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Future of Work, Unions? Let’s Talk.

Many of you know that I grew up in the small coal mining town of Nemacolin, Pa. I worked in the mines while I went to college, got a law degree and got my start in the union movement with the Mine Workers (UMWA).  

A lot has changed since I first went to work in a coal mine. The economy is different. Work is different. The workplace is different—some people go to work without even leaving their homes.

Today, people keep working harder and longer—and still can't get ahead. Inequality is on the rise, and fewer workers have a voice on the job. I want to know what kind of movement can meet these real needs of working women and men—today and in the future?

At the AFL-CIO, we’re asking questions and looking for ideas—from you.

I know you have a lot to say. I’d like to hear it.  

Click here to visit AFLCIO2013.org and join the conversation about the future of work.

At our AFL-CIO Convention in September, we need to be ready to make decisions about how the union movement should change and what we can do together to make a better future for working people. We’re taking a hard look at ourselves and also asking for ideas from everybody who’ll share them—from people inside and outside the labor movement, from progressives, academics and student groups. We want ideas from anyone who cares deeply about building a real movement for working people and making sure everyone has a voice on the job.

These discussions will be happening all across the country, both in person and online. How can we compete in a global economy? How can communities make an impact on workers’ rights? What’s the union movement’s proper relationship to the Democratic Party?

Please share your ideas at AFLCIO2013.org—even your off-the-wall ideas. We’re listening.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Originally posted to Richard Trumka on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:49 AM PDT.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, Dream Menders, I Vote for Democrats, In Support of Labor and Unions, and Motor City Kossacks.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (162+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LakeSuperior, grimjc, JTortora, Arlene Holt Baker, Liz Shuler, cotterperson, elwior, pamelabrown, AoT, john07801, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Pinto Pony, joedemocrat, Glen The Plumber, Ojibwa, Sara R, Gowrie Gal, nomandates, aliasalias, Vico, prfb, Avila, Its any one guess, a gilas girl, remembrance, smiley7, blue aardvark, Simplify, Ginger1, Mary Mike, Mentatmark, FG, RiseUpEconomics, RenMin, Jason Hackman, Joieau, ManhattanMan, petulans, Jake Williams, wader, translatorpro, DRo, We Won, MasonMcD, mofembot, humphrey, smoothnmellow, karmsy, rb137, gulfgal98, Shockwave, maskling, anodnhajo, Pandora, Silvia Nightshade, gooderservice, ferg, roses, DisNoir36, happymisanthropy, dkmich, blueoasis, Orinoco, liberaldregs, greenbastard, Bluesee, bronte17, Sybil Liberty, jerseyjo, jwinIL14, carpunder, implicate order, Aquarius40, teacherken, Domestic Elf, Zinman, TexDem, mconvente, ichibon, northsylvania, flowerfarmer, Egalitare, Tinfoil Hat, 3goldens, ArchTeryx, basquebob, Ed in Montana, PhilW, mrmango, 2thanks, no way lack of brain, GDbot, solesse413, peachcreek, Words In Action, Involuntary Exile, Bill in Portland Maine, Chaddiwicker, sc kitty, Alice Marshall, beach babe in fl, mamabigdog, cordgrass, TomP, JayRaye, eeff, Nailbanger, Rhysling, KateCrashes, jakedog42, geez53, captainlaser, peregrine kate, lenzy1000, also mom of 5, PrometheusUnbound, Ozzie, bluesheep, GeorgeXVIII, martinjedlicka, Oye Sancho, annan, Dreaming of Better Days, rogeopa, Larsstephens, Gustogirl, oceanview, ZenTrainer, muddy boots, cyncynical, notrouble, Dr Erich Bloodaxe RN, MRA NY, LamontCranston, SteveLCo, slathe, Lefty Coaster, tiggers thotful spot, Angie in WA State, lostinamerica, linkage, hamm, ItsaMathJoke, Skennet Boch, carl offner, jdmorg, Odysseus, BlueMississippi, triv33, Renee, Puddytat, Jeffersonian Democrat, davis90, This old man, rl en france, Burned, rapala, joanneleon, cassandraX, Ice Blue, JekyllnHyde, Big River Bandido
  •  Card check, living wage (25+ / 0-)

    and more worker control in the work place.

    And it would be great to see you stick around and talk instead of just dropping a link.

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:58:16 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, Richard Trumka. (22+ / 0-)

    Posting this here to make it easier for folks to RT:

    "Compassion is not weakness, and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism." Hubert H. Humphrey

    by nomandates on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:21:14 AM PDT

  •  Machines should work, people should think (20+ / 0-)

    We have reached the point where there is a race for the bottom reducing wages and benefits in order for American workers to be competitive with foreign workers and robots.

    The biggest benefits we have are workplace safety, a minimum wage, child labor laws, equal pay for equal work, healthcare, education and safety nets such as SSI, Medicare and Medicaid, unemployment insurance, minimum wages and workers comp. We don't want to lose any of those because an employer decides to go somewhere that wages and worker safety don't meet our standards.

    How about working for laws that make anyone selling a product in the US be required to meet American standards for all of the above. It would also be nice to have tax laws that tax you fully with no loopholes or tax breaks unless you are hiring American workers from an American union.

    We also are loosing our rights to bargain collectively as multi-national corporations simple go where the labor is cheap and the regulation of their activities non existent.

    OK. If machines can do our jobs more efficiently maybe they should have them. What we need is more along the line of a guaranteed wage than guaranteed employment.

    I'd like to see more people have the leisure to give some thought as to how we deal with climate change, how we relocate our cities away from rising sea levels or maybe just do away with them altogether and stop thinking that the important thing is to keep our jobs wherever we located them back when rivers were still our highways.

    Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

    by rktect on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:24:27 AM PDT

    •  A basic income for all (10+ / 0-)

      would help make corporations share some of the profits from automation and globalization. A diary on this here.

      "Imagine all the people, sharing all the world." --John Lennon. Follow me on Twitter @riseupeconomics

      by RiseUpEconomics on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:40:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How would that (3+ / 0-)

        work exactly?   An able bodied, sound minded individual makes a decision that he prefers not to work for a living.   Those who do work for a living should give him money just for existing?   This sounds problematic given what we know about human nature.

        •  Given the increase in productivity (8+ / 0-)

          we should be able to not work if we don't want to. The fact that we are expected to work more for less while productivity sky rockets is absurd. As it is we end up working useless jobs selling people shit they don't need because god forbid that someone not work. That would be a sin.

          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

          by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:44:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I guess there would have (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sparhawk

            to be some hefty taxation to support those who do not want to work then?   Probably quite a bit of taxation since not having to work will no doubt appeal to a lot of people.   So suppose you hit on an idea that was valuable and you created a business and it supported your family but your tax to support non workers grew even faster.   So you want to spend your money on education or some other help to get your kids started in life but you can't because too much of your income goes to support nonworkers.  You think you would be pissed about that?

            •  You don't have to spend money on your (10+ / 0-)

              kids for education, they would have a guaranteed income when they went to school.

              You think you would be pissed about that?
              I think that people who feel a sense of entitlement would be pissed. I wouldn't be. You assume that people generally would just sit around and do nothing and that there'd be this scourge of people who weren't working. Well, how many people aren't working now? It's a huge chunk of the population. They are obviously being supported somehow, so we clearly have the ability to do it.

              Plus, if I had a steady income and didn't need to work a job I'd be about a million times more likely to start a business. It would give me the time and resources I needed to do something I wanted to instead of something that someone else orders me to.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:14:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A sense of being entitled (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Sitting Jack Flash, Sparhawk

                to money that  they earned?   Well yeah,  I think they should feel entitled to that,  at least as much as the nonworkers feel entitled to it.

                •  The money "they earned" is a bit broad (7+ / 0-)

                  I mean, did they build the roads? They had to have customers. They had to deal with a lot of people in a society being respectful of their business and not trying to ruin it. Most people who are rich from a business hardly earned the money. Other people worked for them and made them that money. I know that currently we have a cult of ownership in the US, but that doesn't have to be the case.

