Labor = Charlie Brown, Obama = Lucy

1 comment December 23rd, 2009at 06:08pm Posted by Eli


At what point is the labor movement going to realize that it’s getting punked?

Eleven months into office, President Obama has proven to be one of the most union-friendly White House occupants in recent memory. His staff is in constant contact with union officials, granting them access and input given to few other organizations. And yet, on some of the major legislative items, his administration has disappointed labor: an economic recovery plan that was too fixated on Wall Street, the punting of the Employee Free Choice Act until 2010 and the willingness to drop a public option for insurance coverage.

Labor leaders are loath to publicly criticize Obama, in part because they remain acutely aware of the benefits of staying in his (and WH chief of staff Rahm Emanuel’s) good favor. But in private, there is a growing “frustration,” as one union official put it. And as it became clear that the Senate was settling on a health care bill that taxes high-end plans (which cover many union members as well as other workers) and includes no additional government-run plan for insurance, a hint of that frustration seeped to the surface.

“What I want the president to do is to work with the conferees on the issues that he has said from the very beginning are important to him and say we have a chance to get some of those done, particularly the ones that relate to making sure that people who don’t have insurance will be able to afford what is made available,” SEIU President Andy Stern declared in a conference call this past week. “We need his moral suasion. We need his personal involvement and we are totally convinced that what we want done is what he wants done. And all we can do is maximize the effort.”

I think it’s blindingly obvious at this point that staying on Obama’s good side has bought Labor exactly nothing, and will continue to buy them nothing.  If they don’t start threatening to withhold their support (not just votes, but GOTV and organizational muscle) in the 2010 and 2012 elections, they will continue to get diddly-squat from the Obama White House.

The unions need to stop begging for scraps and start using their leverage.  No more “pretty please”; it’s time for “or else”.

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Politics,Wankers

1 Comment

  • 1. Multi Medium » Don&&hellip  |  February 10th, 2010 at 6:15 pm

    […] on the Senate’s terrible healthcare reform bill in exchange for sugarplum visions of EFCA, I wrote: I think it’s blindingly obvious at this point that staying on Obama’s good side has bought […]

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