ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Reason 1,427 to cancel a subscription to the St Louis Post-Dispatch

See previous reasons to cancel a subscription: 1,426 and 1,425

The P-D's response to the announced breakup of the AFL-CIO? "Sure, this will be good for workers... But the negative political consequences of not having a political machine to back the Dems is of greater concern." My comments throughout in [brackets].

AFL-CIO: Sinking the ship

BACK IN 1935, the last time organized labor fought a civil war, a stronger union movement emerged from the struggle. Those planning to divide the AFL-CIO this week are hoping for the same result.

But the world has changed much in 70 years, and labor's current rebels may learn that history rarely repeats itself. With union membership shrunken to just 12.5 percent of the work force, it's in the unions' best interest not to shatter the AFL-CIO.

Shattered it will be this week. [Yoda??? Is that you???] The Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters quit the nation's premier labor organization on Monday. Two other unions - United Food and Commercial Workers and Unite Here, a group of textile and hotel workers - seem ready to bolt. Together, they represent about a third of the AFL-CIO's membership.

They're forming their own coalition, called Change to Win, to rival the old labor group.

The rebels claim that the AFL-CIO's leadership, under President John Sweeney, is stodgy and out of step. In that, they're right. The answer to labor's woes is to get busy organizing more workers into unions, say the rebels. To do that, they would pull money away from politics, running the risk that the balance of power in Washington and state legislatures will tilt even further against labor. [it might tilt against organized labor... although now that organized labor isn't the Sturmabteilung of the Democratic Party, perhaps not...]

That's a gamble worth taking. [Ok, so the P-D is for this move??] Labor's political clout is declining along with its membership. Unless the membership decline is reversed, organized labor will fade into irrelevance.[Oh, because they need more members in order to increase their political abilities vis-a-vis the DNC.]


Besides being gung-ho on organizing, [Andrew Stern] proposes merging 60 big unions into just 20 centered on specific industries. The idea is to increase labor's clout by facing a single employer with a single union, rather than five or six separate ones.[Sounds like this a good strategery.... incease bargaining power where it matters - at the negotiating table with "management" or, as Downer would say, with the kapitalist pigs who own the factors of production.]

Both are very good ideas, but busting up the AFL-CIO is a bad one.[The P-D agrees... but likes the status quo]

In politics, labor speaks most powerfully when it speaks with one voice. The AFL-CIO has been that voice. [Nevermind that the AFL-CIO has become ineffective in today's global economy... it's the singular political voice as expressed by Sweeney & the big dogs that's important. Nevermind all that boring labor-management negotiation stuff] It has pressed for real family values [as opposed to the family values of marriage, universal morality, etc, etc] including decent wages, a strong Social Security system, family leave and health care. [And don't ask us any specifics about these "real family values" because our ideas were just dusted off from FDR's playbook.] The union movement's united ability to direct money and volunteers toward the election of friendly politicians [aka Democrats] gives influence to ordinary Americans who otherwise would have little - especially compared to that of huge corporate contributors. [You know, because the Republicans certainly don't speak for ordinary Americans... just evil corporations.]
Mr. Stern and his allies know the right course for labor, but he shouldn't sink labor's [political] ship in an effort to turn it around [as a labor organization].

This is what passes for insight from the Post-Dispatch... Their primary concern is for the Democratic party and to hell with the original purpose of labor unions...

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler