Posts filed under 'Labor'

Bipartisanship!

Well, isn’t that sweet – Paul Ryan and Rahm Emanuel have found something that they agree on (or perhaps I should say, that they admit that they agree on): That labor unions are fucking retarded.

1 comment September 11th, 2012 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Education,Labor,Politics,Republicans,Ryan,Wankers

No One Could Have Anticipated…

Apparently the Republicans are having trouble finding enough women to support their war on women.  I can’t imagine why that might be.

Good thing for Obama and the Democrats that labor unions are a lot more forgiving about supporting people who screw them over repeatedly.

March 12th, 2012 at 07:42am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Labor,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Sexism

Wanker Of The Day

Barack Obama in 2007:

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

As you will recall, when American workers were denied their right to collectively bargain in Wisconsin, Obama did precisely nothing.  And now…

Barack Obama in 2011:

“Take off your bedroom slippers. Put on your marching shoes,” he said, his voice rising as applause and cheers mounted. “Shake it off. Stop complainin’. Stop grumblin’. Stop cryin’. We are going to press on. We have work to do.”

You have some nerve, Mr. President.  Don’t ask anyone on the left to march with you if you’re not willing to march with them.

September 26th, 2011 at 07:17am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Wankers Of The Day

Rush Limbaugh (on pensions): “I never once in my life have expected to be paid by a place when I no longer worked there.”

Admirable self-reliance coming from a man who is set for life and has never actually needed a pension.

Shorter Mitch McConnell: Why isn’t Obama sending jobs overseas faster?

I guess Mitch still has some doubts about whether he’ll be able to achieve his single most important goal next year.

September 7th, 2011 at 07:14am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Politics,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Question Of The Day

Why is it that inexpensive immigrants taking American jobs is some kind of terrible stealth invasion, but inexpensive convicts taking American jobs is a success story?

1 comment July 7th, 2011 at 07:23pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Immigration,Labor,Republicans,Unemployment,Wankers

Even Massachusetts Dems Aren’t Dems Anymore

When even Democrats in one of our bluest states are acting like Scott Walker, it’s not hard to see why unions are starting to walk away from them in disgust.  2012 is already likely to be another bad election for the Democrats (who will likely be relying on an inspiring “We may suck, but at least we’re not crazy” campaign strategy), I wonder how much worse it will be if the unions sit on their hands (or boots on the ground, as the case may be).

By the way, I really have to quibble with Mike Elk’s last paragraph here:

While Democrats have been less brazen in their attacks on public employees’ unions, they have still attacked public employees unions. Why is that? It’s because it’s often less politically risky for Democrats weary of taking on the rich to go after unions than to call for higher taxes on the rich.

Saying that Democrats are “weary of taking on the rich” is like me saying I’m tired of fighting Mike Tyson.

April 28th, 2011 at 08:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Labor,Politics,Wankers

Shared Sacrifice

This is quite possibly the most perfect representation yet of the Republican concept of “shared sacrifice”: GE employs every strategy known to man to not only avoid paying taxes on $14 billion in profits, but actually wrangles a $3.2 billion tax CREDIT

And then turns around and tells 15,000 employees that they need to take big pay and benefit cuts.  Because, I guess, $14 billion in profits plus a $3.2 billion tax credit just isn’t enough to get by on these days.

True, it’s not a perfect analogy to Obama extending tax cuts for the rich and then saying that government workers (and most other non-millionaires) will have to tighten their belts because of the deficit, but it’s the same combination of a huge tax windfall for the rich coupled with everyone else getting screwed.  The biggest difference in GE’s case is that instead of providing an excuse for screwing workers, the tax windfall does pretty much the exact opposite.

March 31st, 2011 at 12:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Labor,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Wankers

Thrower-Outer’s Remorse?

I saw a remarkable number recently – Michigan’s union-busting Republican governor won election by 18 points last year, but if he had to run for election today, just a few months later, he would lose. And I think a lot of other similar governors (i.e., Scott Walker, Rick Scott) are in a similar situation.

