Unions matter.  They matter in pay, in health and safety, in dignity.  This Labor Day we need to be recommitting to fight for unions and what they bring to workers everywhere.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:06 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Liberals for Labor Rights (5+ / 0-)

    I think we should insist on moderate labor reform today, and more extreme reform after the election.  My view isn't the orthodox Union view, but seems to get reasonable support from non-union and Progressives: http://www.dailykos.com/...

    Please read my series on Labor, the GOP's #1 fear. Organized, we shall overcome!

    by try democracy on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:05:00 AM PDT

    •  43% want a union; 78% want an employee assoc, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, fizzy

      ...suppose there were a proposal to form an employees association in your workplace that was not a union, but that would represent the interests of employees and meet regularly with management to discuss important workplace issues. Would you definitely vote for, probably vote for, probably vote against, or definitely vote against forming an employees association?" This elicited a much higher 78 percent positive response. Putting the two questions together, the Freeman study found that 39 percent of workers favored both a union and an association, and another 35 percent opposed a union but favored an association.

      What the Public Really Wants on Unions

      Please read my series on Labor, the GOP's #1 fear. Organized, we shall overcome!

      by try democracy on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:11:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Corruption and Unions (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MTmofo, Paver, ACD

        When I think of unions, I think of corruption a la Jimmy Hoffa, and I think of lazy ass workers.  I know several blue-collar workers who admittedly "hardly work," and love to take on those double-time hours.  Huge pensions, high wages and good working conditions are great, but it seems that the unions foster an environment of entitlement in the workplace and a disincentive to work.  As corrupt as corporations can be, unions can be as bad or worse.  

        Why do they hate our freedom?

        by Shesk on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:32:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is a problem of the specific leadership -- (7+ / 0-)

          and the culture it may foster, not of the concept of the union itself.

        •  Congratulations. You've bought in (25+ / 0-)

          to an extensive PR campaign waged by employers over a period of decades to convince you that unions are all things evil.

          How about studies that show that unions are associated with higher productivity?  That you're more likely to recover from a heart attack if the nurse taking care of you is unionized?

          •  People have problems understanding (9+ / 0-)

            that Union members are people just like us. If you're not in a union it's easier to believe the propaganda - sort of like not being a "welfare mother".

            And then there are all the jokes about some union member sweeping the floor and another being called to pick up the dust because of specialization.

            There is little understanding of how unions have helped create the job life we all have now - the higher pay, the benefits, the safety checks and more reasonable hours.

            •  Exactly Granny (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              madgranny, StageStop

              the safety checks

              The recent mine disaster in Utah is an excellent example

              "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

              by fugwb on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 06:05:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  By all means FG, and without the union movement (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                madgranny, StageStop

                Workplace safety and worker's rights would be close to non existing in America. Hope no one has forgotten what history has taught us, and why unions came to be. I prefer to leave "midnlessnes", and those tendencies to the GOP.

                Unions have had the occasional idiot, but so has humanity. In my book they've done more to build the America we cherish than the Repughs, ten times over!

          •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

            In my view, unions are like steam locomotives.  A fantastic tool of the time.  We couldn't have tamed the west et al without the steam engine.  But natural evolution led us to the internal combustion engine which has had its day too.  Hopefully soon we'll take the next step.

            Likewise, the union was an essential instrument at one point in time.  We couldn't have gotten here without it!  But like the steam locomotive, its time has come and gone.  And rather than applying CPR, we need to move forward and devise something that serves the workers without promoting unions for their own sake.

            •  Another common anti-union PR frame... (0+ / 0-)

              ...is the idea that unions are somehow "obsolete." What's obsolete about workers getting together to advocate on their own behalf rather than being on their own at the mercy of the people who profit from their work? What's obsolete about wages people can live and raise a family on, health care benefits, and retirement security?

              The only reason people think of unions as obsolete is because they've done their job, and done it well, for decades, so much that people have come to take for granted that they have rights at work and can demand fair treatment.

          •  Haven't bought in... (0+ / 0-)

            to anything, at least not from any PR campaign.  My perceptions are based on conversations with union members, including my own father.  We had a great life because of my dad's union, but even my dad admitted that his job was pretty cushy for a working man.

            Mind you, I'm not anti-union; I'm anti-corruption and anti-laziness.  I lost out on a promotion once solely because someone had seniority over me - that's just bs, but typical of union rules.

            Why do they hate our freedom?

            by Shesk on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 09:52:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  "Entitlement" (17+ / 0-)

          Why the hell are so many people against "an environment of entitlement"? This is a right-wing buzzword.

          If you work every day, you are damn well entitled to something. In fact, you're entitled to a whole hell of a lot more than the corporate CEOs who get fat off other people's labor. We should be for expanding entitlements for regular people, and restricting entitlements for the rich.

          That is what the union movement is about, and it evinces an appalling ignorance of human history and basic contemporary facts to claim that unions "can be as bad or worse" than corporations.

        •  Have you belonged to a union? (8+ / 0-)

          Just curious. Your posting seems to show quite a lack of knowledge of organized labor and what it actually does. For instance, those 6 miners dead in the mine in Utah were not represented.

        •  I'd like to see some facts here (7+ / 0-)

          What you've stated is perception.  What is the reality?  Unions have changed amazingly since the Jimmy Hoffa days.  Most are now direct democracy unions.  

          How Corporate Right Lies About Union Corruption

          More on [Non-existent] Union Corruption

          Witwer finds that as early as 1905 the Teamsters were under attack for corruption.  But tellingly, he notes, employers initially deployed
          the term "corruption" to attack not organized crime’s influence in the union but rather "the growing power of labor organizations"
          (22).  Teaming trades employers were scarcely less
          corrupt than labor leaders in their industry—they regularly cut collusive deals with the union intended to undermine their competitors—but
          they feared the union’s growing power, and they found that leveling public charges of corruption was an effective weapon against their labor adversary. Their attacks helped curb the
          Teamsters’ use of sympathy strikes, which, thanks to a concerted managerial campaign, much of
          the public came to see as simply a method of shaking down hapless employers. Thus, decades before Hoffa’s rise, Witwer demonstrates,
          employers had successfully laid the groundwork for subsequent attacks on Teamster power by defining corruption in the public mind in a way that shielded their own actions from close
          scrutiny.

          So please show me this corruption that you perceive that doesn't come from the huge number of links that are associated with corporate or right-wing attacks on unions because they want to destroy them.  

          ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

          by Rebecca on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:06:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  unions like any other (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          chimpy, decitect, StageStop, mon, Boise Lib

          organization can be honorable or corrupt.

          If it is corrupt it hurts its own membership.

          We now have a completely corrupt executive branch of government. That doesn't mean that government is bad, just that this government is bad.

          We need fair minded business practices. What we have is shortsighted runaway greed.

          We need strong unions as a counterweight to the outight theft from the working class in this country.

          I happen to be retired from the financial securities business, so I know whereof I speak about runaway greed.

          There was a time that Wall Street firms had some honor and fair play. Those companies have been displaced by Harvard business type short sighted amoral greed wagons.

          The chickens are coming home to roost now and I hope that before this country is bankrupt and implodes, that wiser heads push the scoundrels out of the way.

          Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

          by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:19:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unions and the Environment (long post) (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            eve, jnhobbs, StageStop

            I know very well that in most if not all industries in this country, unions are essential to protect worker safety, job security and wages.

            However, my support for unions is also tempered by a tremendous dismay for the frequent lack of thoughtful, responsible leadership on environmental issues among labor union leadership.

            For nearly seven years, without pay, I led an ultimately successful fight against what was then the largest cement manufacturer in the world -- a foreign corporation, owned by a Swiss multinational, with an abymsal record of both environmental violations and anticompetitive behavior.

            This foreign conglomerate wanted to build one of the largest coal-burning facilities in my state (indeed, in the country) less than a mile from the only hospital serving two counties.

            The medical staff of that hospital joined three dozen nonprofit organizations in opposing the project, for two key reasons:

            (1) The plant would have measurably increased asthma in children, heart attacks in the elderly, and cancers in the general population;

            (2) The plant would not have created a single, permanent job for local residents, as all the full-time workers would come from within the company's existing workforce.

            In short, there were no economic benefits for the community, and major health risks.

            But major labor unions in our state, such as the Ironworkers, provided some of the only sustained support for the project. The union's leaders did not meet with opponents, but willingly and repeatedly passed along the company's p.r. materials to its members -- as well as sending thugs from out of town to try to pack meetings.

            The only local member of the Ironworkers opposed the project privately, but was intimidated out of expressing his view publicly.

            Moreover, various unions pressured our Senators (Clinton and Schumer, who dishonored themselves in many local Dems eyes during this period) not to take a position. (I will write a diary on my utterly discouraging firsthand experince with Hillary another time.)

