Some good reading on the organized labor movement

It comes from the American Prospect:

Imagine America without unions. This shouldn’t be hard. In much of America unions have already disappeared. In the rest of America they’re battling for their lives.

Unions have been declining for decades. In the early 1950s, one out of three American workers belonged to them, four out of ten in the private sector. Today, only 11.8 percent of American workers are union members; in the private sector, just 6.9 percent. The vanishing act varies by region—in the South, it’s almost total—but proceeds relentlessly everywhere. Since 1983, the number of states in which at least 10 percent of private-sector workers have union contracts has shrunk from 42 to 8.

[…]

That labor must take some of the blame for its troubles doesn’t let liberals off the hook. Time was when bolstering the power of labor within the economy—“the labor question,” as it was called in the Progressive Era—was central to the liberal project. But once the New Deal and the union upsurge of the 1930s and 1940s created the first middle-class majority in the history of the world, the labor question fell off the list of liberals’ concerns.

Liberals were right to privilege the struggles of African Americans, women, and gays. But over the past 40 years, labor grew weak while corporations grew stronger than ever before—so strong that their control of government now threatens most of the liberal agenda. Which is why we must turn again to the labor question, to the battle for economic power that is an inherent feature of capitalist democracy.

For the record: Patrick J. Buchanan has been saying the same thing for years.

Here:

Who killed the U.S. auto industry?

To hear the media tell it, arrogant corporate chiefs failed to foresee the demand for small, fuel-efficient cars and made gas-guzzling road-hog SUVs no one wanted, while the clever, far-sighted Japanese, Germans and Koreans prepared and built for the future.

I dissent. What killed Detroit was Washington, the government of the United States, politicians, journalists and muckrakers who have long harbored a deep animus against the manufacturing class that ran the smokestack industries that won World War II.

and here, this is the best one. I will quote the entire piece, because it is that good:

In 1958, Senate Minority Leader William Knowland, his eye on the 1960 GOP nomination coveted by fellow Californian Richard Nixon, went home and declared for governor.

Knowland’s plan: Ride to victory on the back of Proposition 18, the initiative to make right-to-work the law in the Golden Land. Prop. 18 was rejected 2 to 1. Knowland’s career was over, and the Republicans were decimated nationally for backing right-to-work.

Badly burned, the party for years ran away from the issue.

This history makes what happened in Michigan, cradle of the United Auto Workers, astonishing. A GOP legislature passed and Gov. Rick Snyder signed a right-to-work law as libertarian as any in Red State America.

The closed shop, where a worker must belong to the union before being hired, is dead. The union shop, where an individual must join the union once hired, is dead. The agency shop, where a worker cannot be made to join a union but can be required to pay dues if the union is the agent negotiating the contract for all workers, is dead.

Michigan just legislated the open shop.

And behind the blue-collar bellicosity in Lansing is this new reality. Non-union workers can now “free ride” on union contracts. This is close to a non-survivable wound for labor.

Workers who do not belong to unions will cease paying dues, and union members will begin quietly to quit and pocket their dues money.

Why pay dues if you don’t have to? Why contribute a dime to a union PAC if you don’t have to, or don’t like labor’s candidates?

Michigan workers are not going to suffer. They have simply been given the freedom to join or not join a union, to pay or not pay dues. And while wages in right-to-work states such as Virginia, Tennessee, Texas and Florida are slightly below those of other states, employment in right-to-work states is higher.

For these are the states where domestic and foreign investors look to site new plants. The BMW assembly plant is in Greenville-Spartanburg, S.C., the Mercedes plant in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Volkswagen and Nissan plants in Tennessee. As Gov. Rick Perry boasts, Texas has been the biggest job creator in the Obama recession.

But union power is going to be circumscribed as non-union workers elect to free-ride and union members start resigning. And just as Michigan saw Indiana creating jobs after passing right-to-work, other states may observe Michigan and go forth and do likewise.

There are now 24 right-to-work states. But while these laws arrested the rise of the house of labor, there was an inevitability to its fall. Who are the collective killers? Like the murder on the Orient Express, just about everyone on the train.

