Bad Times for Unions
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Wisconsin

The boards at Democratic Underground crackled on June 12.

It was just announced in Wisconsin that the unprecedented recall elections of Republicans will take place August 9.

The leftists dreamed.  Visions of a union-boss oligarchy danced in their heads. Posters misquoted Marx and Lenin. Others wanted nothing to do with waiting two months for an election: they were ready to take up arms and violently overthrow the Wisconsin government.

Verizon

By the time the Verizon strike—45,000 CWA and IBEW workers—began, the DU was subdued.  One posted predicted “This could be the spark that will change American history.”  But most complained about Verizon’s poor customer service and the decline of land-line phones.

The Marxist slogans were there for the Verizon strikers, but these posts seemed perfunctory. 

UAW

Having played a major role in destroying GM and Chrysler, the UAW turned its eyes toward foreign car manufacturers.

Results

In Wisconsin, millions of union dollars failed to win back the Wisconsin Senate. Governor Scott Walker’s overdue reforms of public employee union power move forward.  The leftist teacher’s union—WEAC—has announced layoffs totaling 40 percent of its staff

In New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and neighboring states, the CWA and IBEW announced they will return to work without a contract while negotiations continue. 

And in automotive, the UAW failed to work its way into both VW and Hyundai. 

Trend

Unions hoped that their support of Barack Obama would reverse the decades-old decline in union membership and influence. Those hopes seem dashed. Like ACORN, union bosses are learning that tightness with Obama cannot save a failing idea.

The lesson for unions is clear: focus on workers instead of politics, and help business grow. That’s the recipe for helping working people. 

There’s also a lesson for business: focus on future growth, not next quarter’s report. Make every decision about what’s best for customers, and pretty soon you’ll be doing right by everyone.

  • Rosemary

    The unions have existed primarily to line the pockets of the upper echelon, while big business has been operating on the principle that if you sell a lot of inferior merchandise you’ll still come out ahead.  Everyone seems to have forgotten what made America a great country. You useed to be rewarded for doing your job well, now there is a push to “equalize” everyone so that no one “feels badly.”  If you are not performing as well as someone else, you deserve to feel poorly and should not be rewarded. Unions were one of the primary perpetratings of this failing system of “equalization.”

  • The boards at Democratic Underground crackled…

    I was banned from Democratic Underground because I asked why I should support gay marriage.  Just that question branded me as a homophobe.  That’s OK.  Democratic Underground doesn’t set the standard for political action in the US.  We need a class war and the liberals at Democratic Underground don’t have what it takes.

    A few months ago, Richard Trumka seemed to be moving labor away from the Democrats and now we’re seeing more signs of the division.  The Democrats chose North Carolina for their convention next year and some unions don’t like it.  They won’t abandon the Democrats over their choice of convention sites but they’ll move a little farther away.

    I’m encouraged.

    America needs a labor party.  A party with the economic interests of working Americans as its sole and undivided focus.  No abortion.  No gay marriage.  No green anything.  Just wages and working conditions.  That party never will be the Republicans.  They’ve pretty much declared themselves to be stooges for the plutocracy, order takers for the likes of the Koch brothers.  The Democrats have had their chance and they squandered it.  They paid too much attention to the special interests on the fringe of American society.

    So where is Labor now?  Maybe they’re at or soon to reach a point where they realize they have only themselves to care for their interests.  It’s not a bad place to be.  Every successful journey must begin with knowing where  you are and where you want to be.

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