            Why? Such unions only cared about securing a small number of short-term jobs during the 18-month construction phase. It could not care less that if the plant were built, a local community would suffer the blight and health consequences long after a few of their members moved onto their next job.

            The shocking part in our case was that there was neither an economic nor an environmental case to be made for the project. We won despite the company spending nearly $60 million in a small, rural community.

            I've seen other unions behave identically in other communities. Unions need a more enlightened and balanced understanding that in the long run, protecting the environment is essential to a sustainable economy. At it cannot be willing to sacrifice the lives of the general pubic for narrow short-term gains for a handful of members. (More likely, the motivation to take these amoral, ill-informed positions are more based in the personal relationships and benefits of a few union leaders with major corporations than for rank-and-file workers.)

            In short: If unions want the wholehearted support of progressives like me, who believe 100% in their importance to protecting workers, union leadership needs to wise up and begin respecting the concerns of local communities and environmental needs.

            "Animals are my friends. And I don't eat my friends." -- George Bernard Shaw

            by Hudson on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:45:04 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Beautifully written, Hudson (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StageStop

              Unions need a more enlightened and balanced understanding that in the long run, protecting the environment is essential to a sustainable economy. At it cannot be willing to sacrifice the lives of the general pubic for narrow short-term gains for a handful of members. (More likely, the motivation to take these amoral, ill-informed positions are more based in the personal relationships and benefits of a few union leaders with major corporations than for rank-and-file workers.)

              I couldn't agree more.

              And what you say is not only true for unions but all our institutions.

              From politically run government agencies like the FDA,the USDA, the EPA to think tanks like the Heritage Society where political hacks drive policies that serve very few at the expense of our long term sustainability.

              Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

              by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 01:19:31 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You should read about (5+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              fugwb, eve, jnhobbs, StageStop, mon

              the Steelworkers union and their alliance with the Sierra Club.  I did a post here and here's something from them about it.

            •  We need to work together (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chimpy, StageStop

              The fact that certain groups of our caucus are at odds is something we need to work to overcome.  What we don't need is to have people attacking unions as a whole because some unions are not environmentally conscious and are being told that their jobs are at risk if they don't toe the corporate line.  We are all subjects of corporate and right wing propaganda and fear tactics.  Unions are heavily subject to these attacks.  Union leaders main job is to focus on their members.  

              However, my support for unions is also tempered by a tremendous dismay for the frequent lack of thoughtful, responsible leadership on environmental issues among labor union leadership.

              They are not environmental advocates.  

              Wisconsin's labor movement has had a close relationship with the state's environmental community for almost 20 years (Obach 1999).  This relationship developed in 1981 when the national AFL-CIO's Industrial Union Department and the Sierra Club, along with other national environmental organizations, launched an effort to build labor-environmental networks at the state level around the country.

               Not all unions are anti-environmental. Unions aren't perfect.  They have their focus just as environmental groups do.  Sometimes those focus' are in conflict.  But to condemn them for being affected by the propaganda just as the people who are bemoaning the union corruption without knowing the facts are is short sighted.  

              Yes they are hurting themselves in certain unions.  So what do we do?  Attack unions or work with the unions to form coalitions that can work together?  It has been done and can continue to be done.  But attacking unions as a whole won't help and will hurt as unions are one of the best ways of electing Democrats to office.  Just being in a union or having a union member as a family member raises the rates of voting and voting for Democrats.  I'm sure environmental groups have had valid complaints against themselves too.  Should we condemn environmental groups as a whole because of some valid concerns against some environmental groups?

              In short: If unions want the wholehearted support of progressives like me, who believe 100% in their importance to protecting workers, union leadership needs to wise up and begin respecting the concerns of local communities and environmental needs.

              So dump the unions if they aren't 100% on my side?  The unions could come back with the same quote against you.  Working together doesn't mean perfection.    

              ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

              by Rebecca on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 02:13:29 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You're off-base here. Our door was open. (0+ / 0-)

                Theirs was closed.

                The union leaders only wanted to hear the corporate side.

                We did not go out and intimidate unions; but their leaders were willing to strongarm members into signing letters they had not been given the facts about; to send goon squads to local meetings, without telling their members the facts about what they were doing.

                It is amoral to let other people die for your job, plain and simple.

                It is all very nice to talk about "working together," but if one side's door is closed (along with its minds), and one side is committed to a Bush-like ignorance of the facts and a  heavyhanded,

                We were subjected to all kinds of harrassment by this company, personal and physical; so those who say we should just put such history aside should really start by trying to change the unions, not telling those who used facts (and people power) to beat the odds to cut amoral people some slack.

                I have supported many union efforts --  unions have to reciprocate if they want to "work together."

                "Animals are my friends. And I don't eat my friends." -- George Bernard Shaw

                by Hudson on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:50:58 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  indeed (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StageStop

              If we continue to let the owners frame things in terms of "jobs vs environment", we progressives will lose every time.  Despite what they say at the polls, people care far more about their wallet than they do about the trees or animals.

              So we need to put "jobs" and "the environment" on the same side.

              The best example I ever saw of this was Judi Bari and her work among the timber workers in northern California.  It was the classic situation of "jobs vs the environment".  Bari went in and made a devestatingly simple argument --- once all the trees were clear-cut and gone, all their jobs would be gone too.

              It turned quite a few workers into environmentalists and conservationists.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

              by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:52:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A slogan we used (0+ / 0-)

                The environment is the economy.

                We enlisted business leaders throughout our region in our fight. We enlisted working people, and proved with both basic logic and professional studies that the project would have a negative effect on our economy.

                "Animals are my friends. And I don't eat my friends." -- George Bernard Shaw

                by Hudson on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 07:52:56 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Unions and Their Perceptions (0+ / 0-)

          Then you're thinking wrong. Don't feel bad about it, I was just like you a few years ago till I ran into a employer who didn't like following the law and bilked me out of around 30k. I knew the owners of the company and trusted them. Now I found out the laws that should protect me and my coworkers have holes you could drive a semi through. I go bankrupt I lose my house, the company goes, they keep everything (it was a LLC).

          But thats not really why there are unions. I've become a student of history instead of just science recently (its quite depressing). Heres some places to get started.

          First Mine War

          Blair Mountain

          Corporate Response

        •  Curruption afflicts all kinds of organizations (0+ / 0-)

          Any organization of one or more people will be vulnerable to human failings like greed, laziness, pride and misplaced trust. The larger and more successful the organization, the more it has to guard against these through rules, systems and procedures. Some organzations have growing pains, totter and recover, some fail and are replaced.

          But, the concept of a Union is valid and is a necessary balance to the power of wealth. In practice, too, every one has generally been a net benefit to society, and most of them a great one.

          Would you take a look at Buddy Cianci or Frank Rizzo and give up on the idea of cities?

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:55:27 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  actually (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        StageStop

        There was such a movement a few years back -- it was called by various names -- "works councils", "quality circles", "industrial democracy", "job enhancement".  The basic idea, though, was that the workers would have representatives who would discuss things with the bosses, either with union involvement or without.

        Alas, the basic problem was a simple one --- these "associations" didn't have any decision-making power or influence at all.

        Back in the day, I was arguing to my fellow union organizers that we needed to organize precisely to win decision-making power for these associations.  I thought they could potentially be turned from nothing but a way for the boss to harmlessly defuse resentment, into a real instrument for worker power in the workplace.  The bosses, of course, were deadset against it.  And, perhaps not surprisingly, the union higher-ups opposed the idea too -- they didn't want workers to have any actual control of the workplace unless it went through THEM.

        Ever since, I've viewed that as a lost opportunity for the labor movement.

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:48:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Labor is possibly our last great hope. (13+ / 0-)

      If we can't trust that the votes are counted. If we can't depend on Congress to do its job. If the media is totally controlled by corporate interests. And we finally have to have a general strike to save democracy from facists (defined as corporate government) we will have to depend on the Unions to take the workers into the streets. I marched with the Steelworkers at the WTO in Seattle. They are not afraid. The Unions are the fathers and mothers of workers rights and have always been part of the progressive community. We need to support them and honor them by working with them more closely than we ever have. If we have to hit the streets we have to march with the Unions. And that means we have to engage the Union blogs. Anyone got a list? We've got some talking to do. Happy Labor Day. Strike! Strike! Strike!

      Everybody eats, nobody hits.

      by upperleftedge on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:19:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Post (18+ / 0-)

    I think with the stagnent wages of the Bush years people are beginning to get renewed appreciation for unions.

  •  Two Truths About the "Bush League Economy" (9+ / 0-)

    Even as new reports show strong second quarter GDP growth and trumpet U.S. workers' world-leading productivity, two inescapable truths threaten their American Dream:

    1. The American people aren't focused on economic growth; they're concerned about economic insecurity.
    1. Working conditions are worst in precisely those states that voted for George W. Bush for President.