                  The fact of the matter is that "the money that they earned" is entirely dependent on the state and the population in general. Ignoring that means that everyone thinks they did everything themselves and they don't owe anyone anything. The most absurd part of it is that without taxes their money wouldn't be worth anything. It's only because of taxes that people need money.

                  If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                  by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:08:18 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Well, yes, the did.... (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Sparhawk
                    I mean, did they build the roads?
                    Or at least they will be paying for them.

                    What about the people with the guaranteed incomes and no jobs?  Did they build the roads?  Nope.  Did they pay for them?  Nope.  So what exactly is their entitlement to use them?

                    I do not see how government provided roads, paid for by taxpayers and built by workers, translate into an obligation to pay a guaranteed income to non-taxpaying non-workers.

                    They had to have customers.
                    Well, if no guaranteed income then presumably people without incomes won't be big customers and not an issue.
                    They had to deal with a lot of people in a society being respectful of their business and not trying to ruin it.
                    This is beginning to sound like a protection racket.  We should pay people a guaranteed income because otherwise they will try to ruin businesses?
                    Most people who are rich from a business hardly earned the money. Other people worked for them and made them that money.
                    Who are workers and pay taxes and presumably would also be supporting non-workers on guaranteed incomes.  Mind explaining how the fact that I pay someone a salary to work means that he and I now have an obligation to give non-workers a guaranteed income?
                    The most absurd part of it is that without taxes their money wouldn't be worth anything. It's only because of taxes that people need money.
                    Because without taxes food, clothing, and shelter would be free?
                    •  people built the roads a while ago (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Kit RMP, sunny skies

                      And who deserves what is a big question. Why is it that owning things means you are "earning" money. Owning doesn't require labor, just owning. You switch back and forth between saying that the business owner earned the money and equating earning with working. That's wrong. You're using a rhetorical bait and switch.

                      In regards to money and the government, I didn't mean to imply that people wouldn't exchange or share things without the government, just that money itself arises from government taxation. Without taxation there is very little reason for most people to need money. Money is valuable in large part because it is the only thing that can be used to pay taxes.

                      If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                      by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 08:45:04 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good philosophical question (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Sparhawk
                        Why is it that owning things means you are "earning" money. Owning doesn't require labor, just owning.
                        If I work at my job and save my money and then buy a fixerup home, fix it up (unsalaried work) and then rent it out are you suggesting the rental income is not earned?  After all, I had to work to fix up the home.  What about the portion of the rent I could have gotten without fixing up the place?  Is that earned?

                        I think it is earned - you are being paid for foregone consumption (you bought a house, not a sports car) and sweat equity.

                        If you're not a handyman and you work longer at your job and then buy a rental home in good condition is your rental income somehow unearned?  I think if the answer to the first question is no, then the answer to this one also has to be owned.

                        I personally have chosen not to buy real estate - I buy stock.  Are my capital gains and dividend income somehow unearned?

                        I also make angel investments.  I'm on my way now to a company I invested $5K in (I make VERY early stage investments) to help them in a pitch to some bigger angels who will hopefully invest about $100K in them.  I'm an advisor (in return for options), I will be joining their board (in return for options), and I have spent a lot of time helping them on their fund raising pitch and sales pitch, introducing potential partners and employees to them, and next month I'll be lending my thinning grey hair to their enterprise sales effort to give them some gravitas.  At this point, I think they have about a 10% chance of succeeding, but if they do my $5K investment will easily turn into $1MM or more and my options will easily be worth $5mm or more.  (One of the advantages of early stage investments is you get in at very low valuations so if they do pop you get a lot of money.  Of course, they usually don't pop.)  If I do get that much, is any of that somehow unearned?  Which parts of it?

                        •  Are you suggesting that without taxes we would (0+ / 0-)

                          go back to barter?

                          In regards to money and the government, I didn't mean to imply that people wouldn't exchange or share things without the government, just that money itself arises from government taxation.
                          Or is your idea that we would go back to uncoined gold and other precious metals?
                          •  Neither, we'd use either sharing (0+ / 0-)

                            or credit arrangements as we have through most of history. I'd highly suggest checking out "Debt: The First 5000 Years" by David Graeber. It's a good overview of the subject that corrects a lot of common misconceptions that are pushed by the economic establishment despite the fact that there's zero support for them historically.

                            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                            by AoT on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:26:10 AM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                        •  I don't think any of that addresses the question (0+ / 0-)

                          at the base of this. You may have earned the money that you bought something with, but that doesn't mean that you have to earn the money. Most of the wealthiest people don't. There's no difference between money earned and money obtained in other ways, it's all the same stuff. So even if you're making other money from money you've earned it still isn't earned in any real sense. I don't earn the interest on my bank account, if I had enough money to, I get interest based on a contract. I don't do anything for that interest except to have money, no matter how I got that money.

                          If I work at my job and save my money and then buy a fixerup home, fix it up (unsalaried work) and then rent it out are you suggesting the rental income is not earned?  After all, I had to work to fix up the home.  What about the portion of the rent I could have gotten without fixing up the place?  Is that earned?
                          No, the rental income isn't earned. You would get the same amount of money if you payed someone else to fix it up. Your use of the term sweat equity I think shows how that's the case. It's an investment. Investments aren't earning, they're something different. Not that they're necessarily bad, but they're different.

                          If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                          by AoT on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:39:01 AM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  You really think most people would (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Odysseus, rktect

              settle for three hot meals, a safe place to sleep, health care, and very basic clothing if they could get more by working?

              I don't.

              Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

              by JesseCW on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:54:38 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oh, come ON (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Odysseus, JesseCW, Kit RMP, helfenburg

                Remember, everyone in this country except the 1% are lazy good-for-nothing people who...

                ...gad, I can't write this shit any more.

                The idea that if we mechanized every aspect of human life, so that we produced 100% of what the population needed in order to survive with almost 0 human input, and then we would turn around and make people WORK for that stuff, or die, just boggles my mind. Especially when you consider that there'll be jobs for like five or ten percent of them.

                People who can't make that paradigm shift are dominant in our culture, and they are going to fight their hardest to let the 'leeches' die, even while they're busy replacing them and getting rid of their jobs. We know this because it's what's been happening for the last 30 years.

                •  There will be plenty of stuff to do (0+ / 0-)

                  If we don't need people making product we can use them in service jobs.  You may have a future in which factory workers have butlers and maids.  So?

                  •  You may well have a future in which butlers and (0+ / 0-)

                    maids have cooks and valets.

                    When all necessities are provided, in the main, through automation, what is left but an economy in which we exchange services?

                    Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

                    by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:30:08 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Kurt Vonnegut and "Player Piano" (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      JesseCW

                      when all necessities are provided by machines people can spend their time thinking about stuff they would like to do.

                      They might get their kicks on route 66, just travel around the country, or the planet meeting people and talking to them about stuff like how to reduce the unnecessary use of cars and other machinery putting carbon in the atmosphere and causing climate change.

                      Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                      by rktect on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:32:14 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  A lot of folks like work. It's healthy to (0+ / 0-)

                        like work.

                        It's not necessarily healthy to like it 50 hours a week with a 2 hour a day commute....

                        Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

                        by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 05:24:09 AM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                •  There's little doubt that society will remain (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Kit RMP

                  hierarchical to some extent, but it will change or it will end.

                  These people want to starve billions who will not, on the whole, go quietly.  Either we change things so that everyone eats, or the odds are some folks get eaten.

                  If you can tell a great story, sing a great song, or cook a great meal other people will reward you for it.

                  Some people LIKE knitting sweaters.  Some people prefer hand knitted sweaters.  There's nothing wrong with that.

                  But all "shortages" of food, water, shelter, medical care, and clothing are utterly artificial and created only by the powerful to compel the labor of the poor.

                  This is already true.  Imagine automated productive capacity in 50 years.

                  It will never mean that human labor and creativity have no value, though.  

                  Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

                  by JesseCW on Tue May 07, 2013 at 02:28:49 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Some people would (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sunny skies

                There are a lot of people in institutions and the military doing just that. OK, maybe some of them get to blow stuff up, or episodically get released and have the adrenalin rush of getting back in the game...

