Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Check Out the Bridge I'm Selling On eBay!

An interesting piece in today's NYT about how companies are hiring professional union busters:
"They did everything they could to make the union look bad," Larry Brown, a union vice president, said.

Many workers became angry with the union over the pay cuts, especially because they received no raises from 1995 to 2001.

The anger fueled the effort to oust the union. Tom Brown organized anti-union meetings, sent mailings to the plant's 500 workers and asked them to sign cards saying they wanted the union out.

Mr. Brown testified that Mr. X, the company consultant, had given him advice. EnerSys officials later admitted that they had paid the consultant $39,000 to help guide the anti-union campaign. Mr. Brown also acknowledged that company officials had given him stamps for anti-union mailings.

One of the many Republican lies that the bah-bah Dems have been reluctant to answer, "Pro-Labor is Anti-Worker" has got to be the silliest. Look, I understand how some workers would take the bait of "Labor hurts business and that means you might lose your job" but even that falls apart when you reveal the real reasons for companies shipping jobs overseas (enriching shareholders and upper-tier management, shifting capital to other industries or investment).

On the face of it, "Pro-Labor is Anti-Worker" just doesn't make a lick of sense. Unions exist in order to advocate for worker's rights but Big Business and Republicans have been able to convince workers that Unions only want to collect dues. Huh? You mean Unions aren't there to negotiate better wages, benefits, employment guarantees, pension protections, advocating safer working conditions and limiting the amount of hours an employer can demand from workers? Right, because companies are well-known for taking care of those details themselves.

Unfortunately, the DLC and Clinton Democrats were unwilling to lift a finger for labor. That centrist/corporatist attitude is arguably a miscalculation that cost Dems the last election. As the Supreme Court and the government became less friendly to Labor, Clinton and the DLC stood back and raked in corporate donations. Small wonder workers have become disillusioned with Dems as the party that would protect their interests. With both parties apparently forsaking the American worker, economic interests are pretty much moot as a campaign issue.

I'm not saying that anyone has to appropriate "Pro-business is Anti-worker" as a platform. There was a time in this country when unions thrived - and so did the US economy. But as long as the Dems pay little more than lip-service to unions and American workers, working-class voters have little choice between the two existing parties.


<< Home