    For the details, see:
    "A Labor Day Look at the Bush League Economy."

  •  We need to make unions sexy (15+ / 0-)

    because sex sells in America.

    I would like to see a group of professional athletes and Hollywood actors do a series of PSAs for unions, with a tag line like 'we wouldn't work a day without our unions, why would you?'  

  •  This whole China "free trade" thing is just (15+ / 0-)

    one big union-busting maneuver.  Ain't no "free trade" about it.  China doesn't compete on the same playing field.  No environment regulations, no unions, no workers rights, and anybody that complains gets fired, imprisoned, or shot.  A veritable paradise for capitalism!  

    "Our knobs go up to 11."

    by Cartoon Peril on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:10:17 AM PDT

  •  A picture is worth (6+ / 0-)

    a thousand spears  ... that silence pro-business, anti-Union snake oil salesmen. Great graph, Miss Laura. Thanks for that.

    •  The graph is VERY helpful, thanks (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LIsoundview, decitect, StageStop

      and kudos on the entire post.

      One thing I that strikes me about the graph:  the benefits of union membership seem especially high for Latino workers.

      Since this is a rapidly growing demographic, and since the Democratic party has seemed somewhat at risk of losing its traditional alliance with this group ... there is an ESPECIALLY rich opportunity there.

      Unions should reach out to Latino and Latina workers with especial vigor, for the Union's sake, the worker's sake, and the Democratic party's sake.

      "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

      by lgmcp on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 01:07:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  When I was a union telecom tech (14+ / 0-)

    We earned almost twice the hourly wage that the non-union workers earned. We were also much better trained, had very good health and pension benefits, a decent degree of job security and god working conditions. We even earned more than the telecom contractors/scabs did, and they had to buy their own trucks, tools, equipment, health insurance, etc.

    We earned all of this because we were willing to stand up and fight for it, much as our predecessors who stood up and fought for the right to form a union in the first place. We never wanted to strike, but when push came to shove, we did and thanks to a tremendous degree of solidarity within our union we were able to come out the better for it.

  •  Nice quote (10+ / 0-)

    American culture depreciates all institutions as "bureaucracies" that stifle the natural goodness and spontaneous vitality of both "the individual" and that collected mass of individuals we call "the people."

    The corporate powers use this to manipulate people into believing that unions hurt workers (so-called right-to-work) and that we all suffer for unions (union featherbedding stories).

    A better frame is needed.

    You can't reason someone out of something they weren't reasoned into. - Jonathan Swift

    by A Mad Mad World on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:14:04 AM PDT

  •  For the working man and woman. (5+ / 0-)

    Videos and stories from Folk Streams.  

    Folk Streams

    http://homepage.mac.com/alfredo_tomato/Wheatpaste.html

    by alfredo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:14:49 AM PDT

  •  I used to be in (7+ / 0-)

    United Auto Workers, they were great.

    •  Used to Be? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Paver, StageStop

      Union work rules within the UAW have directly led to the decline of the domestic automotive industry.   I of course recognize that the decline of the domestic industry is not all the UAW's fault, the management of these companies in many cases leaves a lot to be desired.  I am in this industry so I know what I am talking about.  The UAW sometimes just does not get it.  Being competetive is job security.  Having work rules where one person can only do two things is not job security, it was 30 years ago but it is not today.  

      •  Management talk (0+ / 0-)

        "I am in this industry so I know what I am talking about."

        The paternalistic know-it-all claim of the privileged in its purest form. I know what to do with my inferiors, and I don't need any daggum outside agitators comin' in here to tell me what to do . . .

      •  Hmmmm . . . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mon

        Union work rules within the UAW have directly led to the decline of the domestic automotive industry.

        Given that the German unions are far more powerful and influential (and higher-paid) than the UAW has ever been, I'm a little curious as to why, you think, the German auto industry kicked the American auto industry's ass, then came in and bought some of its remains . . . ?

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 06:35:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Used to be (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimpy

        cause I quit- p.s. it was at a large bookstore in New York- I heard in Chicago the Stevedores Union covers unionized bookstore employees.

  •  I think unions need to expand their PR (13+ / 0-)
    beyond what they do for the workers who join them and talk about the benefits they bring to America as a whole, particularly in their role as a foil to corporations.

    For example, in a non-union, hooray-for-me-to-hell-with-you corporate environment (as exists in China, for example), a worker who protested or acted because melamine was being added to pet food or lead paint was being used on toys would certainly find herself subject to retaliation, and most likely would lose her job. Unions can protect whistleblowers who enforce quality control. Unions can protect whistleblowers who notice shady financials. Unions protect government workers against partisan retaliation.

    Unions have been painted as being the flip side of corporate greed, being greedy for the immediate needs of their workers with no appreciation for the long term. Undoubtedly some have behaved that way. But with a long view, unions can be pro-labor AND pro-customer AND pro-consumer and pro- long term stability. (Note the studies coming out showing that staffing more nurses per patient both improves patient outcomes AND saves money.)

    Wall Street kills businesses because they insist on growth every quarter and cannot settle for a simple regular dividend. Perhaps a coalition of labor and consumers can help fight this, to support companies that are well run and indefinitely profitable, that add value for everyone.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:18:39 AM PDT

    •  In his "New Politics of Inequality," Edsall... (7+ / 0-)

      demonstrated the clear link between the level of social justice in a country and the strength of its labor movement.  While his data is dated now (the book was written in 1984), his conclusions are still valid.

      It's no coincidence that the rise of labor in the 1930's coincided w/ the establishment of SS, minimum wage, and a slew of other laws.  It's no coincidence that W European countries w/ vibrant labor movements were the ones that established the kind of benefits that Michael Moore portrayed in "Sicko."

      It's also no coincidence that the era of labor's greatest strength (1930's to 1970's) was the era of the Dems' greatest strength.  That essential point is occasionally forgotten on this site.  Quite simply, we can either have a vibrant labor movement and a progressive Dem party, or we can have a stagnant labor movement and a timid triangulating party.

      I know which of those 2 alternatives I choose.

      Some men see things as they are and ask why. I see things that never were and ask why not?

      by RFK Lives on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:32:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  This is so important (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RFK Lives, StageStop

        Quite simply, we can either have a vibrant labor movement and a progressive Dem party, or we can have a stagnant labor movement and a timid triangulating party.

        Union members and their families overwhelmingly vote and vote overwhelmingly Democratic.

        How Union Members Voted on Nov. 7

        Also having the endorsement of unions means boots on the ground for those important days before the election for lit drops and phone banking.  While we have been working here to get people involved I've never seen anything like what the unions can do when it comes to getting people out to canvas.  

        ...that cannot be a wise contrivance which in its operation may commit the government of a nation to the wisdom of an idiot. Thomas Paine Rights of Man

        by Rebecca on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 06:06:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is as well put as I've heard. (5+ / 0-)

      One thing we could do is demand more labor news be broadcast in the media. Public Television has how many business shows, Wall Street Week, It's your Money, and on and on. How many Labor shows? None. Isn't there any news from Labor? Just a break of young progressive unions like the service industry and Government employees. Who supported Howard Dean. Did the media cover the Steel Workers when they built a chair lift for Julia Butterfly when she was tree sitting to defend the Redwoods against corporate greed? No.
      What did the Constituion say, ..to form a more perfect Union for the common good..? That was news in 1786 and it's news now, but it is not being reported. Again I ask for Union bloggers and progressive bloggers to join in the fight to get the union stories covered. This could be a historic labor day if we can work together for the common good.

      Everybody eats, nobody hits.

      by upperleftedge on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:38:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the culture of (0+ / 0-)

      short sighted greed is killing this country.

      It's behind a "preventive" war.
      It's behind no universal health care because administrative costs for private health insurance are 10 times what Medicare administrative costs are.

      So insurance companies bleed billions of dollars out of the total dollars paid for health care.

      Single payer universal health care would divert those dollars from the insurance companies profits to paying for health benefits.

      I know the CEO of a large Wall Street firm...he's a very short sighted guy who loves George W Bush.

      I won't say more but trust me that he has poor judgment and should not be a decider of national policy.

      Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

      by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:03:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great graphic (6+ / 0-)

    and the fact is, even those non-union workers benefit from the gains made by unions - as do all of us.  Enjoy a 40 hour week?  Interested in safe working conditions? etc., etc., - everyone's boat has been lifted in some way by the tide of the labor movement, and some of that lift is now so taken for granted that people don't have any idea of the struggle that preceeded it.

    If you think you're too small to be effective, you've never been in the dark with a mosquito.

    by marykk on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:24:31 AM PDT

  •  Hear, hear (7+ / 0-)

    and unions also provide much of the backbone in our federal and state races at all levels to get democrats elected.