                Most people would do something they wouldn't consider work, something they liked doing, that's something many people are doing now.

                Some people would actively compete in a sport or athletic competition and use their leisure time to line up sponsors who would pay them to race a car or a sailboat and put the sponsors name on it.

                Some people would find themselves with more time to get involved in politics, join the occupy movement, and then as an extension of that travel around the country becoming activists.

                Some people would just stay home and weed their garden, prune their orchard, build a still and make whiskey, build a forge and make tools, fix their leaky roof themselves instead of hiring somebody, make cigar box guitars or sew quilts or in general explore a wide range of interests that working for a living didn't leave them time for.

                Live Free or Die --- Investigate, Incarcerate

                by rktect on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:28:11 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  That, or have a shorter work week (8+ / 0-)

            What's the point of labor-saving devices if we can't all, y'know, save some labor?

            Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

            by Simplify on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:18:31 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Actually what we know about human nature is that (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Odysseus, Kit RMP, sunny skies

          the majority of folks want to work. I remember that from sociology studied way back in my college days.

          Tracy B Ann - technically that is my signature.

          by ZenTrainer on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:27:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  This would be impractical. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sparhawk, johnny wurster
      How about working for laws that make anyone selling a product in the US be required to meet American standards for all of the above.
      This would spike consumer goods enormously.  An iPad would run you well over $1,000.  Much less advanced products would be impacted too as many base electronic components and manufactured-good components are manufactured overseas with cheap labor.
      It would also be nice to have tax laws that tax you fully with no loopholes or tax breaks unless you are hiring American workers from an American union.
      Many American companies are multinationals who conduct most of their business (and hire most of their workers) overseas.  Employing Americans in those positions is difficult, as our tax system heavily discourages Americans from working overseas, and many foreign countries require we employ their citizens instead.
      •  So it would be prices appropriate to how it was (9+ / 0-)

        made. The other side of this is that if you dropped the minimum wage requirement, assuming that it required paying our minimum wage and wasn't adjusted to China, then it would likely be significantly less. Instead we let the people making these product bust unions and even kill people trying to unionize as well as employ people in horrid conditions.

        Many American companies are multinationals who conduct most of their business (and hire most of their workers) overseas.  Employing Americans in those positions is difficult, as our tax system heavily discourages Americans from working overseas, and many foreign countries require we employ their citizens instead.
        This is a good point. The only real way to deal with this from a labor perspective is to have truly international unions, and for the American unions to be willing to go on strike to support their fellow union members overseas. It's really the only way that unions will be useful in dealing with international corporations.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:15:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Imagine... an iPad might cost... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kit RMP

        ...a third as much as a computer cost twenty years ago. While ensuring that the human beings who produced it got paid a decent wage, worked in decent conditions, and didn't, you know, die.

        How awful that would be.

  •  I'll post this commenters statement, it covers (23+ / 0-)

    virtually everything I wanted to say.

    DanielPatrickRoche •  2 hours ago −

    The AFL-CIO needs to stop giving money to the Democratic Party, period. In the past, it may have made sense to grease the wheel of the 'lesser evil,' but let's review what the labor movement got from the Obama Administration and the Democratic National Committee under his regime, after giving them unreserved political and financial support:

    1) The slow death of the--and a slow death without much of a fight from the administration--of the Employee Free Choice Act.

    2) The current death spiral of the United States Postal Service and the largest public employee's union in the nation with it.

    3) Absolutely no support of the workers' uprising in the Midwest after the crackdown on unions and privatization of some cities.

    4) Active suppression of the youth movement for working people--Occupy and other expressions of solidarity over the last five years.

    5) A notorious union buster as the Secretary of Education.

    6) The Queen of Union Busters, Penny Pritzker, as his choice of Commerce Secretary in the second term.

    7) Right-wing leftovers from the Heritage Foundations 1990s proposals after four years of having single-payer on the official Democratic platform for the two cycles the labor and youth movements helped them elect historically large numbers of Democrats to Congress.

    8) The ever-present threat of gutting social insurance since 2009 is now a naked and horrible ambition of this administration.

    With that list, which is not exhaustive, I honestly think supporting the Democratic Party--on the national level, at least--is just stupid.

    The AFL-CIO should also stop prioritizing affecting change at the ballot box. Buying into the idea that the ballot is the only place to realize change is playing into the hands of the business interests that have bought both major parties. Use the funds you would have donated to the Democratic Party to dramatically expand Working America and get the millions of unemployed youth and underemployed union members in this country out into the streets and vibrating walls.

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:27:54 AM PDT

    •  For example (20+ / 0-)

      my Congresswoman, Cheri Bustos, would not have won election in IL-17 without the considerable support of working men and women.  Once elected she immediately becomes a "No Labels Congressional Problem Solver" and is the 182 most progressive member of the 201 member House Progressive Caucus.  She is to the right of Conservative Blue Dog head of the DCCC Steve Israel, as are the other newly elected House members of the Illinois delegation.

      We've had NeoLibs like Carter busting the trucking unions, Clinton with NAFTA, and Obama who are all to the right of the majority of Americans in pocketbook issues.

      "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

      by Illinibeatle on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:47:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And in IL-17, Bustos' record is indefensible (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        aliasalias

        That district is one of the bluest in the Midwest, home to Caterpillar, Case, IH, and the headquarters of John Deere.  That district was represented for 20 years by Lane Evans, one of the most progressive members of the House, ever.  

        Bustos is a poster child for the fecklessness and corruption which is rotting away the foundations of the Democratic Party.  

        Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

        by Big River Bandido on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:38:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Party cares about labor in even-numbered falls (16+ / 0-)

      It then goes back to catering to FIRE, its true base, the rest of the time.  There are, obviously, Dems who deserve Dem support.  In the Senate, the likes of Brown, Warren, Franken, Boxer, Whitehouse, and Sanders (who's actually an indie) all immediately come to mind*.  There are plenty more in the House.

      The very idea of backing the party as a whole, however, was proven to be a mistake long ago.  EFCA never even getting to the floor of the Senate and the WH never making it a priority proves that point.  In hindsight, the Goolsbee Memo back in '08 was a tell, but we have far more concrete evidence since then.

      *Harkin and Levin are retiring.

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

      by RFK Lives on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:34:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  from your link & a great example of what was to (5+ / 0-)

        come from Obama, on most any policy that benefits the 99% instead of the 1%. In other words the 'talk' was not going to resemble the 'walk' and it is continuing to be true.

        According to the writer of the memorandum, Joseph De Mora, a political and economic affairs consular officer, Professor Goolsbee assured them that Mr. Obama’s protectionist stand on the trail was “more reflective of political maneuvering than policy.”

        It also said the professor had assured the Canadians that Mr. Obama’s language “should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plans.”

        (emphasis mine)

        without the ants the rainforest dies

        by aliasalias on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:57:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Here, here. (5+ / 0-)

      I believe that supporting "the lesser evil" may well be required of voters and donors to campaigns who are not linked with an institution.  D-grade economic policies must be tolerated if the alternatives are BOMB BOMB BOMB to the Right and 9/11 CT to the Left.

      Unions, on the other hand, should concentrate on organizing unorganized industries and shops.  To have power, one must build it.  Be sure that your organizing and strike funds are as full as possible.  

      Unorganized industries and shops should be Named and Shamed, and what few union workers and allies remain should be strongly encouraged to look for union labels.  (It seemed to work at the steel mills, where a ban on driving imported cars carried strong informal force.)

      Perhaps a Wal-Mart "Worse Than Scrooge" Christmas Carol would be appropriate, but let Bob Cratchett have to abandon the scantly-laid Thanksgiving table to work at Wal-Mart, where he gets trampled;  then fire Mrs. Cratchett in her widow's weeds for taking Little Tim to the hospital on Christmas Eve.  Then attach real names to those faces.  (If it were 2007, then Little Tim dead on Christmas Day would be plausible, but for ChIP.)

      Or consider an ad that the Super Bowl's broadcasters detest (getting it infinite play on competing stations).  