So what I’m wondering is what exactly the message is here. Is it solely about appalled voters finally realizing just what it is they voted for, or is it a measure of just how disgusted they were with Obama and the Democrats that they would vote for anybody just to send a message?

Sometimes you don’t have to provide an appealing alternative – just an alternative.

4 comments March 23rd, 2011 at 12:55pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Elections,Labor,Politics,Polls,Republicans

WI-GOP Continue To Act Like 12-Year-Olds

Un-fricking-believable.

A resolution proposed on Wednesday would allow Wisconsin Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R) to “assign supervision over any employee appointed by a Senator who is absent without leave for 2 or more session days.”….

(…)

The resolution has Democratic staffers spooked and unsure of what is coming next. One scenario worrying Democrats that if their new supervisor decides they’re not adequately performing their duties and fires them.

(…)

In another resolution passed on Wednesday, Senate Democrats will now face a fine of $100 for every day they are out of state.

According to the resolution, “a senator who is absent without leave from two or more session days is subject to a penalty equal to $100 for each day that the senator is absent without leave. In addition, the senator must reimburse the senate for the actual costs incurred to compel his or her attendance.” If a senator does not pay the penalties within 30 days, the chief clerk may simply withdraw it from his or her per diem, travel expenses or other matters.

The resolution also authorizes the sergeant at arms to “request the assistance of any law enforcement officer in this state to find and return any senator who is absent without leave.”

On Monday, Republicans introduced another resolution aimed at staffers, one which rolled back access codes to the copy machines in the statehouse. Staffers for absent senators must also get the majority leader’s office to sign off on their timesheets.

And under a rule adopted last week, absent senators can no longer to receive their paychecks via direct deposit. They have to go and pick them up in person on the Senate floor during a session.

And all this is, of course on the heels of the 2011 Stupidity Protection Act.  Apparently every single grown-up in the WI state senate is in Illinois right now.

March 3rd, 2011 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Politics,Republicans,Wankers

Common Ground

Boy, Obama sure can pick ‘em.  Remember this fawning WaPo Pete Peterson Times story about new BFFs Andy Stern (former head of SEIU) and David Cote (CEO of Honeywell) working hand-in-hand to help Alan Simpson achieve his lifelong dream of gutting Social Security?

Wonder what Andy Stern thinks of his good buddy now?

March 2nd, 2011 at 11:27am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Labor,Obama,Social Security,Wankers

Thank You, Scott Walker

You’ve probably done more to help the labor movement than any progressive activist, organization or politician could ever hope for.  Congratulations on a job well done!

March 1st, 2011 at 11:38am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Wankers

What Exactly Are The WI State Troopers Doing?

I sure would like to hear a little more about this tidbit that Dana Milbank mentions in passing:

I reached the unacceptably reasonable and pragmatic Cullen by phone in Illinois, where he is hiding out from Wisconsin state troopers who, dispatched by state Republicans, had been at his home each of the past two nights to try to force him back to the capitol.

The AP reports that the troopers went to the Democratic state senators’ homes and “knocked on the doors and looked around” and that they had supposedly heard reports that some of the senators had come back to Wisconsin.

So am I picturing this right?  State troopers are showing up every night at the homes of state senators that everyone knows are not there, banging on the doors and snooping around (you know, in case maybe the senator snuck home despite all reporting to the contrary), and maybe telling their families that they need to come back right away?

Is Scott Walker using government employees to harass and intimidate the families of state senators who are trying to protect the collective bargaining rights of other government employees?

(Cross-posted at MyFDL)

February 26th, 2011 at 10:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Republicans,Wankers

Start Walkin’

YouTube Preview Image

We’re waiting…

In the “flashback quote of the day” at Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, he highlights words from candidate Barack Obama, made in a 2007 speech (and referenced in Slate). That quote is as follows (spoken word differs slightly from the prepared text quoted by others, what follows is transcribed from the video):

And understand this: If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I will walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America. Because workers deserve to know that somebody is standing in their corner.