    Lets keep Virginia Blue in 2008 - www.VirginiaForEdwards.org - get involved!

    by okamichan13 on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:24:53 AM PDT

  •  Local Grocers (8+ / 0-)

    Got everything this year, and I'm glad to say my advice to a union member worked.  They were offering $.20/hour raises for three years, and a friend of mine mentioned that with glee.  When I told him that it was a pay cut, since it was below the rate of inflation, he told his shop steward, she got involved, and now they're getting $.60, $.50, and $.40/hour raises over the next three years.  They also got all their health benefits back, including complete coverage for LASIK, and higher matching funds for their 401(k)s.  Even in an expensive area like Seattle, people working most any job at a grocery store are making living wages, and I'm super happy about that.

  •  Sept 3, 1991, 25 workers killed in poultry plant (7+ / 0-)

    Sixteen years ago today, 25 people were killed and 54 injured in a fire in a poultry processing plant in Hamlet, NC.

    They couldn't escape because they were trapped behind locked fire doors.

    So while its WONDERFUL to celebrate John Edwards' union endorsements today, I think we should also remember workers who've died because they lacked basic protection and safety regulations that unions provide.

    "The Hamlet chicken processing plant fire was an industrial disaster that took place at the Imperial Foods chicken processing plant in Hamlet, North Carolina, USA, on September 3, 1991, after a failure in a faulty modification to a hydraulic line. Twenty-five people were killed and 54 injured in the fire as they were trapped behind locked fire doors. Due to a lack of inspectors, the plant had never received a safety inspection in 11 years of operation,[1] and it is thought that a single inspection would have easily prevented the tragedy.

    To add insult to injury (an understatement obviously), the insurance companies and business lobby took action to limit compensation for the victims. Disgusting but true.

    "After the fire the factory was permanently closed, with the loss of 215 jobs.[15] Within two years of the accident insurance companies and the North Carolina business lobby collaboratively introduced legislation to severely limit the compensation available to injured workers and relatives of killed workers.[6]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    •  The news coverage here in NC back in '91 (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rebecca, chimpy, redding888, StageStop, mon

      showed footage of blackened/scorched back doors -- the fire exits -- chained closed with heavy chain and padlock. Those deaths occurred because of the heavy chain and padlock across the outside handles. It was criminal. Had the plant had even the most minimal fire marshal or OSHA inspections those doors would not have been chained. A Union would have done more than complain to supervisors about the locked doors. It would have demanded they be unlocked and protected those workers.

  •  Most workers would form a union (13+ / 0-)

    if they were given a free choice. Most would support union organizing at work, if they could, but workers are intimidated and fired for trying to organize a union. No one wants to be fired for going to a union meeting, or talking about a union at  work, or signing a union card. Employers hire corporate lawyers who specialize in union-busting, like the consultant on Clinton's campaign staff.

    Progressives need to get smart and educated about the risks workers take. Progressives should recognize that union members are our natural brothers and sisters.  Go learn about our brothers and sisters!

    Teamsters meet with bloggers at YKOS
    http://www.youtube.com/...

    United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners - 520,000
    http://www.carpenters.org/...

    USW - United Steel Workers - 850,000 members http://www.uswa.org/... index.php

The Blue Green Alliance -United Steelworkers with The Sierra Club http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/

    UMWA - United Mine Workers of America - 86,000 members http://www.umwa.org/...

    My father used to say to me, "Somebody reaches out and hits you, you make sure they come back without their hand." - John Edwards

    by mrobinson on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:27:39 AM PDT

  •  I really doubt that individualism is the issue (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, Leslie H, StageStop

    The labor union is an underappreciated and easily misunderstood institution.  It's underappreciated first because American culture depreciates all institutions as "bureaucracies" that stifle the natural goodness and spontaneous vitality of both "the individual" and that collected mass of individuals we call "the people."  But of all of our institutions, none (with the exception of the armed forces) goes against the grain of our radical individualism like the union -- not just in its practice, but in its beliefs.

    How do you reconcile this alleged radical individualism with so many millions of Americans happily submitting to the conformism of their churches?

    Sorry, but I suspect the unreconstructed idolatry of capitalism has a lot more to do with unions being underappreciated in this country.

    Damn George Bush! Damn everyone that won't damn George Bush! Damn every one that won't put lights in his window and sit up all night damning George Bush!

    by brainwave on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:27:41 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, Leslie H, john07801, StageStop

    We have to organize. Unionization worked before. It's working still in Western Europe, where unions for white collar workers as well as industrial workers help preserve a decent standard of living.
       We can make it work again.

    I could have been a soldier... I had got part of it learned; I knew more about retreating than the man that invented retreating. --Mark Twain

    by NogodsnomastersMary on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:27:48 AM PDT

  •  strong unions lift wages & benefits for everyone (7+ / 0-)

    union & non union jobs alike. it is one of the keys to an expanding & more prosperous middle class.

    Sometimes selfishness even gets to be a cause, an organized force, even a government. Then it's called Fascism. - Born Yesterday

    by rasbobbo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:27:59 AM PDT

  •  Benefits for Employers (9+ / 0-)

    We speak far too little about the benefits for employers. They are numerous: a stable workforce, morale, a sense of fairness and teamwork, a standardized way to institute new training and reform, shared goals, fewer lawsuits and often a healthier workforce with better overall attendance.

    Too many business owners are in it for the short term, looking to make a quick buck and move on rather than to build business, community and society. To do the latter, unions are great partners.

    •  plus (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rebecca, Leslie H, StageStop

      who benefits most from the infrastructure that our taxes pay for?

      certainly those who are most affluent:
      e.g. whoever can afford a plane benefits most from the airport.

      there is a dangerous inequality in the distribution of wealth.

      Who will be left to buy all their "crap", if this keeps going on?

      Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

      by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:46:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Labor: Thanks for the Weekend (10+ / 0-)

    There might not be such a thing as a weekend if it weren't for labor.  Thanks

    Californian? Become a Permanent Absentee Voter - It's Easy and It's Your Right

    by PeteB2 on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:29:46 AM PDT

  •  My Kingdom for a Union! (8+ / 0-)

    In Texas, graduate students at public universities cannot strike (as we are employees of the state, I believe this falls under Taylor laws?). There are few unions. A&M has a good one, but UT does not. We have almost no bargaining power. It really sucks. There is some connection to the Texas State Teacher's Union, but not really.

    Being un-unionized and routinely crapped on by the Legislature has really made me re-think my opinion of Taylor laws. On one hand, I can understand why it could be a huge problem if state employees strike. But now, it's pretty clear that if you keep them happy, they won't strike.

    And in the meantime, those of us who are really desperate and really need some sort of leverage or bargaining power are essentially screwed.

    •  I realize this is a late response (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kath25

      (I've been traveling all day), but in some states, public employees CAN strike, so it varies from state to state. Here in Oregon, faculty (like myself) and graduate students can unionize and go on strike. The faculty at 4 out of the 7 state universities and most of the public community colleges are now unionized, as are the graduate TAs at OU and OSU. Higher ed is one sector where union membership is increasing. Other public employees (office workers, highway department, etc) are in SEIU and can also strike. Critical workers like nurses can strike as long as a certain number stay on the job to provide minimum services. Over in Idaho, however, it's "right to work," which strongly depresses the rate of unionization. Many people in Idaho seek jobs in Washington and Oregon with their higher minimum wages, stronger unions, and better overall working conditions. Good luck to you, kath25.

      "Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule." -- Mr. Jaggers in Great Expectations

      by StageStop on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 08:39:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  pr for unions (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leslie H, VirginiaBlue, StageStop

    I'm with elfling that the best PR for unions would be to educate people about worlds without unions, like China. The work done by unions is largely taken for granted in the US.

    Unions supports workers rights, which not only helps people live better lives, but I think in a larger sense creates a better democracy.

    •  The Value of Unions... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bluesteel, eve, Leslie H, StageStop

      ... is extremely difficult to communicate, because their successes are accumulated over the long term, and which disappear into the "taken for granted" almost immediately.

      Job breaks; arbitrary firing (or firing for reasons distinct from performance); health care; regular hours; wage protection.  

      If unions disappeared tommorrow, it would be 5 years before any of these things started disappearing -- with the major example to the contrary being the enormous weakening of health care for workers in the modern era of weak unions.

      That's the problem: these are not like a wage, which shows up every week to remind one how important their job is.  

      Thus, the value of a union, in the eyes of a worker, only exists when it is fighting for a Big Goal, which the workers want.  

      Unions should adopt a new Big Goal, a political one as well as one for the worker: national single-payer health care.  The United States would work better with it.