      On a more cheerful note, how about a mailer with lots of cents-off coupons for products made by union shops?  The health-services industry is poorly unionized and poorly compensated -- why not let consumers know the advantages of choosing a unionized homecare provider?  ("WE make sure that all professional who cares for your beloved knows what they are doing.  Would you rather have an exhausted person earning minimum wage at Grandma's bedside, or an awake, alert professional?")

      I'd also like to make a plea for adjunct professors, but very few of them plan to be adjuncts long enough to endure an organization campaign, and not a few of them detest unions on principle.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:49:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And most importantly, stop TPP (23+ / 0-)

    Letting it go through will destroy whatever manufacturing and industry we still have.

    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

    by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:30:32 AM PDT

  •  Environmental public service jobs (14+ / 0-)

    So much work to be done for the benefit of all cleaning up the environment, restoring animal habitat, restoring native plants, patrolling parkland... being good stewards of the planet.

    Won't make some business owner richer, but it'll make everyone a little bit richer.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:30:37 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for the diary (17+ / 0-)

    This is an important conversation. Workers are taking a huge hit. We've always been a Union family and will continue to support them.

    This is the Union my family started/participated in. Been a long time!

    Keep your cynicism off my optimism, thanks

    by Its any one guess on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:32:55 AM PDT

  •  What do you think about the proposed trade pact (6+ / 0-)

    with EU? Thanks for writing here.

  •  I want to hear what you intend to do regarding TPP (15+ / 0-)

     I hope you are being active against it somewhere that I can link to and check out because organized labor is absolutely toast if the TPP gets passed (and it's being 'fast tracked').

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Mon May 06, 2013 at 11:58:01 AM PDT

  •  I drove through Nemacolin (7+ / 0-)

    from time to time as I would deliver proofs of our community's monthly newspaper to a printer in Brownsville back in the mid-1980s/early 90s. I was fascinated by the entire area — fascinated and saddened by all of the boarded up shops along the main streets of so many of these little towns.

    Haven't been back there in at least 20 or more years. I hope things have revived a bit. (Loved Nemacolin Castle in Brownsville, too.)

    As for the future of labor, I think one of the best things that could happen in the U.S. would be for all boards of directors to have at least one seat reserved for and filled by a labor representative, as is the case here in Germany as well as in other EU countries. But I'm not holding my breath.

  •  I would like to suggest (14+ / 0-)

    that unions made living wages a priority.  It's very sad to know that when I shop at Whole Foods, the cashiers tend to have more degrees than I have.

    Also, let's start focusing in on the outrageously high cost of education.  Unions should be pushing trade schools more -- affordable and a feeder for union membership.

  •  Thank you for posting here. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citisven, JerryNA, elwior, ichibon, Kit RMP

    I spend a lot of time working on mining, but in the DRC. That is a bit off topic, but one thing about it isn't: there is nothing that economically separates the rich elite from everyone else faster than mineral wealth.

    One would think that we could do right by our mine workers in the US by now. It's the 21st century, and we depend on the goods that miners produce -- at every level of modern society. What would a day without a miner be like???

    Another thanks for all you do. A living wage, huh? Amazing what the union folks expect!

    Breathe in. Breathe out. Forget this, and attaining enlightenment will be the least of your problems.

    by rb137 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:22:21 PM PDT

  •  Either worker unions grow or we will become... (15+ / 0-)

    ...a nation of serfs.  The increase in wealth by the rich while the vast majority of American workers saw no income or wealth increase in the last 30 years is abhorrent.

    CEO vs. worker pay is just one data point.

    Unions may not be perfect but they provide the only voice for workers.  IMO the Democratic party may be less harmful to workers than the Republican party but it is nowhere near what we need.

    I went to the website and saw a the familiar face of Laura Clawson.  This is a great beginning.

    I was a member of the ILWU, I did some blogging for the Teamsters and recently I performed some street theater with Labor United for Healthcare reform.  I am ready to help do what it takes to turn around this fall into hell.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Mon May 06, 2013 at 12:27:29 PM PDT

  •  First, realize that (0+ / 0-)

    the  US labor movement must shrink.   This is obvious in the face of technology  and the range of lower  livable wages in other countries.

    Second,  in addition to there being fewer of them  the American worker will be different.  The work will be different,  the training will be different   mostly related to automation and robotics.  

    Successful workers now and in the future  will require technological aptitude and training.   I saw a list of the  10 best paying jobs and I think 8 of them were some sort of engineering.    Unfortunately not everyone has technological aptitude.  

  •  The challenge (6+ / 0-)

    The business model of organized labor hasn't changed since the 1930s (and most of the changes proposed in the MSM are basically concern trolling).

    Here's the problem.  There are a number of inhibitors to union organizing, not all of which would be solved by legislation.

    1. There is a substantial portion of the population that simply opposes unions for ideologic reasons, even if it's in their best interest to do so.

    2. Employers are extremely aggressive at identifying and firing union sympathizers.  However, most organizing techniques rely on organizing in public.  Very few people are willing to get laid off, especially outside of big cities, and especially if they are blacklisted.

    3. The strategy to deal with "right to work" has been to assume that it can somehow be repealed.  That would be nice and I certainly advocate trying to get them repealed, but a good strategy won't rely on that outcome and should be designed on the assumption that you have to contend with this (and simultaneously, issue #1).

    4. Organizing is currently a binary exercise.  You either make it (after jumping through a million hoops) or, more likely, you don't.  Why not a strategy that breaks this up into easier steps?  

  •  Huge questions. (9+ / 0-)

    Don't support any politician that doesn't keep their word - regardless of party.   Obama plain out lied to all of us.   I 'm sick of him, and I'm sick of politicians, government, corporations, and the death and destruction that America R Us has become.  

    Workers aren't the problem, it's leadership.  This is true in politics, governments, schools, corporations - everywhere you look.   As an example, England's primary schools don't have principals.   The teachers take turns, for extra pay, in that role.  Who knows better than what teachers need to do the job than teachers?  Teachers are also willing to do the hard work it takes to fire non-performing teachers without destroying the system so anybody can be fire.   We need to redefine political allegiance, unions, and leadership.

    Would I join a union?  Yes, if it was a union workplace.  Would I organize a union?  Likely not.    What do I think of unions?   We owe them a debt of gratitude for what they did for the middle class, and they have turned into a pain in the ass.   Union contracts have to guard the basics and allow Managers and employees the flexibility to be different.   Cookie cutter rules regarding breaks, lunches, and who can turn on what switch are a pain in the ass.   Individual workers have to be allowed to reach, integrate, and innovate in the best interests of the job - not the employer - the job; and one should be able to assume the best interest of the job is in the best interest of the employer.    

    My experience with unions is that they are usually making sure no one gets anything more than the contract says instead of making sure they never get less.  

    What we need is a Democrat in the White House.

    by dkmich on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:03:18 PM PDT

    •  all good points (5+ / 0-)

      Heartily agree. Also -- need a strategy for contractors and other non-tenured employees. As a member of the musicians union, I found an ally as a symphony member but as a freelancer and chamber musician it is a total nuisance and drain on time and funds for no positive result.

      Adding quality benefits such as health insurance and pensions, like employers do for tenured and full time employees, would make it more attractive.  

      Stay-at-home-Moms: Hard working unless they're on welfare, then they're lazy. Just ask any Republican.

      by musicsleuth on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:35:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oppose comprehensive immigration reform (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior

    ....that steals our jobs.

  •  Part must be politics (8+ / 0-)

    (Sorry for not going to AFLCIO2013, I'm a legally blind former union member who can only read so much.)  Public employees, NLRB, OSHA, and other factors demand a political side.  Politicians haven't been doing good by unions.  AFL-CIO & other working people's groups need to establish rating systems for politicians which include criteria under which politicians can't be supported in the future.  Now & then we need to be able to tell politicians, "On this vote you're with us or against us" - and have consequences.  When major party candidate have proven themselves to fail the criteria for support, we must be willing to support alternatives (a Bernie Sanders can win at times and a willingness to go elsewhere might put pressure on Democrats).  Whether it's using politics to limit the impact of attacks on unions, or maintaining government programs for working people in a time of less unions, working people need to push a political agenda.