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that quotes like this from President Fierce Advocate almost always mean the exact opposite.  Or maybe he’s just waiting until after Wisconsin’s public employees have their collective bargaining rights taken away.

Come to think of it, Obama promising to make some kind of symbolic gesture after the damage has already been done doesn’t really sound so far-fetched after all…

February 25th, 2011 at 11:29am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Fungibility Fun

So David Waldman points out Scott Walker’s bizarre fungibility argument against public unions:

Public sector unions, Walker’s theory goes, must be smashed because they “lobby” the government to pay their members more, and then their members use their pay to kick in dues, which are used to “lobby” for even more money. That’s precisely the argument Republicans used against liberal-leaning interest groups in the 1990s. Almost verbatim. But what makes the theory so dangerous is that following its logic, every dollar a public sector employee is paid is and always remains “taxpayer money.” Just as in H.R. 3, where tax deductions granted to offsetting the cost of buying insurance coverage become “fungible” and therefore turn every dollar in your wallet forever into “taxpayer money,” so that Republicans can forbid you from using even money every normal American thought of as your own to pay for insurance plans that cover abortion.

Funny that the Republicans have absolutely no problem at all with the idea that the taxpayer money that the government forgoes in tax cuts to rich people and corporations is then used by those rich people and corporations to lobby the government for even more tax cuts.  A lot more successfully than any lobbying by public unions ever, I might add.

February 25th, 2011 at 06:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Labor,Politics,Republicans,Taxes,Wankers

Is Labor The New Latinos?

The HuffPost Hill raises an interesting question:

According to 2008 exit polls, John McCain won 37% of union members nationally, while picking up 35% in Wisconsin and 41% in Ohio. Now, if you’re a union member, it’s long been fine to vote Republican for the guns and the other stuff, knowing that the GOP isn’t the workingman’s best friend, but he’s not gonna be that much worse than the Democrat. That’s the calculation that created the Reagan Democrat and has kept the GOP competitive for several generations. But what happens to that calculation when Republicans make a real attempt to ELIMINATE YOUR UNION? If that union number drops from 37 to, say, 25, how does the GOP get to an electoral majority?

I think this is a lot like immigration – a golden opportunity that the Democrats are squandering by trying to out-Republican the Republicans.  Just as Obama is kicking Dubya’s ass on the number of deportations, we also see him and other Democrats like Andrew Cuomo and Rahm Emanuel embracing the GOP gospel of scapegoating public unions for budget shortfalls and trying to freeze or cut their pay.

So once again, instead of seizing the opportunity and locking up a key constituency, Obama and the Democrats are desperately trying to hand them back to the Republicans.  Brilliant.

February 24th, 2011 at 08:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Immigration,Labor,Politics,Polls,Republicans,Wankers

With Dems Like These, Andrew Cuomo Edition

First Andrew Cuomo wanted to cut the pay of government workers to cut New York’s deficit, and now it looks like he’s following Rick Scott’s lead on deficit reduction:

As many New Yorkers struggle to make ends meet and state and city budget deficits skyrocket, our rookie governor has a new, astonishing trick for his recovery plan – tax cuts for the wealthy.

That’s right, Gov. Cuomo, the Democrat, wants to join all those Republicans in Albany and slash an income tax surcharge for every New Yorker making more than $200,000 a year – a mere 5% of the population.

Awesome.  Just like any other Republican, Cuomo doesn’t care about deficit reduction or fiscal responsibility, just in making the middle class and working class pay for giveaways to the rich.

February 23rd, 2011 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Politics,Taxes,Wankers

Wisconsin Question

I haven’t seen anything about the National Guard showing up in Wisconsin yet like Governor Walker was threatening.  Did he realize that it would be a terrible idea, or did Obama suddenly remember that he’s Commander-In-Chief and order the National Guard not to engage in any strike-breaking?