First came automation. A third of U.S. workers were unionized in the 1950s. But with new technologies, we discovered we did not need so many men to dig coal, make steel or print newspapers. We did not need firemen riding in the cabs of diesel locomotives.

A second blow came with the postwar rise of Germany and Japan. Their plants and equipment were all newer than ours. Their wages were far lower, as they did not carry the burden of defending the Free World. Under our defense umbrella, they began to invade and capture our markets.

And Uncle Sam let them do it.

A third blow to Big Labor, concentrated in the Frost Belt, came from the Sun Belt. With air conditioning making summers tolerable, the South offered less expensive and more reliable labor than a North where union demands were constant and strikes common.

But the mortal blow to American unions came from globalization.

With the collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and China propelling hundreds of millions of new workers into the global hiring hall, U.S. multinationals saw historic opportunity.

If they could move factories out of the U.S.A., they would be free of union demands, wage-and-hour laws, occupational health and safety laws, environmental laws and civil rights law. By outsourcing, they could produce for a fraction of the cost of doing so in the U.S.A.

And if they could get the U.S. political class, in return for corporate generosity at election time, to let them bring their foreign-made goods back to the U.S.A., tax and tariff free, profits would explode, and salaries and bonuses with them.

The corporate establishment and political establishment shook hands, the deed was done, and the fate of U.S. industrial unions sealed. So came NAFTA, GATT, the World Trade Organization, MFN for China, free trade with all.

And with globalization came trade deficits unlike any the world had ever seen, a loss of one-third of U.S. manufacturing jobs in the last decade, a U.S. dependence on foreign-made goods almost as great as in colonial days, the enrichment of our corporate and financial elites beyond the dreams of avarice, and the decline and fall of the house of labor.

Unions are dying because, in America, economic patriotism is dead.

The Democratic Party and the Republican Party both, need to get their collective heads out of their anal cavities about free trade, globalism and the American worker, not to mention the labor movement itself, spending, the federal reserve and much more. Otherwise, we are going to be living in a Nation where people are working pennies a day.

The United States is on a trajectory that cannot continue or we are going to be in some serious trouble. This is why, to a point, I support Donald Trump; as he is the only one talking about ending free trade and putting back in tariffs on imports. Trump might be a loose cannon; but I believe he knows what made his fortune and that was American Capitalism and not imports.

Anti-Union blowhard Senator Bob Corker “I am Anti-UAW”

This blowhard son-of-a-bitch makes my skin want to crawl. 😡

The Video:

The Story via the Corner:

The United Automobile Workers’ failure to form a union at a Chattanooga, Tenn., Volkswagen plant after two years of organizing efforts was a result welcomed by Senator Bob Corker. Corker, who vocally opposed unionization throughout the process, has been the target of criticism by pro-union activists for weighing in on the situation. On Wednesday, he continued his outspokenness on the matter.

“I’m not anti-union — I’m anti-UAW because of all the destruction they’ve done to jobs in our country and what they’re about,” Corker, who previously served as mayor of Chattanooga, told Fox News. “This was all about money.”

Last week, workers at the Volkswagen plant rejected joining the union. Had it been successful, it would have been the first foreign-owned plant to have been organized by the UAW.

As the son of a General Motors worker and UAW Member; I happen to think that the citizens of the great State of Tennessee need to become Anti-Corker. Because anyone that thinks that the UAW was the sole cause of Detroit’s decline, or is solely responsible for the decline in American manufacturing, is obviously too stupid to drive a car, much less be a Senator in Congress.

Unions are not happy with Obamacare

I knew this was coming, this is why I was against the idea of Government-run healthcare insurance in this first place. AFL-CIO boss is supposedly working on it, but I don’t expect much.

Here’s the quote of the day from The Hill:

“We are disappointed that the non-profit health plans offered by unions have not been given the same consideration as the Catholic Church, big business and Capitol Hill staffers,” Unite Here President D. Taylor told The Hill. …

“The Democrats have completely given the store away to the for-profit industry,” Taylor said. “Without any question, we have a scenario set up that ObamaCare has turned all the money over to the for-profit plans and the non-profit plans will fade away.”