    "We all too often have socialism for the rich and rugged free capitalism for the poor." - Martin Luther King Jr.

    by workingwords on Mon May 06, 2013 at 01:10:42 PM PDT

  •  Trumka posts here just to invite us to go over to (0+ / 0-)

    some other place? Huh?

  •  Mr Trumka you are missing a broad group of workers (13+ / 0-)

    You must agree that your rolls are declining, there are simply less iron workers now in the US than were in 1960.  However, I think you and the unions in general are missing huge groups of potential union members.  For example a huge portion of the high-tech industry is ripe for unionization.  Network engineers are a prime example, they are not managers, it would be hard to describe what they do as professional, it is a trade.  Same goes for software coders, how is this any different than any other form of writing (think screen writers guild).  The entire hardware portion is defiantly a unionizable area.  You need to expand your idea of what could be or should be a union member.  There are lots of skilled trades people that no longer fall under the blue collar umbrella and they could sure use some union representation.  They have suffered from mass layoffs, outsourcing to other countries, insourcing from other countries.  They have been forced to train the foreign replacement.  They are being laid off and replaced by younger workers all while those who do still have a job go year after year with no raises and year after year of benefit cuts.  I think if you tried to actively unionize a few of the bigger shops you might see your influence increase along with the size of your membership.

    •  I'm guessing (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AoT, basquebob, elwior, ferment, Yamaneko2

      that this has occurred to them and other union bodies.  There must be some impediment to unionizing white collar labor.  If I knew more about the history of labor I'd probably know why.

      •  There is much more resistance (6+ / 0-)

        to unionization in the tech field for various reasons. Mostly having to do with the top down style that is too common in the big unions. I've always said that we could just use the IWW model and call it a guild and tech people would jump on board in a minute.

        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

        by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:20:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Could you point me towards some literature? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, Yamaneko2

          It'd help fill a knowledge gap of mine.  Much appreciated.

        •  I work in tech (2+ / 0-)

          I would never join a union.

          For example, there is very little difference between a good mail carrier and a bad one. The guy has certain skills, learns the job, does it. Above a certain skill level people are interchangeable. It's advantageous to be in a union when that's your job.

          In software coding, hardware development, etc good people are literally worth multiple times the salary of mediocre people.

          Good people don't want unions because they feel (with some justification) that the mediocre people are going to be laid off, not them, and in the meantime the good people make a lot more money. And if they do get laid off, another job is around the corner.

          So that leaves just mediocre tech people who might benefit from unions. But they need the higher skill people to join them, and they won't. Why have your bonus and raises averaged with people who aren't as good as you?

          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

          by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:43:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You're also a libertarian and (11+ / 0-)

            couldn't have enjoyed it more when WI public workers got shoved out of their jobs.  Thankfully those of us who support labor outnumber people like you who care only about themselves.  

            And by the way, "Left Libertarian" is an oxymoron!

            "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

            by 3goldens on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:55:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  They aren't "their jobs" (2+ / 0-)

              They are jobs serving the people of Wisconsin.

              If the people of Wisconsin want to decertify their union, it is their right. That's what democracy is about.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:02:51 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Spoken like a true libertarian. n/t (4+ / 0-)

                "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

                by 3goldens on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:04:30 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  You aren't a left libertarian (11+ / 0-)

                If you support the government's right to destroy unions. You're a standard issue libertarian pretending to be a leftist.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:07:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I have no opinion about private unions (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  johnny wurster, nextstep

                  I don't see why taxpayers should shell out extra money for public unions.

                  Even FDR thought public unions shouldn't exist. Was he a libertarian?

                  Why should taxpayers who themselves are only paid what corporations deign to pay them have to pay more for services than they otherwise would have to?

                  (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                  Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                  by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:12:56 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  That makes no sense (6+ / 0-)

                    By that argument minimum wage laws shouldn't apply to government employees either. Of course, given your position on minimum wage I'm sure that won't be any sort of argument to you. But no, you aren't a left libertarian if you want to bust up unions based on who employs them.

                    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                    by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:16:10 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  When have I ever opposed the minimum wage? (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      johnny wurster

                      I just want the best price/performance ratio for government services, just like you do for auto and health insurance).

                      And not just for me, for all the $10/hr 7-11 workers who pay sales and property tax bills.

                      (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                      Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                      by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:21:12 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  I don't have auto or health insurance :) (4+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        3goldens, elwior, CA Nana, Kit RMP

                        And even with government workers unions they still manage to do things far more effectively. The profit motive is what screws people out of their money.

                        And not just for me, for all the $10/hr 7-11 workers who pay sales and property tax bills.
                        Until the minimum wage gets raised I don't think there are a whole lot of 7-11 workers making $10/hour. And I might have mistaken someone else for you in the diary about raising minimum wage.

                        Either way, by your argument minimum wage shouldn't apply to government workers because we should try to get the most work for the least money out of them. I'm not sure why that would be different for the non-government employees. Why do government employees not have a right to organize? It can't be because we want to pay less, because then you're saying there's no right. And then no one would have a right to organize, but you are fine with private sector unions.

                        If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                        by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:26:01 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  Why are you so hung up... (0+ / 0-)

                          ...on asking me about minimum wage?

                          Public sector workers should get the same pay, benefits, and protections as private workers. And the private sector should set the market in this regard. Public workers can always jump to a private job if they don't think they are being paid enough.

                          The government has a responsibility to use precious tax dollars taken from private individuals as reasonably frugally as possible. The government isn't there to make jobs for people, it's there to serve its constituency (most of whom these days are not rich by a long shot) by providing services at a reasonable cost.

                          (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
                          Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

                          by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:36:31 PM PDT

                          [ Parent ]

            •  Left libertarian is *not* an oxymoron (6+ / 0-)

              Leftist libertarians predate right wing libertarians and the right actually bragged about how they managed to steal the name from the left in the 50s. Left libertarians support unions. I know because I'm a left libertarian.

              If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

              by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:06:18 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, we know you would never join a union (6+ / 0-)

            You aren't exactly representative of the entire industry.

            And the problem is that folks like you don't understand that you're going to take a hit next.

            You couldn't be bothered to stand in solidarity with your fellow workers and it will come back to bite you in the ass, I guarantee.

            So that leaves just mediocre tech people who might benefit from unions. But they need the higher skill people to join them, and they won't. Why have your bonus and raises averaged with people who aren't as good as you?
            Not everyone in a union makes the same amount of money. And there's a reason I mentioned using the IWW method instead of the traditional method. It allows these sort of decisions to be made in the workplace among the workers. As it is you're basically playing into the plans of the company and will end up with he short end of the stick unless you're lucky. Or you may be one of those people who really is the best and you'll be fine. Most people aren't.

            Plus, the "mediocre" workers are just as necessary in every work place. If they weren't then they wouldn't be working there in the first place. It isn't as if companies are just going to have employees for no reason. Given that they actually can organize without you.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:04:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Re (2+ / 0-)
              And there's a reason I mentioned using the IWW method instead of the traditional method. It allows these sort of decisions to be made in the workplace among the workers
              Why would anyone want that? As it is, other workers aren't the ones who are helped by my accomplishments or feel the pain of my failures. The last thing experts want is having their compensation decided by other workers.
              Plus, the "mediocre" workers are just as necessary in every work place. If they weren't then they wouldn't be working there in the first place.
              They are necessary but replaceable. Mediocre tech people are a dime a dozen. The good people aren't replaceable easily.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:36:35 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Like I said (5+ / 0-)

                you don't understand solidarity.

                Why would anyone want that? As it is, other workers aren't the ones who are helped by my accomplishments or feel the pain of my failures. The last thing experts want is having their compensation decided by other workers.
                Why would anyone want to have a say in their workplace? Why would they want to organize with their coworkers so they could have a better place to work? Obviously, you're better than everyone else so you don't need other people. I hope for your sake that this continues to be true.

                If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                by AoT on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:41:12 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Indeed (5+ / 0-)

                  His comments are typical of the individualistic chauvinism that says I Am The Best and Will Always Have Power Over the Market Because I Am So Best-est.  Sadly this is endemic to our society.  Produces a lot of bitter people in the end as their rosy visions of success crumble, and perpetuates the power of capital over the people.