1 comment February 19th, 2011 at 01:29pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Labor,Obama

Productivity Is Awesome!

Who among us does not love increased productivity?

The shoddy economy is leaving many workers feeling overworked, underpaid — and yet relieved to be employed at all.

“Fewer workers are doing more and more,” said Brett Good, a district president with staffing firm Robert Half, which has surveyed workers on this topic. “You’ve got a lot of people that are working harder, making less money — and you’re getting to a point of frustration.”

Employers have cut millions of jobs since the recession began in December 2007, driven by a drop in business and a desire to shore up costs and boost profits. Although the cost-cutting has helped propel a spate of strong earnings in recent weeks, pleasing Wall Street, it has left those who are still employed struggling to pick up the slack.

Fifty-six percent of Americans have taken on extra duties at work over the past two years because of staff cuts, according to insurer MetLife’s Study of the American Dream, which was conducted in April and released last week.

Employees also are cramming more work into each day. Labor productivity has moved steadily higher over the past two years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

(…)

Most people who are enduring harder says at the office probably are relieved just to be working, said David Bowles, a consultant and co-author of the book “Employee Morale: Driving Performance in Challenging Times.”

“The average worker is probably quite happy to have a job,” Bowles said. “The overriding feeling is (that) whatever’s happening to them, they are not on the other side of that fence.”

“Productivity” sure does sound an awful lot like “fear-driven overwork” to me.  Hey, why hire more workers when you can squeeze your existing ones into doing whatever you want for less pay because they’re deathly afraid of being unemployed?

August 3rd, 2010 at 07:23am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Economy,Labor

Democratic Party Still Thinks Progressives Are Fools

Oh, so now the Democrats are worried about progressive enthusiasm:

Party officials acknowledged low morale within their left wing and urged liberal bloggers and activists Friday to keep faith with President Barack Obama in an election year as Democrats brace for losses in Congress.

“We need to find a way to get our voters really engaged in this election,” Democratic National Committee executive director Jennifer O’Malley Dillon said at the annual Netroots Nation convention. “It’s more important, every single day, to know what’s at stake.”

Earth to Democrats: Your voters are not engaged because you’ve been either ignoring them or disparaging them for the past year and a half.  You used “healthcare reform” to deliver an enormous captive customer base to a rapacious health insurance industry while doing little to rein them in, you settled for a weak and ineffective stimulus bill, you pulled your punches on financial reform, you never lifted a finger for EFCA, you’re still foot-dragging on DADT, you’ve shown no more respect for the Constitution than the Bush administration, and you shamefully hung ACORN, Van Jones, Dawn Johnsen and Shirley Sherrod out to dry because you were afraid of conservative shriekers.

You called us “fucking retarded”, and complained that we threw money down the drain by supporting Bill Halter’s primary challenge against the anti-progressive Blanche Lincoln.  Why on earth should we be enthusiastic about supporting you when you so clearly have no respect for us at all?  Why should we care if you only have 52 seats in the Senate when you did so little when you had 59 and even 60?  (Yes, I’m aware that you passed bills called healthcare reform and financial reform, but that doesn’t mean they were progressive.)

You can’t jerk us around and spit on us and call us retards for all this time and then expect us to be your friends again just because you’ve suddenly realized you need us.  Trust and friendship has to be earned, and you haven’t even tried.

6 comments July 25th, 2010 at 01:14pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Economy,Healthcare,Labor,Obama,Politics,Teh Gay,Wankers

Great Moments In Up-Is-Downism

Chris Matthews compares Blanche Lincoln to Norma Rae:

What gave me hope last night was that we saw voters don’t like to be pushed around any more than I do. A lot of labor money went into the Arkansas Senate primary. It produced a lot of drama – stand-alone, who’s-side-are-you-on drama – and a real hero. Women celebrated in the pro-labor film “Norma Rae;” the irony is that the heroine, the Norma Rae, last night in Little Rock was the Democratic senator who labor tried to beat. Norma Rae’s name in this picture is Blanche Lincoln.