  •  Unions and freedom (4+ / 0-)

    Before the advent of Unions the American worker was a virtual slave.I am now going to try to post what I was not allowed to post on the Huffington post. If we wait two or three decades for the Unions to rebuild their strength we will have waited too long. We must fight now with Nationwide strikes,coordinated strike that hurt corporate America in the pocket book, or we will have to fight with force to regain our rights and freedoms.Many will suffer with strikes but not as many that will suffer from an armed conflict.

  •  Unions help non-union workers too. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Rebecca, MissLaura, eve, Leslie H, sable, StageStop

    There would be a larger discrepancy between union and non-union pay scales if not for the threat of unionization.  If there were no unions, all the power would be on the side of management.

  •  What does Whole Foods' CEO say about unions? (5+ / 0-)

    Wal-Mart has single handedly driven down retail prices across America. They have improved the standard of living for millions and millions of American people. Also Wal-Mart is crushing the parasitical unions across America. I love Wal-Mart!

    ( http://gristmill.grist.org/... )

    Just in case somebody didn't know. This was a part of that series of posts he did as "Rahodeb" which got so much attention earlier.

    •  I agree that sounds like a wackey - (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Leslie H, phonegery, StageStop

      pun intended - comment but talk to Whole Foods employees and they are generally pretty upbeat about their jobs.

      They get higher pay, health benefits and I think profit sharing plus maybe stock options...someone needs to correct me if I'm wrong.

      John Mackey's a libertarian, but he clearly has a moral center, evidenced by his work on humane animal husbandry standards.

      Unions are needed because so many business leaders in this country, unlike John Mackey, are ruthless and fail in their social responsibities. They are obsessed with the quarterly performance that Wall Street imposes, and are so devoid of the fair-minded spirit that John Mackey has brought to the market (for clean food, workers, clean environment, family farmers, humane treatment of animals) that working people need powerful representation so they're not run roughshod over by greedy short sighted entrepreneurs.

      Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

      by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:24:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If Unions didn't exist... (6+ / 0-)

        Mackey wouldn't be paying and benefiting his workers like he does. He's doing it to keep his stores from being unionized. He's still a greedy bastard, just under the appearance of being a "cool boss."

        The fact that lots of people have "cool bosses" doesn't change the fact that unions change the power dynamics of employment in favor of workers. After all, a "cool boss" still has the power to take all those goodies away, outsource your job, cut your benefits. Without a union, you have no recourse - none - when "cool boss" decides he needs a helipad for his yacht, and thus becomes "uncool asshole boss."

        Want a raise? Unionize.

        by mftalbot on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:42:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that unions are necessary. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          StageStop

          Re: greed:
          I know a Wall Street CEO who milked his company for almost $40 million last year. John Mackey is milking his company for $1 per year.
          Greed? I don't think so.

          The tremendous success of Whole Foods Market has provided me with far more money than I ever dreamed I'd have and far more than is necessary for either my financial security or personal happiness.... I am now 53 years old and I have reached a place in my life where I no longer want to work for money, but simply for the joy of the work itself and to better answer the call to service that I feel so clearly in my own heart. Beginning on January 1, 2007, my salary will be reduced to $1, and I will no longer take any other cash compensation.... The intention of the board of directors is for Whole Foods Market to donate all of the future stock options I would be eligible to receive to our two company foundations.

          John Mackey 1/2007:
          http://www.fastcompany.com/...

          Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

          by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:44:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  When unions really make an effort in Montana, (0+ / 0-)

    not just cherry pick in our population centers, I'll think about it.  But with less than a million people in the state, I guess the cost/benefit analysis for recruitment costs is pretty much in the "not worth it" category.

    But thanks for some of your effort.

    "Go well through life"-Me (As far as I know)

    by MTmofo on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:47:57 AM PDT

  •   From "The Real State of the Union"1/30/06 (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, john07801, StageStop

    Wes Clark said this about labor unions:

    We must chart a new path for labor in America, and probably for the union movement itself.

    While workers still need help in redressing grievances against management, perhaps the old dividing lines make less sense in an age of high technology, social and geographic mobility, and global competition.

    Is it possible that unions could become the "development agencies" for workers, protecting their rights, but also promoting their training, education and career development throughout a lifetime of many different skills and jobs? And if they don't who will.

    For we know that in today's economy learning is a lifetime process and every American in the workplace must take increasing responsibility for his or her own development of skills, pursuit of opportunities, and creation of financial security for the family.

    And to address these and many other issues, our government will need more resources, for the great discovery of twentieth century America was not that we should get "government off our backs" but that government's could be a partner in the economy -in infrastructure, in regulation, in research and development, in education, and in health — laying the foundation for the achievements of private industry. In particular, we need resources to empower our people, with new programs comparable to the landmark contributions of the Homestead Act, the GI Bill, and the 30 year Mortgage in order to give every child in America a head start in education, business, home ownership, investment, and economic opportunity.

    But we must raise resources in a way that protects the most needy and working families, and that still provides opportunities for the creation of the wealth that is the hallmarks of the American dream.

    America's great strengths are our economy and the spirit of our people. And if we take these major, fundamental measures, we'll be well positioned to cope with the economic challenges of China's rapid development.

    and earlier in the speech Clark said:

    And here at home, to speak candidly, that beacon of hope is flickering also.

    Again we ask why.

    Because we're losing our manufacturing base in America, and failing to face the realities of a global labor market, international trade and capital flows which are robbing millions of Americans of income security and have mired us ever deeper in debt.

    Because, while, statistically, the unemployment rate may be a little below 5% now, according to the way the Administration measures, these figures mask millions of people in the ranks of the long term unemployed, or trapped in low wage jobs, or underemployed in jobs which fail to use their skills.

    Because even highly skilled jobs in the so-called knowledge industry are moving abroad, with big firms like Microsoft and GE as well as thousands of highly competent foreign-born, US educated entrepreneurs and business leaders seeking new talent, lower-cost labor and less competitive, friendlier business environments.

    Because at home more than 45 million Americans lack access to health insurance, a profound systemic failure and imposes a staggering human cost on those least able to bear it and drives businesses offshore.

    Because both our infrastructure and our system of public education lack essential modernization and reform, caught in a squeeze between rising costs for salaries, supplies, construction and repair, and rising federal deficits.

    Because despite over thirty years of warning, this nation still has no policy to lead us to energy independence and away from the volatile and conflict-ridden regions where, today, the "geostrategic risk premium" is adding billions of dollars to the costs imposed on the American people.

    Because the legal protections for the environment and natural resources on which so much of our economic welfare depends have been steadily undercut by new laws and policies, even as the Administration has tightened restrictions on the scientists and analysts who could tell us of the dangers ahead.

    All this is common knowledge.

    Wes Clark, an enlightened choice for 2008

    by eve on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 10:48:44 AM PDT

  •  Past (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paver

    I have nothing for or against unions.  I have worked in both.  But it is clear that unions are an entity from the past.  The union membership makes up around 12% of the workforce.  The numbers have been continually reducing year over year.  Part of the reason for the decline is good.  When companies take care of their workers, whether it is wages, health care, etc., there is no need for a union.  Toyota is a perfect exampe of this.  The UAW has tried for years both in the U.S. and Canada to get various plants unionized, it has failed every time.  There are always exceptions to every rule but as I said when companies take care of their workers there is no need for a union.  

    •  You're in management, aren't you? (5+ / 0-)
      •  Lucky Guess (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimpy, Paver

        Yes I am.  Does that automatically disqualify me from making observations and see what works and does not work?  If I said no I was in a union would that make my comments have more or less credibility?  I do not believe so.  That is what management and experience is all about.  If employees are having to turn to a union then management is not doing the appropriate things to take care of their people.  That is the only thing I am talking about.  If the workforce has to turn to a union that means there are many other areas of the company that are not doing well.  Frankly I do not know of many companies that have longevity that treat their workers like crap.  It is always a win win situation.  

        •  It was not a guess (12+ / 0-)

          It is not the consciousness of men that determines their existence, but their social existence that determines their consciousness, as a wise man once said.

          Your line of argument is indistinguishable from that of a "good" slavemaster. It's the paternalistic idea that you can treat "your people" well and that they should trust you, and not organize to speak for themselves and defend their interests.

          It's also the kind of argument that managers use all the time, both because it's drummed into their heads by management culture, and because their direct experience in dealing with workers on the shop floor leads them to it. The workers' interest is to lead a decent life, to go to work and not kill themselves in the process. Your job in management is to squeeze as much out of them as possible, and the more productive (from the company's point of view) your people are, the better your own chances of rising in the management ranks. Your interests and the interests of the workers are fundamentally antagonistic. It is of course in your own interest to believe otherwise, and to try to get workers to think that their interests and those of the company ought to be in harmony.