                  Convincing people of the need for organized labor first requires educating them of the fragility of their position, that is to say, as individual standing alone in the market. Our society that celebrates the entrepreneur conveniently leaves out the much greater number of sad stories of persons destroyed by the market, even those hard working professionals happy to serve as an employee to make a firm private profits.  Guess they're just "inferior" programmers.

                •  Solidarity with who? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Sparhawk

                  If I'm a Googler and I'm in their top 10% of programmers doing cutting edge stuff I've almost certainly got options and a likely promotion path into management.

                  Should I feel solidarity with the guy in the cubicle next to me who's a 50%er and does well enough not to be fired but not well enough to be promoted and get options?  Or with my manager, who was a star programmer like me a year ago and with the shareholders, given that my options make me effectively a shareholder?

                  •  Yep, you're a special little snowflake (0+ / 0-)

                    And you're better than everyone.

                    You clearly don't understand solidarity and folks like you are part of the problem. Keep on screwing the rest of us though, I'm sure the folks in charge will never fuck you over. They never do that to the nouveau riche.

                    If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

                    by AoT on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:20:25 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

              •  Well, this thread is long past (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Jeffersonian Democrat, Kit RMP

                its sell by date, so I'll just say, "Congrats." You are an island unto yourself and you need a hand up from no one.

                I'd merely point out, though, that, eventually, you will. Or at the very least you'll notice injustices at your workplace and, possibly, want to do something about them. At that moment, a labor union- even for tech folks- would be of great use.

                Until then, no, of course a union is a horrific thought for you. You're king/queen of the world and gazing down from your lofty heights of superiority allows you to revel in it.

    •  The jobs that aren't going anywhere, and which (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jeffersonian Democrat

      are filled by people poor enough to actually be willing to fight, are in service, retail, and food prep.

      Wash. Judge Tells Cops To Return Man’s Marijuana Or Be Found In Contempt

      by JesseCW on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:05:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Restoring the power of the people requires (3+ / 0-)

    Eradicating free trade and closing our economy.  Force the internalization of the economy such that work had to be done in the US to feed, clothe, and house the American people.  Without the labor and environmental refuges of Bangladesh et al, American capital will be forced to negotiate with labor and the ecology movements.

  •  Thank you, Mr. Trumka, for this entire (7+ / 0-)

    effort you've described!  I'm retired and out of the work force but I still care deeply about those coming behind me and that their work is rewarding for them and meaningful and that they are treated with fairness.  Most importantly though is that there are jobs available to them!

    I live in Wisconsin----have lived here my entire life.  What I saw Scott Walker do to the public employees of this state shocked and angered me.  My husband was a high school Building and Construction Trades teacher for 35 years.  I believe in good, high quality public education and, particularly, I'm interested in those who are NOT college-bound.  Too often in today's high schools, the students are treated as though a college education is a "must"----which leaves a lot of kids who aren't interested in college as "after-thoughts"  by too many guidance counselors.  

    EVERY human being can and should contribute to society.  It's wrong for folks who work in a machine shop or one of the construction trades or a foundry, or a road construction crew, whatever physical labor job it might be----it's wrong for them to be treated as second-class citizens because they don't wear a suit and carry a briefcase to work every day.  Our high schools need to be focused towards vocational/technical training as they once were.  And school districts need to recognize and do something about meeting the needs of ALL students, and not just those who are headed to college.  

    I think that the U.S. needs to bring manufacturing jobs back and the sooner the better.  I'm tired of shopping for clothes and finding labels from India, Viet Nam, South Korea, or Bangladesh (!) on them.  They're cheap junk.  I'm tired of buying electronics and home appliances and sheets and towels made elsewhere in the world.  We need to look after our own unemployed millions and stop pretending that there aren't millions of people who desperately need decent-paying jobs with decent benefits right here.  

    We have a massive need for work on restoring and building new infrastructure in this country.  We need to be training workers to rebuild this country and if it takes special training, incentives to companies to see that the training is provided----whatever it may be, this needs to be dealt with.  We need to get on this and if we need to shame this Congress to get off their dead bottoms and do this---then so be it.

    Finally, the Democratic Party needs to be told clearly that it can no longer count on the votes of Labor.  The Party has taken workers for granted for far, far too long.  People are sick and tired of the outright lies from our politicians, who, once elected proceed to behave as though they owe us nothing.  That needs to end---right now!   Those of us in WI will have very long memories about how the WI State Dem Party AND the Obama administration were worthless when our public employees were shoved out of unions in 2011 after Walker won the election.  And their utter failure to help us win the recall on Walker will also NOT be forgotten.  We've stopped giving any money to the DNC, DSCC, DCCC, as well as the WI Democratic Party.  We know that the AFL-CIO did help us as did the South-Central Federation of Labor.  If some of our politicians have to lose their seats in the House or Senate to send the message home that we're po'd and we're not taking this hypocritical behavior from them anymore, then so be it.  The Party either changes and returns to its roots in supporting the working people of this country-----or it's going to lose a LOT of people.  I hear people in my area talking of looking for a third party because they are that fed up with the current Dem. Party.

    Thanks for this opportunity to speak and all best wishes!  We're ready to support Labor in every way we possibly can----even if many of our politicians aren't.  

    "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." - from the prophet Jeremiah

    by 3goldens on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:52:38 PM PDT

  •  I hear that the Steelworkers and other unions (9+ / 0-)

    From here on out, no one can escape the havoc wrought by the unmitigated Class, Climate and Terror Wars.

    by Words In Action on Mon May 06, 2013 at 02:53:20 PM PDT

  •  More money for organizing! (6+ / 0-)

    Suppose all of the money that has been squandered electing Democrats who don't support labor's issues had been spent on organizing?

  •  Glad you are here. Important work. (3+ / 0-)

    Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

    by TomP on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:17:37 PM PDT

  •  Tell the good story (5+ / 0-)

    because all the public hears is "bully unions, organized crime, unions only protect bad workers" spiel that the right has been putting out for years.  

    Worker rights are for everyone, not just the unionized.  However, being unionized gives you a much greater opportunity to have those rights enforced.  We need to tell the story better and more often about why both worker rights and unions are good things.  Make people want to be part of them!

    There are sectors of the economy where unions haven't made inroads- technology is a big one.  

    The country needs a stronger re-education about unions and how they benefit workers.  People are afraid to start anything because they fear retaliation and job loss.  We need to be able to do card check and simplify the process without management interference.  If people understood what the union can do for them, we would have more membership.  the right drowns out everything.  

    I'm still trying to figure out when teachers, once revered and honored in society, became nothing more than unionized hacks. It's really sad.  

    And why is it that supporting a union means you're anti-business?  When management works with the union instead of against it, the outcome is good for everyone.  In today's corporate raider environment, that's not good enough for the takers at the top.  

  •  Educating people about how economies really work, (4+ / 0-)

    how every job contributes to economic activity and how that activity benefits everyone should be a priority for the labor movement. I don't think that a rather large number of people really do understand this simple concept. A significant number of the electorate vote for candidates that promise to cut government jobs, but many of those people fail to understand that for every job you cut there are other jobs that get destroyed in the process for lack of economic activity. Many assume, or have been conditioned to think, that if government jobs are cut their taxes should go down proportionately, and they surmise, allowing them to keep more of their hard earned income. Nevertheless, those very same people fail to see that economic activity is being destroyed. Economic activity that makes their jobs possible in the first place. The lack of economic activity negates them of the income that can be taxed in the first place.

    Getting rich should be a byproduct of a healthy economy, not the focus of economic policies as it is today in many instances. I think unions could help better educate people on these issues. Unions should do a better job in helping people understand that Unions care about every job and not just the jobs of its members, but somehow somewhere the messaging is not getting across. Not your fault necessarily as I am keenly aware of the billions that get spent to misinform and create myths by the opponents of worker rights.

    Quoting Melissa Harris-Perry's dad: the struggle continues.