That’s right: Blanche Lincoln is a scrappy populist pro-worker underdog who took on Bill Halter’s mighty union-hating labor juggernaut, with no one at her side but Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, the Chamber Of Commerce, and the entire Democratic establishment.  Truly this is an upset for the ages.

June 10th, 2010 at 08:16am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Labor,Media,Obama,Politics,Wankers

One More Thought On Obama Vs. Labor

Perhaps the most telling thing of all about the Obama White House’s open hostility towards labor for supporting Halter over Lincoln is that it’s not like the unions took on one of Obama’s staunchest allies.  The unions opposed Lincoln because she helped torpedo EFCA and the public option, two things which Obama supposedly (emphasis on supposedly) really wanted.

So that tells us that:

A) Obama really really hates unions,

B) Obama really really likes conservative politicians who screw him over again and again,

C) Lincoln was in fact acting as Obama’s staunch ally by sabotaging progressive initiatives he cynically pretended to support in order to get elected, or

D) Some combination of both A and C.

None of these possibilities are exactly what I would call encouraging.

June 9th, 2010 at 06:20pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Healthcare,Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Wankers Of The Day

“Senior White House officials”:

A senior White House official just called me with a very pointed message for the administration’s sometime allies in organized labor, who invested heavily in beating Blanche Lincoln, Obama’s candidate, in Arkansas.

“Organized labor just flushed $10 million of their members’ money down the toilet on a pointless exercise,” the official said. “If even half that total had been well-targeted and applied in key House races across this country, that could have made a real difference in November.”

Yes, stupid organized labor, trying to get rid of one of their bitterest enemies in the Senate Democratic caucus, what could they possibly have been thinking?  (Does anyone else wonder if perhaps a lot of swear words were edited out of this totally anonymous “senior White House official”‘s quote?)

But wait, there’s more…

WH anger at labor predates tonight. Pelosi/Reid/Obama did a lot for labor and labor repays them by wasting $10 million. That’s their [c]laim.

Sure, that sounds reasonable, if you define “a lot” as “stringing them along with empty EFCA promises to retain their support for an increasingly shitty and public-optionless healthcare bill.” Besides, labor’s support for Halter wasn’t really  about what Pelosi/Reid/Obama did for labor, it was about what Blanche Lincoln did for labor.  Or rather, against labor.

4 comments June 9th, 2010 at 07:32am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Elections,Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Villain Of The Year

My God, how many miners has Don Blankenship killed now? Is he ever going to held accountable for his homicidal negligence?

April 6th, 2010 at 11:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Labor,Wankers

Deja Vu Epic Fail

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before:

The Pennsylvania State AFL-CIO voted to endorse Senator Arlen Specter for re-election today, David Dayen reports at our News Desk.  The state chapter of the AFL-CIO joins SEIU’s Pennsylvania State Council in supporting Specter.

(…)

Arlen Specter didn’t vocally oppose the Employee Free Choice Act.  He single-handedly killed the entire bill.

At the outset of 2009, the Employee Free Choice Act was cruising along quite well. With a big investment from unions and their allies, and a vocal opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and other Big Business groups, the debate on the Employee Free Choice Act was in full swing in political circles and the news media. While contentious, there was little doubt in my mind some form of significant labor law reform would pass early that year. (Disclosure: I was working for SEIU’s Employee Free Choice Act campaign at the time.)

Then Arlen Specter acted on the only thing he actually cares about: his own political survival. He could feel GOP primary opponent Pat Toomey breathing down his neck. A poll was released in March showing Specter getting crushed in the primary. So Specter made a move he thought would redeem himself with angry primary voters: without warning, Specter announced he would oppose the Employee Free Choice Act. When I say without warning, I mean no one saw it coming. The first person to hear about Specter’s newfound opposition was freaking Grover Norquist, who announced the news to a roomful of conservatives one morning. Grover knew before union leaders knew.