“With open enrollment set to begin on October 1, time is of the essence, so we are working hard every day to find a solution to protect our members’ healthcare,” said Tim Schlittner, a spokesman for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW). …

“The administration has found resolutions for a whole variety of issues and the fact that their biggest supporters will be put at the mercy of the for-profit insurance industry will leave a very bad, bad taste,” Taylor said. “You can’t blame the Republicans on this one. This is a Democratic bill through and through.”

You see now why I was so against Obamacare? Makes sense doesn’t it?

Ouch indeed. But, that’s what they get for supporting and endorsing a President based solely upon skin color. This ought to also be an eye-opener for the organized labor movement as well; that the Democratic Party is really no longer their friend and that the Democratic Party is not looking out for their best interests anymore. It has been this way since the Clinton era and it is still that way. The old American worker first Democratic Party has given away to the internationalist Democrats who see the United States the lens of the world and could honestly care less about the American worker.

Case in point: You don’t see President Obama at these fast food strike rallies do you? No. and you won’t either. President Obama could honestly care less about those people. They were there for him to vote for him and now that Obama is in his second term. He could honestly care less about them at all. I mean, in all honesty the strikes are quite dumb and the unions are only targeting the corporate stores in the mostly minority neighborhoods.

None of the McDonald’s stores in my neighborhood here in Lincoln Park have been targeted at all. Want to know why? Because they are franchise stores and if McDonald’s corporate decided to start paying corporate store employees $15.00 an hour; the franchise stores would NOT have to follow suit. Why? Because they are iindependently owned. McDonald’s corporate does not set wages, the Independent owners do. Unless it is a corporate owned store and there are not too many of them in this area.

So, unless the Government raises the minimum wage in this country, which I happen to feel should be abolished; these protestors, who are being supported by the labor unions —– are pissing in the wind.

(H/T Hotair.com who says, “Ouch.”)

Setting the record straight about Unions and the Civil Rights Movement

I notice with a bit of sadness that NeoConservative Blogger Glenn Reynolds AKA InstaPundit has taken to outright lying about the Unions and the Civil Right movement.

Allow me to point this out to Glenn and anyone else who happens to read Glenn Reynold’s blog.

This is from the UAW Region 8 Website’s entry about Walter Reuther:

The rights of all people was another battle that found Walter Reuther on the frontlines. In 1959 he met Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the two became fast friends. While some labor organizations were slow to come on board with the Civil Rights movement, President Walter Reuther committed the UAW’s help up front. Reuther joined Dr. King on many of his marches and gave an address to the crowd to open the historic “march to Selma.” Again he joined Dr. King to protest in Birmingham as the crowd was met with fire hoses and police dogs. It was in fact Reuther who bailed King out of jail following the demonstration.

In 1963 Dr. King felt the time was right to take their message to the national stage and became planning a march on Washington. However, being the methodical thinker that he was, King decided to hold a march in Detroit to test the waters before going to Washington. The “Walk to Freedom March” was organized from an office at the UAW’s headquarters Solidarity House, with space donated by Walter Reuther. Dr. King also planned the March of Washington from the same office.

During the March on Washington, Walter Reuther was the only Caucasian to speak from the podium that day. Afterwards, one of Reuther’s aides overheard two ladies backstage discussing who he was. One asked the other is she knew him, to which the reply came “that is Walter Reuther, and he is as good a man as Dr. King.” It is said that Reuther always considered that statement a great complement.

President Reuther knew that education was the key to social improvement and late in his life he dedicated much of his time to that cause. His final achievement was building the Walter and May Reuther Family Education Center (better known as Black Lake) in northern Michigan. The visionincluded classrooms and facilities so UAW members could assemble and be educated on the issues of the day. Reuther took an extreme interest in the project, even personally decided which trees would be saved in the construction. The center rivals anything of its kind in terms of design and purpose. On May 09, 1970 Walter and May Reuther, Architect Oscar Stonorov and their pilot were on their way to view the completed facility just prior to the official opening. Their plane went down in a rainstorm near Pellston, Michigan.

Walter Reuther is quoted as saying “There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow man. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” If this is the case, then Walter Reuther must have surely died a satisfied man. His contributions to working class people the world over should never be forgotten. Reuther knew that social justice is at the heart of everything that organized labor stands for and his legacy is an inspiration to all those who continue his work today.