    "The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought." -John F. Kennedy

    by basquebob on Mon May 06, 2013 at 03:30:06 PM PDT

  •  This (3+ / 0-)
    We're building an independent political program that can run electoral politics and then turn on a dime to hold our leaders to task, in case they suddenly develop that old case of amnesia! We'll be there to remind them what they promised and who they promised to work for!

    - Richard Trumka

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:16:46 PM PDT

  •  Hello from Ohio (4+ / 0-)

    Thanks for posting Mr. Trumka.  We'll be working hard here in Ohio to fight right to work laws!

    Thanks for all you do, I"m happy to help the unions.

    "If you can't take their money, eat their food, drink their booze and then vote against them, you have no business being up there."

    by Betty Pinson on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:17:16 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this Richard. We need revitalized (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annan, Jeffersonian Democrat, Kit RMP

    unionism.

    I think unions need to put their money into buying the means of production.   Work to own.   Capitalists think labor belongs in Bangladesh.

    Workers think work should be in America for Americans and by Americans.

    Invest those pensions (where they exist) or 401k's (where they don't) in buying out the companies that union men work for.

    We will never be free from fear as long as we fear the NRA.

    by captainlaser on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:22:48 PM PDT

  •  One big union, or many in solidarity. (6+ / 0-)

    I'm making less money now than i was 10 years ago, despite over 10 dollars p/hour in raises. Our union, sheet metal workers local 73 in chicago, has drastically raised our dues, doesn't help other members locate work(unless you're family), has made having health insurance difficult to keep, even though we still pay for it while we dont have it - to help our unions retirees. I would like to see the unions join together to help people who aren't in unions as well as those that are. Raise the minimum wage to a living wage & break the stranglehold that big money has on our government. Lobbying them with our votes and money isn't working, I think striking is the only way to do get their attention. And they can't do that without us.

    Strike! Without our work they have absolutely nothing...

    by discontent73 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:31:34 PM PDT

  •  1 of 2. OPEN meeting proposal adoption processes. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffersonian Democrat

    http://www.liemail.com/...

    Open Efficient Meetings
    +++++ START TABLE OF CONTENTS

    I.) SAMPLE AGENDA FOR 1 MONTH - Mon. 9 Jan. 2012.
    Suppose the Monthly meeting is on the 2nd Monday of the month - this is what the agenda could look like.

    II.) SAMPLE TIMELINE TO CREATE THE JAN. AGENDA.
    This is a timeline needed to create the Agenda. It is a timeline designed to force openness into the process of adopting resolutions by allowing time for members to peruse and resolutions. It will also NOT allow last minute resolutions. We're not a legislative body dealing with a Tsunami or Pearl Harbor - what we do can wait. For those who are incapable of using a calendar to plan, tough.

    III.) WHY WE HAVE TO DO IT - THE REAL REALITY
    This is a timeline designed to force openness into the process of adopting resolutions by allowing time for members to peruse and resolutions. It will also NOT allow last minute resolutions. We're not a legislative body dealing with a Tsunami or Pearl Harbor - what we do can wait. For those who are incapable of using a calendar to plan, tough.

    IV.) SHORT Robert's Rules
    A. I don't have this list yet.
    B. Robert's Rules are for a legislature.
    The bi weekly / monthly meetings of volunteers are meetings of people NOT getting paid to be there. The more you waste their time with legislative shenanigans, the fewer who will participate.
    Parliamentary shenanigans are NOT democracy in action, they're machinations of sneaks who try winning by wearing everyone out.

    +++++ END TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:32:26 PM PDT

  •  2 of 2. Online Open Organizing. to hell with the (3+ / 0-)

    cliques.

    http://www.liemail.com/...

    Organizing Efficiently

    IF we can't get door bellers and leafleters and phone bankers and rah-rah sign wavers and letter writers and ... organized, THEN we'll lose - deservedly.
    The NEA WEA SEA should have an open ONLINE calendaring / event management website.  EVERY union member should know that this website is THE place to go to participate.  

    HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE -

    6 Sets of Questions should be answered:

    1. WHAT are we going to do?  
    A. Doorbelling, phone bank, rah rah, mailings, …
    B. Citizens should be able to query by their precinct or zip code to see WHAT is going on around
    them.

    2.  WHERE is the what to do?  
    A. The corner of Main and 6th, the law office of someone, the statue of …
    B. Citizens should be able to query by their precinct or zip code to see how many WHEREs are going on around them.

    3. WHO are we working with.
    A. Citizens should not be NOT dependent on any coordinator to do something, they should be able to self organize.

    4. WHEN are we doing what?
    A. Every Friday night, Just Sat the 6th …

    5. HOW are we going to do it?
    A. post the instructions on the web, so no one is dependent on any coordinator.

    6. CAMPAIGN
    A. Charter school schemes or teacher evaluation schemes in the legislature, funding issues for education, school board candidates for EVERY school district, Kerry or Dean or Gephardt, Sims or Gregoire or Talmaldge, Save the whales or trees or termites, or, whatever issue.
    B. It has to be easy for volunteers to find the campaign they want to work on.

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 04:34:20 PM PDT

  •  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.

  •  Posted a comment about Trumka just yesterday. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    6412093

    Here.

    I'd want Richard Trumka to run for President

    Even though he has no chance of winning, he's personable, articulate, and can represent our interests with force, passion, logic, and reason. It would be great to have his voice on the stage during the primary debates.

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Sun May 05, 2013 at 09:32:05 PM EDT

    Everyone knows Richard Trumka does not want to be President. I would dearly love hearing his voice on the stage, alongside the others, during the primary debates.

    “Americans are fighters. We're tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one - no one - can stop us. ”-- Elizabeth Warren

    by Positronicus on Mon May 06, 2013 at 06:50:38 PM PDT

  •  The American citizen needs to educated about the (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, 3goldens, Jeffersonian Democrat

    need for Unions and how they helped build this country, and still do.  The Right To Work laws need to be challenged in every way they can as this too will also serve to educate people of just what they are living with in their respective states.

    “The comfort of the rich depends upon an abundant supply of the poor.” - Voltaire.

    by LamontCranston on Mon May 06, 2013 at 07:18:35 PM PDT

  •  Several ideas here that I like (3+ / 0-)

    (a) Credit Unions
    (b) National insurance co-op

    What else?

    (c) Product labeling: We need big big labels on things made in countries without workers rights or environmental standards, and big big green labels on things made where workers have rights and the environment is protected. It would also help if unions made big public pledges (their members did) not to buy stuff that doesn't have a big green label. Unions should also pledge not to invest retirement funds in companies that make a buck by offshoring jobs or gutting standards. All of this stuff needs to be broadcast widely in social media.

    (d) We need a clearinghouse where people can easily find out where they can buy American made products, or at least products upholding high standards. The clearinghouse needs a strong social media presence for people to tell others about the businesses they've found that pay fair wages, allow their workers to organize, and protect the environment.

  •  A Few Ideas (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeffersonian Democrat, Kit RMP

    Some thoughts after reading others' comments:

    Traditional organizing around salary and benefits should continue where possible, but we need to become relevant to the broader non-union public on bread & butter issues.  We need to provide tangible benefits - now - that are obtained through union affiliation (and some form of dues) for everyone, even if their workplace isn't unionized.  And we need to do it in a way that pushes back against profit-hungry corporations, who are the common enemy of all labor.

    1) Challenge the health care industry by starting a true, national, non-profit co-op to undercut the corporations.  Go state-by-state, starting where it's most friendly and push outwards from there.  Turn those crazy corporate profits into affordability and access.

    2) Challenge the financial industry via a national labor credit union.  The small regional credit unions are nice, but not big enough to effectively compete with or push out the corporate banks.  Perhaps an umbrella agreement or co-op of sorts?  We need to muscle the big banks and hit 'em where it hurts.

    Once we have more financial clout and wider membership, the politicians will starting paying attention to us again.  It will be possible to win battles on things like living wage and repealing RTW.  We should continue to advocate for those things in the mean time, but for now we should spend our money undercutting corporations in industries that meet the bread & butter needs of the wider public.  That helps working people now, grows our numbers and improves our image.

    In what other industries could labor undercut corporate power?

  •  Unions should be pushing for shorter workweeks (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, Kit RMP

    not just more pay. And a shorter time to reach company retirement.

