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View Diary: Future of Work, Unions? Let’s Talk. (167 comments)

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  •  Start with protective tariffs (4+ / 0-)

    Mr. Trumka, as an AFL-CIO member for 30 years, I am very glad to see you on this site. At its height in the 1950s and 60s, the union movement was deeply rooted in this country's manufacturing and productive base: steel, oil, coal, automobiles, railroads, appliances and textiles. Over the next decades, that base was lost and with it, the powerful unions. In fact, you could argue that the base of our economy was destroyed because of the union' strength as owners sought ever cheaper wages abroad.

    I cannot see any way back to a strong labor movement unless this nation's productive base can be re-built and that can only happen if we demand that American industry be protected - And yes, I mean protective tariffs. No matter which party is in power, politicians and their corporate paymasters support free trade agreements which force US workers into a losing competition with desperately poor workers in places where basic safety, much less the right to organize, is denied them.

    Protective tariffs are a policy that all working Americans, of any political persuasion, can and will support. And such a policy will benefit not just American workers but all those in other lands who are working in conditions that prevailed here a century ago. When and if those foreign lands allow democratic unions to organize, then and only then should we be open to a fair competition with them.

    If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one would remain in the ranks. -Frederick the Great

    by Valatius on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:20:12 PM PDT

    •  I can't recommend this enough (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Yamaneko2, Jeffersonian Democrat

      When I teach my students the evils of neoliberalism, they usually want to just throw their hands up and declare all is lost.  Then I teach them about how free trade works (against them) and the reason tariffs existed in the past.

      •  Tariffs are only going to work... (0+ / 0-)

        If the sheer economic power of multinational corporations can be broken. Which definitely should happen, but will be a bitter, bitter fight. I think worldwide union organizing is a better way to go, and keeps the power in the hands of the workers. (Although the multinationals will make this a bitter fight, too. The corporatist MSM really serves their interests on this one.)

        •  The question is (perhaps) (0+ / 0-)

          which strategy has greater chance of success:

          1) mobilizing the American electorate against free trade.
          2) organizing international unions.

          I think #2 is an immediate nonstarter in the global race to the bottom.  There'll always be a "free labor" haven for MNCs to operate.  Only with #1 to we re-localize capital and give us a ground for a fight.

          Not that one can't do both at the same time.  But I don't think #2 succeeds without #1.

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