So much for that little talking point, eh Glenn? :roll:

This is my problem with the NeoCon right; they just cannot tell the truth about anything related to blacks, unions and foreign policy.  Which is why I simply will not vote for them, at all. 😡

I do not support the politics of the likes of Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson; but I also do not support the lying idiocy of the likes of Glenn Reynolds.

A Thinking Americanist EXCLUSIVE: UAW gearing for a major battle with Detroit’s big 3 automakers

UAW is gearing up for a major battle!

This is an exclusive scoop right here on Thinking Americanist.  You will not read this anywhere else, and I am giving this scoop, because I believe people have a right to know.

I was at the union hall today with my Father, today was the retirees meeting and I received some information from someone who is very much in the know of what is going on internally with the UAW and it’s goings on.

Basically, what my source told me is this: The UAW is gearing up for a major protracted battle with the big three when it comes to contracts and benefits for the active and retirees with GM and the other two major automakers. Basically, it boils down to this here; as we all know the big three went through some financial hardships a few years ago. Well, now the hardships are over and the big three are now selling vehicles again and doing rather well for themselves.

What is happening is this here; every time the UAW approaches the big three and asks them about restoring the previous benefits, they are giving the attitude of, “You guys ought to be glad we are still in business and did not just file for bankruptcy and cut you all out of the loop.” Well, needless to say, that is not going to work for the UAW and its members.

So, as you can very well imagine the UAW is gearing up for a majorly huge battle for better contracts and the restoring of the former benefits and they are also going to push for all these new workers to get wages on par with the workers who have been there for years. The stuff I heard was that the UAW is prepared to walk out and strike to get what they want and they are not afraid to make it a long-term thing either.

I will refrain from my normal commentary on stuff like this; because quite simply; I just want to give you all the facts of what I heard.

However, I do have an open message to the UAW: I hope you all know that what it is that you are doing; and please, whatever you do, do not do what the union that represented Hostess employees did. That was nothing more than unmitigated foolishness.  My Father worked for General Motors for 31 years, and for him to lose his pension over something, like a union’s obstante stupidity is inexcusable. Please, choose wisely.

 

Remembering Cesar Chavez

Cesar Chavez with Walter Reuther, back when The UAW, AFL-CIO, and UFW, each respectfully were actually worth a damn.

Honestly, I really do not know what this here is all about. However, I will say this, most Neoconservatives hate unions, which is why Google is getting poo-poo’ed by the so-called right. On the other hand, Pat Buchanan has always written pieces that defended the American and Detroit auto workers; and yes, Unions. The UFW is not what it once was; that is because the left shifted from being a protectionist sort, when it came to the borders of this Country, to an open borders sort of political entity. As with the UAW, it’s strength has been sapped by globalists, who would sell America’s soul for the making of a quick dollar.

Both of these fine men have left us; what they have left, sometimes greatly disappoints me. Some of it, was their own doing. Some of it, was simply a changing of the times, and was due to the advance of globalism. Either way, it is sad to see three once powerful organizations, which were created simply for the preservation of the dignity of the middle class in this Country; now turned into a shadow of their former selves, by people who put evil agendas ahead of the American people. Those people exist on BOTH SIDES of the political aisle and they exist in the very organizations themselves.

Walter Reuther’s and Cesar Chavez’s America has long past us by; it has been replaced with a new, more frightful America. One where fascism  and oppression of Religion and Freedom of Speech are the norm; in the so-called “land of the free and home of the brave.” It is has been replaced by an America, where unneeded and unwanted War is now called “Necessary Military Action.” A Nation that was once the envy of the World, for its prosperity and wealth; has now been replaced by a Nation that is 16 trillion dollars in debt and whom its industrial base has been shipped overseas.

America is a much darker and sinister place, than it was in the days of Walter Reuther and Cesar Chavez; and the only persons that are to blame for it; is our owned damned selves.

May Walter Reuther and Cesar Chavez both rest in peace; and may the memory of what they both stood for, in their day, never been forgotten.

(Image via the Walter Reuther Library Collection)