    If we're more productive, and there are more workers, then we can move through the work lifecycle quicker.

  •  Dear Mr. Trumka (0+ / 0-)

    I am hoping that you take on some of these corporate bosses soon, the way you all took on Massey Coal.

     I'd be there and I believe lots of other folks from this web site will be there too, the way many folks were there for Occupy.

    Yours, a former teamster, janitor, and laborer.

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Mon May 06, 2013 at 09:48:43 PM PDT

  •  Reclaim the American Dream (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kit RMP

    Anything that needs a license to be "born" should not be considered a legal person.

    An economy that is heading toward $5/hour (or less) wage slavery to compete with a communist country cannot, in good conscience, call itself capitalist.

    Small businesses need your help. They can't afford your help and I'm sure they have no desire to have a union. Figure out a way to give help to them anyway. They get us out of recessions, they give us the most interesting places to work in our early and in our golden years, and they are hurting because there are not enough of them to go up against the behemoths. By small I mean less than 100 employees and local. We need, what? 30,000 or more of these size businesses to compete with Walmart alone, right? These businesses NEVER get tax abatements or "development" slush funds from government friends. They don't get tax loopholes. And they often get strikers out front if all they can afford to fix their ceiling is a non-union shop. Small business needs to be brought back for the American worker and to make our country much more TBTF proof. There needs to be a "union track" for small businesses.

    Almost every worker in this country, whether union or no, has at some point or another, dreamed of having their own small business. Give grants to union members to start their own. Allow them to hire non-union labor in such a way that you can endorse their good business practices (and slate their non-union labor into future union member.) ANYTHING that supports small business and addresses the idea that they add 3 better paying jobs for every 2 poor paying Walmart jobs.

    Unions can be beloved again but they need to shock and awe the opposition by dropping the whole dues battle (go after donations and sponsors) and instead concentrate on being the heroes of small businesses and local regions. Give busy people making minimum wage reason to pay attention to you without having to give you a piece of their paycheck. They don't know or remember history. So reinvent what unions COULD do to help Americans realize their American Dreams.

    P.S. I am not saying you don't deserve workers to pay union dues. I know history. I'm saying that is not a winnable position right now.

  •  I'd like to see unions be less hierarchical (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helfenburg, Kit RMP

    and more cooperative.

    And I would like to see them become a place where members could join together and cooperatively buy products that everyone needs for a group negotiated price which I hope could be used as leverage to force corporations to treat employees better.

    Poverty = politics.

    by Renee on Mon May 06, 2013 at 10:41:37 PM PDT

  •  I would like to see more TV shows, movies (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    helfenburg, Kit RMP, nomandates

    and documentary’s that feature what working conditions were like in the 20’s and the struggle for change, and the lives lost.  I ask my conservative friends about child labor, worker safety, minimum pay, overtime pay, the 40 hour work week and they say – “Oh management would never cancel those things.  They did those out of compassion – “  Yea in a pig’s -    

  •  I'd like to know whether Mr. Trumka has put his (0+ / 0-)

    seal of approval on the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 (S.744) that requires the passage of 13 years before an undocumented immigrant can even apply for citizenship.  

    The bill increases the percentage of employment visas for skilled workers, professionals, and other professionals by 40 percent, and allow tens of thousands of other categories of workers to enter and work.  How will this help the working men and women of the US?

    The elevation of appearance over substance, of celebrity over character, of short term gains over lasting achievement displays a poverty of ambition. It distracts you from what's truly important. - Barack Obama

    by helfenburg on Tue May 07, 2013 at 03:26:51 AM PDT

  •  Good morning (0+ / 0-)

    AFL-CIO and Mr. Trumka.  First, I want to mention that I checked out your site a couple of weeks ago and I was really impressed by what I saw and the things you're doing with it.

    Today I have a specific question, thought it might be off topic.  I read a short excerpt yesterday that said the unions are supporting Markey but only reluctantly or in a smaller way than they might otherwise, and the reason has to do with oil and gas contracts? Is this accurate?  I'd like to know more about that because it seems to me that a senator like Markey would be a hell of a lot more beneficial to Labor than a Republican.  That seems like the understatement of the year.


    "Justice is a commodity"

    by joanneleon on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:04:53 AM PDT

  •  Let's talk about selling out your allies. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kit RMP

    Greens are progressive allies to the labor movement. We should all be in this together for a sustainable and fair economy. Accelerating climate change by expanding development of the tar sands is inconsistent with that progressive goal, and selling out your allies is inconsistent with building and strengthening the labor movement:
    http://thehill.com/...

    The tar sands blockade is a picket line. Cross it and you're a scab to me.

    Passive renunciation is not the whole of wisdom.

    by play jurist on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:40:23 AM PDT

  •  Definition -- (0+ / 0-)

    What is work? I'd say it is any creative effort for which the producer gets compensated either before, during or after expending the effort. Whether that compensation is in the form of currency (a certified IOU) or not is significant, but not determinative. That is, effort/labor does not have to be paid money to be work, but money helps make the accounting more effective.
    Given that definition, it can be argued, I think, that historical family farms on which almost no currency changed hands were not worse off than farm workers, who get pay, are now.
    And the Koch Brothers, whose assets are calculated in multiple billions of dollars, are not necessarily richer than the railroad tycoons who acquired rights of way and miles of land on either side for no money at all.
    Congress doled most of our natural resources out before they were quantified in dollars.
    Dollars tell us about relative values and that's helpful, but they don't define the quality of our environment or our lives. Indeed, sometimes it seems the relationship between quantity and quality is inverse.
    Certainly, when it comes to public services dealing with disutilities, the relationship between need and success is inverse. That is, the more successful the public service, the less need for it. This is a drawback the public often doesn't understand and leads to calls for reducing public works and workers if the need isn't obvious.

    "They also serve who only stand and wait," should be widely proclaimed. Indeed, decades of eliminating redundancy has left us in a precarious situation at all levels of enterprise. We can't rely on machines doing the waiting for us.

    The word of the moment, sequestration, is really just a re-branding of a decades-old Congressional habit of rationing the currency in order, for the most part, to promote their own longevity in office by controlling the flow. Rerouting the flow of dollars from the Treasury through the Federal Reserve Banks so the banksters can lend them back to the Treasury (as the national debt) to collect dividends for no work is a gigantic scam that's been going on for a hundred years.
    Note that the people have started to catch on. The last three House elections have sent 210 freshmen to Capitol Hill. We no longer hear about the "value" of incumbency. But, the remaining deadwood still haven't got the message that messing with the economy by rationing the currency is not appreciated.
    Markey in Massachusetts going from 36 years in the House to the Senate should give us a turn.

    It's ironic that Nixon got rid of the "cross of gold," but the petty potentates on Capitol Hill made it possible for the speculators on Wall Street to do what Nixon feared foreign speculators would do. Not only does laundering dollars through the Fed give the banksters a first cut of every dollar published, but by refusing to collect adequate revenue (to recycle the dollars) and requiring the states to borrow for capital expenditures, the Capitol Hill gang insures that the dividend "cut" is even larger. And then, to complete the triple treat, financiers aren't even taxed on this free money from federal and municipal bonds.
    The accumulation of currency by the 1% is not a happenstance -- no more than when reading and writing skills were restricted to the religious class.
    Figments of the imagination, it turns out, are really easy to ration.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Tue May 07, 2013 at 04:54:14 AM PDT

  •  I would like to see a take-no-prisoners attitude (0+ / 0-)

    toward Democrats in Congress who undermine the party's values — especially those "Democrats" who vote to impose austerity on (basically) everyone but themselves.

    I would like to see labor directly mount primary challenges.  

    I would like to see labor excoriate and actively oppose those "Democrats" who say one thing at election time, then forget about working people as soon as the votes are counted.  

    I think you can start with any "Democrat" in either the House or Senate who voted "YES" on the so-called Budget Control Act of 2011.  Labor does not have a single friend among them — and yes, Al Franken, I'm talking about YOU.

    Shirley Chisholm was right. Our Republic is in deep trouble.

    by Big River Bandido on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:34:06 AM PDT

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