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View Diary: Why Unions Are Different (28 comments)

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  •  Not going to reach you, am I? (5+ / 0-)

    I too grew up with the notion that Unions were corrupt, useless if not dangerous, and generally a bad thing.  Living in Chicagoland and not being a part of the in crowd will do that to you.  Some of the things you write are true.  We can discuss two track wage schedules all day long if you'd like.  We can talk about Union workers voting republican, not supporting their other Union brothers.  But I never nominated the UAW for sainthood, and no one else did either.

    But can you really not see what is going on here?  You are embracing a narrative that not only did great damage to Unions but also to the rest of working Americans.  The middle class has stagnated since we all decided Unions were icky.  Have you really not woken up to what we all forgot they did for us?  If teachers are well paid, then maybe that 17 year old won't aspire to move up to the bar section of the local Chili's. If the dock workers remain well paid, then maybe the promotion to fry cook at Applebee's won't be so appealing.  I'm all for Unionizing hospitality workers.  But if everyone knows Unions suck, what would be the point, and how could we possibly convince anyone it is a good idea.  It has taken some teachers in Wisconsin to remind us of what can be done and why we should work to ensure it happens.  

    Congressman Grayson is trying to change the narrative, and remind people that there is nothing wrong with expecting to have good jobs to support a family, to have medical coverage, to have a pension that ensures a comfortable retirement.  He is fighting the tyranny of low expectations.  If you want workers to keep more of the profit from their labor, in a capitalist society, is there really an alternative to Unions?  I had thought the last 40 years of history made the answer to that question a simple one.

    BTW, your notion that teachers and dock workers are the "most powerful" is telling.  You have entirely absorbed the fiction the elite have been selling for years.  What was that joke I heard?  12 cookies on the table.  3 people around the table, Boss man, Union guy, and day laborer.  Boss man takes 10 cookies leaving 2.  Boss man tells the day laborer, "Hey, that Union guy is trying to steal your cookie."  

    "'re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." Obi-Wan Kenobi

    by thepook on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:30:44 PM PST

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    •  Joke about cookies (1+ / 0-)
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      Here is another way to look at the cookies:

      Janitors, food service workers and teachers sit at a table and divide up the cookies.    

      The teachers take 10 cookies and tell the Janitors and Food Service workers that they need their own union.

      Teachers have power because they can actually shut down the school.  Janitors can't, and food service workers can't.  Thats why the Teachers union excludes janitors and food service workers.    That is why the teacher get more cookies.    Power.

      Port workers have the ability to bring international commerce to a halt in a given area.  That is POWER.   Its why port service workers are not in the same union as cab drivers.  Cab drivers have no power, even though the cargo they haul is more valuable.

      Religion gives men the strength to do what should not be done.

      by bobtmn on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 01:49:07 PM PST

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      •  United They Stand, Divided They Fall (3+ / 0-)
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        JayRaye, bobtmn, Neon Mama

        I think you have a good point.

        The teachers, janitors, and food service should belong to the same union or federation to respond to the successful assaults on the more specialized unions.

        Retail workers, dock workers, and truckers. Electricians and plumbers. Unions can stop their decline and increase their power by broadening their base through strategic cooperation or creating larger, strategic unions. As they are now, they're dying slowly but surely.

        •  Reaganism & making it illegal for unions to (2+ / 0-)
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          bobtmn, coldwynn

          support each other with "sympathy strikes".  

            When I was young --- other unions, and even non-union folk supported any workers on strike by refusing to cross picket lines.

          So bad guys made it illegal to band together in that way.    
          Divide & conquer is far right tactic for a long time.  

          Poland freed itself with solidarity.   They outlawed it here. We need to fix that.    

          There is no reason to have outlawed supporting strikers.  


          De fund + de bunk = de EXIT--->>>>>

          by Neon Mama on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 05:27:16 PM PST

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      •  You are a long time member, I don't get it (1+ / 0-)
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        Why are you talking like it is 1965?  Unions don't have that kind of power anymore.  We are down to like 10% of the population with Union membership.  Labor arbitrage did the trick on most of the private sector unions.  The public sector unions are about the only ones left, and the republican governors have been trying their best to eliminate those.  This is the end game they have been working on for years.  They are almost there.  Do you have a particular tune most appropriate for dancing on their graves?

        Unions are so powerful they prevented the closing of Hostess, right?

        They stopped Wisconsin from eliminating collective bargaining, right?

        Love your version of the joke.  Laborer fighting Laborer.  Just like management wants.  Did you forget who has the real power?  That would be the one's with a couple lifetimes of rent and food money with a little bit extra for some small luxuries, like the private jet.  Not the folks with 4 months of rent money tucked away for a rainy day, or the waitress with just enough money to put the gas in the car to get to work.

        By the way, janitors aren't in the teachers union because they aren't teachers.  Janitors didn't rack up thousands in student loans to get 2 masters degrees.  That's why teachers get more cookies.  Because they put the time into becoming professionals, training to perform this service for their communities.  Is there really something wrong with that?  But if the teachers only make $40,000, how much do you think we are going to pay the janitor?

        If progressives don't fight for Unions, who will fight for progressives?  It's called coalition building.  The democratic party lost its way when it traded Unions for the financial services industry as part of our coalition.  You know, the ones who wanted free trade, so they could make money on labor arbitrage through outsourcing all the good paying jobs.  And after they made money that way, they reinvested it into the derivatives and housing bubble that crashed the economy.  It also had the added bonus of allowing them to grab up all the foreclosed properties for pennies on the dollar, the pennies coming from the american taxpayer through the bank bailout.  Nice work if you can get it.

        You are not making an honest argument and I have no idea why I've wasted my time.

        "'re going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of view." Obi-Wan Kenobi

        by thepook on Tue Jan 15, 2013 at 03:09:39 PM PST

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