          Unfortunately, enough workers do believe you in some respects, or at least are cowed enough not to believe otherwise, much less actually do something about it. This is why US workers have fewer vacation hours than in any other rich country, why we do not have national health insurance, and why so many workers get killed in on-the-job accidents in this country. Meanwhile unions are weaker here than anywhere else. None of this is an accident.

    •  150 years ago . . . (6+ / 0-)

      There are always exceptions to every rule but as I said when companies take care of their workers there is no need for a union.  

      Similarly, if you have good slavemasters who take good care of their slaves, there is no need for freedom. Perhaps we should just restore slavery and then evaluate slaveholders on a case-by-case basis. The bad ones would of course have their slaves taken away. But  the good ones, you know, the ones who take care of their slaves, they get to keep 'em. Slaves who complain are just the rotten apples who just don't want to work. I mean, why would you distrust a good master?

    •  Toyota Honda (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StageStop

      I'm sick of people praising toyota and honda - how wonderful they treat their workers.  For Christ's sake people if it weren't for the unions do you actually think these companies would treat their people as well as they do?  Yeah let's slam the unions into extinction and go back to the to those wonderful early days of the industrial revolution - before the time of the unions.

      "If fighting for a more equal and equitable distribution of the wealth of this country is socialistic, I stand guilty of being a socialist." Walter Reuther

      by fugwb on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:48:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

        The Japanese are a more collective society than you would think. They actually brought over a business model that was concerned about the whole employee, as a vital part of the whole business.

        "elections more resemble fencing operations, than the selection of leadership."

        by RoninArms on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 07:02:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Here's one example of that (0+ / 0-)

        The Japanese-based automakers peg the wages of their North American workers to UAW contracts.  So the UAW effectively negotiates indirectly for the workers of companies like Toyota and Honda.

        Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

        by Linnaeus on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 08:15:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  well (0+ / 0-)

      An old saying comes to mind:

      "Never take a fence down, unless you know why it was put up."

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:56:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sigh....it's up to the workforce and (0+ / 0-)

    not to 'us.'  They must fight for themselves and those who accept leadership positions in labor must show leadership...in educating and organizing the current workforce.  Stuck in the past, not discontented with the present, most union leadership shows little initiative or creativity...and membership declines in private meployment, year after year (now around 7.5%?)

    Just as 'we' cannot bring Democracy to the Iraqis, we cannot bring unionization to America's workforce.

    Tell me how you spend your time and how you spend your money -- I'll tell you what your values are.

    by oldpro on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:08:20 AM PDT

    •  Employers actively discourage union formation (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StageStop, Till Eulenspiegel

      and move work around to different plants if possible to drop union representation. For instance, a northeast Ohio medical equipment manufacturer moved some manufacturing from it's unionized Pennsylvania plant to the non-union Ohio facility and moved the rest to Mexico.

      I want to hear somebody asking them why They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are But theyre never the ones to fight or to die - J. Brown

      by OHdog on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:09:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Once upon a time (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, eve, Leslie H, OHdog, StageStop, mon

    I thought unions had outlived their usefulness.  Admittedly I had been raised by a corporate, anti-union type but I also saw things like my wife’s union winning another annual vacation day when there were no holidays in need.  So, they designated it for one’s birthday.  Plus, we had healthcare that was almost without out-of-pocket cost.  (Yes, I’m embarrassed to admit that thought today!)

    But the divergence of wealth in this country, the healthcare crisis and the outsourcing of jobs has renewed within me the need for the power that unions provide to protect the average citizen.  Even the so-called "middle class" is enslaved by the power and options of typical employers.

    If business owners were still content to be millionaires, perhaps things wouldn’t be so bad.  But it takes a thousand times as much profit out of a company to provide the new "billionaire with a ‘b’" moniker.  Hell, you can’t even get on the Forbes’ Richest List without 9 zeroes!  This wealth has a much better application than providing for someone’s descendants into perpetuity.

    If the goal is to create a permanent, privileged class, we do so with permanent damage to our country's birthright of equality and only trouble can ensue.  (Marie Antoinette comes to mind...)

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:11:38 AM PDT

  •  Remember Crytal lee Jordan? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eve, Leslie H, mon

     Maybe you remember her story, made famous by the movie Norma Rae with Sally Field.

  •  /me raises his fist in labor solidarity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Leslie H

    Republicans are afflicted by CHIDS-Chronic Humor and Irony Deficit Syndrome, pronounced 'kids' with a parental sigh.

    by stumpy on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:19:34 AM PDT

  •  I Am an Exempt Worker... (7+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, sberel, eve, Leslie H, OHdog, sable, StageStop

    ...who works with the bargaining unit.

    Another point that needs to be made is that in most companies that have union employees also give the exempt employees the same benefits.

    Every time the union wins better health care, better pension benefits, the rest of us benefit as well.

    I believe that one of the reasons that everybody's medical care and pension benefits have waned is a direct result of the weakening of the union positionin the country.

    I know it has happened where I work.

    Support the Netroots Candidates! A VETO-PROOF majority in 2008!!!

    by InquisitiveRaven on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:23:20 AM PDT

  •  Data (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, Leslie H, OHdog, StageStop

    You may find some of the data I put together in this essay relevant:

    Does Unionization Matter?

    I compare the increase in wages/earnings over time with the degree of unionization. I also compare the degree of unionization in other countries with the degree of wealth inequality.

    Needless to say the results are what you would expect. Higher union participation leads to better conditions for most of the population.

  •  I live in southeastern NC, which is a (7+ / 0-)

    right-to-work state.  In the past couple of weeks, I have seen on our local channels, a hate ad against unions.  There are two really tough looking guys and they are in a third person's house, shoving a union sign-up card in his face and demanding he sign.  The guy's wife is in the background, looking horrified.  The guy they are trying to sign up looks Hispanic, although his wife does not.  It is scare tactics, pure and simple.  There are numerous Hispanics in my county, due to plenty of farm work and also because it's a resort area.  I have not heard of any union organizing going on, but this might be a pre-emptive strike.  (Where have we heard that word before).
    Now, my Dad was a union man for 65 years and I met many of his union leaders and colleagues over the years and none of them scared me, as a child or adult.

    The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

    by oibme on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:50:58 AM PDT

    •  Center for Union Facts (6+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      chimpy, Leslie H, oibme, OHdog, StageStop, mon

      The ads are from the Center for Union Facts, a project run by Rick Berman, the notorious tobacco and restaurant industry lobbyist who was the model for the sociopathic antihero of the movie Thank You For Smoking.

      Berman's outfit runs these ads all over the country, though in southeastern North Carolina they may be trying to undermine the gritty campaign for Justice at Smithfield in Tar Heel. Many of the union leaders there are Latino, and have faced the threat of deportation during the campaign. The boss holds racially segregated "captive audience" meetings where they tell the Latino workers that "when the union gets in" it will really be run by the Blacks who will call ICE to deport them all; then they tell the Black workers that the union will be run by Latinos who will bring in "illegal immigrants" to steal their jobs.

      •  Thank you for your response. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chimpy, Leslie H, OHdog, StageStop

        Yes, my viewing area would cover Smithfield, so I think you are correct.  I don't know much about what goes on in the Smithfield area. And yes, too, the ads are run by UFC.  They use the initials only.  We have many, many migrant workers where I am and so thought the ads were aimed at them.

        The ignorance of one voter in a democracy impairs the security of all - JFK- 5/18/63-Vanderbilt Univ.

        by oibme on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:11:42 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  They probably are (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Leslie H, oibme, OHdog, StageStop

          The ads probably are aimed at Latinos, including workers who are of dubious legal status and most vulnerable to intimidation campaigns like this. Polling research -- and plenty of anecdotal experience -- shows that Latinos are much more likely than whites to join and support unions. Only Blacks are more likely.

  •  "anti-Union" team is in place (6+ / 0-)
    I work for a moderately large company, they have manufacturing all over the country.  Some of the sites are unionized, some are not.  As you can imagine, they prefer the non-union model.

    I happened to see a memo the other day that actually surprised me.  As one item on a long list of ongoing projects, they talked about the Union Avoidance team that goes around telling each site how to keep unions out.  Is that legal?  I bet it is, but it shouldn't be unless unions have equal opportunity to go around telling people how to get the unions IN.

    How is the fight for "card check" going?  IIRC, there was legislation that attempted to level the playing field a bit and make it harder for businesses to stonewall union organizing.

    www.dailykos.com is America's Blog of Record

    by WI Deadhead on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:56:12 AM PDT

    •  "Can they do that?!" (5+ / 0-)

      Is that legal?

      There's a catchphrase among union organizers, "Can they do that?", which is the experienced organizer's in-joke about newbie organizers who are shocked by what bosses are allowed to get away with in this country. See an earlier post of mine about the Center for Union Facts and Smithfield for an example -- and yes, all of this is legal.

      "Union avoidance" is the preferred euphemism for union-busters these days, and it is used in their marketing literature. They hock their services openly, brazenly and shamelessly. There is a whole cottage industry devoted to just this sort of shit. We're not just talking law firms like Jackson Lewis that are management-side attorneys, representing management in discrimination and workers' comp cases and also doing union-busting. We're talking about entire firms that are devoted solely to busting unions. A few examples:

      Labor Relations Institute, The Burke Group, Industrial Relations Consultants, Inc.

      •  Union busters (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, pghred, StageStop

        are the lowest form of life there is.

        Build bridges not fences.

        by sable on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 01:45:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My mom has a friend whose son does this for a (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, chimpy, StageStop

        living. They live in Pensacola (big surprise) and they're (Ugh!) Republicans -  always railing about immigrants and welfare cheats, etc. Of course, they don't have a lot of money, so one wonders what it is that causes folks to want to be Republicans when they just keep getting screwed by them. But I digress.
        Anyway, my mom told me that "Greg" (name changed) goes around the country when there are strikes as "security" for the companies. Security, right. Like busting a few heads and making a nuisance so the Union will get blamed.
        And when you think about the cost that companies will go to to not have to spend more money. Sigh.

        "Keep raisin' hell!" - Molly Ivins---------- "The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off!" - Gloria Steinem

        by MA Liberal on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:56:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Real names would be good (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WI Deadhead, chimpy, sable

          If you know the real name of this goon, I'd seriously encourage you to publish it. The "consultants" and goons are always mysterious figures when they arrive to bust unions, often using only first names or even pseudonyms. It's good to know as much about them as possible, and building dossiers helps.

      •  thought I'd move this here . . . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WI Deadhead, StageStop, mon

        I posted this further down the thread, but it seems more appropriate to put it here . . .

        One thing that most people don't know -- for most unfair labor practices, the only penalty provided by law is, literally, to be told not to do that again.

        Seriously.

        The only real penalty provided by law is the award of back wages.  But for most forms of unfair labor practices, there ARE no lost wages, and hence no real penalty.  That is why so many union-busters simply advise their clients to go ahead and break the law.  There isn't any penalty anyway.

        I once filed a total of 37 separate unfair labor practice charges against an employer, took all of them to the NLRB, won on all of them ----- and the owners did the very same things again a few months later.  They paid no penalty at all whatsoever.

        Very very rarely, in the most extreme of cases, the Feds will agree to something called a 10(j) injunction.  That means that if the employer commits any further unfair labor practices, they will be held in contempt.

        In 25 years, I've seen the Feds seek a 10(j) injunction a total of . . . . once.

        So one priority for the grand new age when Clinton wins coughcough is to actually put some teeth into labor law.

        I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, though.

        Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

        by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:54:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  At my work (4+ / 0-)

      HR mistakenly sent an email meant for management and supervisors only to the entire site. They tried to retrieve it but I had already opened and read it. It was a required training appointment. The training was a "How to" on recognizing and dealing with Union activity. I work in the pharmaceutical industry. Very interesting.

  •  Employee Free Choice Act!! (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chimpy, Leslie H, 14justice, OHdog, sable, StageStop

    We were so close - sort of.

    The EFCA should be the number one domestic priority when Dem president takes over in 2009.  If we pass that quickly and appoint a labor friendly cabinet and NLRB Unions will be able to organize and build strength under the cover a strong and friendly Federal Government....perhaps the friendliest in decades....

    Annui Coeptis: Novus Ordo Seclorum

    by CapitolDragoon on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 11:56:26 AM PDT

    •  That's okay (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StageStop

      We, the Democrats, are going to make gains in 2008 and there is a good chance we will control the executive branch as well. If that is the case it will go through in 2008.

    •  baloney (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      StageStop

      It wasn't very long ago that unions not only did NOT need a friendly government to successfully organize, but when they successfully organized even when unions themsleves were ILLEGAL.

      Why can't they do that now?

      1.  Unions in the US are nothing but employment agencies for the bosses, and want nothing other than to get top price for the product they are selling (and that product is YOU).
      1.  Most union organizers today couldn't actually organize their way out of a wet paper bag -- all they do is file paperwork with various agencies and bureaucracies.
      1.  Unions in the US are whipsawed by cheaper labor from overseas -- a situation that unions have consistently failed to do anything about (except complain).  (HINT:  If you organize workers overseas so they are getting the same wages for the same job that YOU are, there's no longer any incentive to move the plant there.)
      1.  Unions long ago forgot what the word "solidarity" means, which is why they mouth the same "protect American jobs" crapola that they've been mouthing for years.  Capital is international.  Labor must be too.
      1.  Unions long ago lost any and all connection with the rank and file -- the only real source of strength that they have.  Unions are undemocratic, unresponsive, and quite happy to sell their workers down the river to make nice-nice with the owners.  Remember P-9?

      We don't need a labor-friendly federal government.  We need a labor movement that IS actually a labor movement, and we haven't had one since the 30's.  We can't depend on the Feds, we can't depend on the corporados.  We can only depend on the people inside the workplace.  THEY are the only ones who can make a labor movement successful.

      Alas, the "labor movement" forgot about them long ago.

      Now we are paying the price.

      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

      by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:13:44 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Are you some sort of Trot? (0+ / 0-)
        •  Nope. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Mike Erwin

          IWW.

          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

          by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:37:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Anarcho? (0+ / 0-)

            Anarchists are even worse. Shit, at least the Trots were on the right side at Kronstadt.

            Also, the IWW ceased to exist over 80 years ago. The lot of you playing dress up and pretending to be part of the IWW do a grave disservice to the legacy of real struggle led by the real Wobblies.

            Go join a real fucking union -- if you're not a boss, that is.

            •  yeah . . . . . (0+ / 0-)

              That's pretty funny.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

              by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:59:33 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  um, no (0+ / 0-)

              Not an anarchist either.

              Syndicalist.

              Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

              by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:05:10 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Whatever (0+ / 0-)

                If you're a "syndicalist" maybe you should actually join a union? Ever think about that?

                •  (sigh) (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Mike Erwin, StageStop

                  You assume an awful lot, sir, for someone who has never laid eyes on me . . . .

                  By the way, since less than 15% of the US workforce is unionized (the lowest percentage of any industrialized nation), I'd be quite willing to bet that well over half of the people here are not union members.  Indeed, I'd be pretty comfortable betting that less than a third are.

                  But to get back to the matter at hand, I'm a little curious as to why I should think that the third and fourth Clinton Administrations would be any better for labor or working people than the first two were -- you know, the ones that gave us NAFTA and "ended welfare as we know it" . . . . ?

                  Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                  by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:20:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I don't "assume" (0+ / 0-)

                    I know a left-sectarian asshat when I see one -- or read what one types.

                    I do give you credit for implicitly conceding the fact that the IWW no longer exists, however.

                    •  whatever (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mike Erwin

                      I have no desire whatever to engage in a pissing match with you.  We have better things to do.

                      All I care about is  --------->  when it hits the fan, which side of the picket line will you be on.  

                      If you're on the same side as me, then you're my ally and I welcome your help.

                      I pick fights with my enemies, not with my allies.

                      Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                      by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:50:31 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Allies (0+ / 0-)

                        If I'm slapping you upside the head right now, it's because I have higher standards that I expect of self-declared radicals. The liberals are wrong about many things, but I don't expect them to be perfect. If you're a radical, you damn sure better be involved in real movements and not flinging ill-informed ideological shit from the outside, and play-acting like you and your six friends are the "real" radicals.

                        And I agree in principle about the picketline principle that you elucidate here -- it's just that I'm not so sure about you. You're sitting here mouthing off about how labor law reform doesn't matter, and that unions are just cartels to sell "YOU" to the boss (the kind of talk that I've seen and heard in boss propaganda before). This makes me question whether you've actually organized workers before.

                        It pays to know what you're talking about before mouthing off.

                        •  um, yeah (2+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          Mike Erwin, StageStop

                          For about 25 years.  Filed more ULP's than I can remember.  Even won a few NLRB elections.

                          I've also done quite a bit of environmental/worker organizing (Sierra Club, Florida Public Interest Group, helped set up the Lehigh Valley Coalition for a Safe Environment to end the practice of using toxic waste as fuel for local cement kilns -- my role was to liaison with the unions involved).  Did a short-term stint as an observer in Nicaragua during the Contra War with Witness for Peace, and did some organizing with the Central America Peace Campaign in Seattle. Helped set up a Pennsylvania chapter of the Guatemala Labor Education Project's boycott of Van Heusen shirts in solidarity with Guatemalan organizers.

                          When it comes to activism and organizing, I'm very happy to put my record up against anyone's, anywhere, any time.

                          And if you think what I've said is "boss propaganda" . . . well . . .  it ain't.  It's what I've been telling people in every union I've been involved with for the past 25 years.  If the union is not based on the rank-and-file, then it's not a union at all -- it's just an employement agency. Our power doesn't lie in campaign contributions or 'friendly governments' -- it lies in people in the workplace.  We run it.  The boss doesn't.

                          And if the union movement continues with its "Save American Jobs" baloney and refuses to organize workers overseas, then the owners will continue to whipsaw us by shipping all our jobs overseas and beating the snot out of us.  We need to organize ALL the workers, everywhere, so that if a guy in the US is getting $15 an hour to do a particular job, then a guy in China who is doing the same job had damn well better be getting the same $15 an hour.

                          I see nothing anywhere in any of that to warm the cockles of any boss's heart.

                          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                          by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:24:41 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

                        •  forgot to mention (0+ / 0-)

                          Did some work for Teamsters For A Democratic Union.

                          If you want to know why the boss's anti-union propaganda about "corrupt union bosses who sell out their workers while growing fat off of them" is so effective, just ask TDU.  They've seen it all firsthand.

                          Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

                          by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:30:22 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

  •  My Tag Line Speaks for itself (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fugwb, sable, StageStop

    Want a raise? Unionize.

    by mftalbot on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 12:35:31 PM PDT

  •  The only GOP member to vote for the Employee Free (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StageStop

    Choice Act is Spector. All the rest voted nay. The locals in states like Maine need to work hard to get folks like Collins out of Senate if they want the unions to succeed.

  •  Unions are more often than not (0+ / 0-)

    on the wrong side of badly needed environmental reform efforts. From their leadership lying to the rank and file about losing their jobs to the rank and file ruining sensitive areas with their SUVs and bass boats, I see little virtue in this group as a whole.

    Let's not sugarcoat this - Democratic candidates may need their votes but these people are part of the problem.

    I'd love for the entire UAW to choke on my Toyota Prius emissions but it won't happen because there ain't enough to go around.  

    •  Actually (0+ / 0-)

      The UAW has long advocated the manufacture of smaller, fuel-efficient cars.  They've done so since at least the end of World War II, when the automakers wanted to make almost nothing but larger cars with larger engines.

      This kind of response is unfortunate because it lays disproportionate blame on union workers when workers in non-union places commit the very same behaviors this poster criticizes as much or more so.

      My father?  Lifelong UAW member.  Never owned an SUV, and in fact routinely criticizes them.  The largest vehicle he's ever owned was a V-6 powered minivan.  Once.

      There's a subtle classism in this response too, which illustrates that part of the problem is environmental organizations' inability to speak to the genuine concerns of working people in or out of unions.  References to "bass boats" and stuff like this:

      I'd love for the entire UAW to choke on my Toyota Prius emissions but it won't happen because there ain't enough to go around.  

      is exactly the attitude that environmental organizations and activists have to guard against.  When you're a worker, and your company makes a threat to cut jobs, a threat you know it can carry out if it wants to, you're going to be worried about your job, and finger-wagging from someone who may not know a thing about your life or your community is not going to help.

      The answer is to work with labor, not against.  And that means the middle-class, white-collar types who typically run environmental organizations are going to have dirty their hands and talk to working folks.

      Procrastination: Hard work often pays off after time, but laziness always pays off now.

      by Linnaeus on Tue Sep 04, 2007 at 10:24:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Unions help all workers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    14justice

    In 2003, the Econompic Policy Institute reported that unions help all workers.  This is called the union wage premium  Written by Jared Bernstein and Lawrence Marshall their findings expanded on earlier research done in the 1960's as well as the 1980's. Their report confirmed the earlier research regarding the positive impact  union density had on wages.  

    One of their findings measured the effect that unionization had on wages.  The following table is from their report.  

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    The EPI's report also included that in industries where union density is strong non-union employees benefit as well.  They called this the "union threat" and explained the dynamic behind it.  

    in industries and occupations where a strong core of workplaces are unionized, nonunion employers will frequently meet union standards or, at least, improve their compensation and labor practices beyond what they would have provided if there were no union presence. This dynamic is sometimes called the "union threat effect," the degree to which nonunion workers get paid more because their employers are trying to forestall unionization.

    The report also made one other striking conclusion on how people benefit from a stong union movement.  

    Unions also set pay standards and practices that raise the wages of nonunionized workers in occupations and industries where there is a strong union presence. Collective bargaining fuels innovations in wages, benefits, and work practices that affect both unionized and nonunionized workers.

    Unions are needed in today's economy.  Whether the sector is public or private, unions do play an important role in improving the lives of so many people.    

    Build bridges not fences.

    by sable on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 01:33:04 PM PDT

  •  sources? (0+ / 0-)

    You wouldn't accept a report confirming the health safety of cellphones from Verizon. You wouldn't accept climate change policy recommendations from an oil company. You sure won't accept a progress report on Iraq written by the White House...

    ...but you'll accept a report on the positive effects of unions written by the AFL-CIO?

    I've worked for two major corporations in my lifetime that were shut down because the unions demanded too much and the companies were forced into bankruptcy under the weight of the pension systems. How do those situations get calculated into the statistics?

  •  Look for the UNION LABEL (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StageStop

    Look for the union label
    when you are buying that coat, dress or blouse.
    Remember somewhere our union's sewing,
    our wages going to feed the kids, and run the house.
    We work hard, but who's complaining?
    Thanks to the I.L.G. we're paying our way!
    So always look for the union label,
    it says we're able to make it in the U.S.A.!

    this was the lullabye my union organizing gramma sang to me as a baby....

    that was back when labor was respected and work was rewarded...

    now we go after the quick buck and we dont care who gets hurt in the process.

    IMPEACH THE CHEERLEADER... SAVE THE WORLD! © ®

    by KnotIookin on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 02:09:30 PM PDT

  •  alas . . . (0+ / 0-)

    In a country where fewer than 15% of workers are unionized, where the company bosses and the union bosses both play golf at the same country club, where unions care more about "protecting American jobs" than they do about organizing workers overseas, where unions don't do anything but give money to the Democratic Party (which in turn does nothing for them) -- unions DON'T matter.

    Perhaps that is why "Labor Day" in the US is just an excuse to close down the office for a long weekend at the end of the summer, while the REAL Labor Day, May 1, the day of Haymarket, the day celebrated by the IWW and other REAL unions, goes completely unnoticed in the US.

    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

    by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 02:22:00 PM PDT

  •  Folks need to realize that Unions should not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fugwb, StageStop

    only NOT be destroyed, but should get bigger. The only way to ensure a brighter future here, and across the globe, is to fight for workers rights.
    And those who complain about the unions are usually the ones who don't get involved. It's like with the Dem party, and many voters, who don't vote, then they complain. They want the union cover, but won't fight for it.
    Wake up America! Let's globalize unions...now!

    "Keep raisin' hell!" - Molly Ivins---------- "The truth shall set you free, but first it will piss you off!" - Gloria Steinem

    by MA Liberal on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 03:58:33 PM PDT

  •  Bush Comments On Labor Unions (0+ / 0-)

    Happy Labor Day Everyone.

    headzup.tv - mobile satire for a mobile democracy

    by headzup on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 04:47:13 PM PDT

  •  union-busting and the law (0+ / 0-)

    One thing that most people don't know -- for most unfair labor practices, the only penalty provided by law is, literally, to be told not to do that again.

    Seriously.

    The only real penalty provided by law is the award of back wages.  But for most forms of unfair labor practices, there ARE no lost wages, and hence no real penalty.  That is why so many union-busters simply advise their clients to go ahead and break the law.  There isn't any penalty anyway.

    I once filed a total of 37 separate unfair labor practice charges against an employer, took all of them to the NLRB, won on all of them ----- and the owners did the very same things again a few months later.  They paid no penalty at all whatsoever.

    Very very rarely, in the most extreme of cases, the Feds will agree to something called a 10(j) injunction.  That means that if the employer commits any further unfair labor practices, they will be held in contempt.

    In 25 years, I've seen the Feds seek a 10(j) injunction a total of . . . . once.

    So one priority for the grand new age when Clinton wins coughcough is to actually put some teeth into labor law.

    I won't hold my breath waiting for that to happen, though.

    Editor, Red and Black Publishers http://www.RedandBlackPublishers.com

    by Lenny Flank on Mon Sep 03, 2007 at 05:00:43 PM PDT

  •  The Middle Class Prosperity (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sable, StageStop, junta0201

    I currently experience is a direct consequence of my Union affiliation.  I'm proud to be a public school teacher and a member of my Union.

  •  Wal-Mart employees get the shaft (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    junta0201

    Damn, I gotta print this out and paste it all over the place at work.

    Like they tell you in training, Unions bargain for your salary, so you could make less! Of course they omit the fact that you would only make less if your employer planed on paying you less and without a union no one can stop them.

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