(…)

And so today, the unions of almost 1 million working Pennsylvanians have thrown their support to Specter’s re-election, promoting the fallacy that Specter is “the strongest advocate and supporter of…workers’ rights.”

Hey, remember when NARAL and Planned Parenthood told their members to thank Lieberman and Chafee for pretending to oppose Alito’s Supreme Court nomination by voting no on the nomination but yes on cloture?  When are supposedly progressive interest groups going to wake up and stop supporting their enemies and fair-weather friends?

1 comment March 31st, 2010 at 11:39am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Choice,Democrats,Labor,Lieberman,Pittsburgh/PA,Politics,Republicans,Specter,Wankers

Can’t Vs. Won’t

Much like healthcare reform and the public option, Obama’s slate of recess appointments once again show us that his failures are not the result of Republican obstruction, or even craven weakness in the face of Republican obstruction.  They are, in fact, deliberate choices.

Congratulations to Craig Becker, who has finally gotten his recess appointment to serve on the National Labor Relations Board. As well as 14 other people who were similarly recess appointed today.

Not on that list?

Dawn Johnsen.

Also per emptywheel, the White House’s “explanation” for the omission (“we didn’t appoint her because we didn’t appoint her; maybe we’ll appoint her later, it’s all the Republicans’ fault”) is not an explanation at all, especially when you consider that OLC is kind of an important office to be leaving vacant, and Johnsen has been waiting well over a year at this point:

Of the 77 people on the calendar, we are only recess appointing 15 and there are a number of qualified individuals the President has nominated that do not fall in this group.  If the Republicans do not end their campaign of obstruction, the President reserves the option of exerting his authority to recess appoint qualified individuals in the future, but our hope is that we can move beyond the partisan politics that have held up the process for the last fifteen months for the good of the American people.

Labor got Becker because they were in line for a reward for backing Obama’s godawful public-optionless healthcare reform bill, but the Constitution and the Office of Legal Counsel have no constituency – or at least not one that can deliver dollars or votes, and certainly not one that Obama gives a damn about.  Just like the public option.

March 28th, 2010 at 02:25pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Labor,Obama,Wankers

Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn Unions…

Football

Back in December when Labor was supporting (or at least holding its fire) 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 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”.

And also:

It is simply amazing to me that the unions are still supporting the terrible Senate healthcare bill in hopes that Obama will push for EFCA in return. How can they possibly still believe that after watching the way the stimulus, bailout, climate reform, financial reform, and healthcare reform have played out?

If Obama “supports” EFCA the way he supported healthcare reform and the public option, union members will end up paying dues directly to their employers.

And what happened?  Scott Brown got elected to Teddy Kennedy’s seat without EFCA getting anywhere near the Senate floor, and now the unions are justifiably pissed.  But it is not strictly accurate to say that the possibility of EFCA passing died in that special election last month; it’s more accurate to say that the useful illusion that EFCA might pass is what died.  Because there was simply no way that EFCA was ever going to pass a Senate ruled by corrupt treacherous scumbags like Joe Lieberman and Ben Nelson.

It’ll be interesting to see just what Labor does now that the Democrats can’t hold EFCA hostage anymore.  Will they simply withhold support, or will they start actively backing primary challengers?  I’m hoping it’s the latter, and I’m hoping Nelson and Lieberman are their top priorities.

1 comment February 10th, 2010 at 06:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Corruption/Cronyism,Democrats,Labor,Obama,Politics,Wankers

Politico To Labor: Why Are You Hitting Yourself?

stop-hitting-yourself

Yes, that’s right, it’s Labor’s fault that EFCA is dead:

Big Labor’s top legislative priority, a bill creating an easier way to organize workers, is essentially dead – and its own members were instrumental in killing it.

The victory of Republican Scott Brown’s in last week’s Massachusetts Senate special election that deprived Democrats of a filibuster-proof majority is not only bad news for health care. It also means that Republicans will be able to block the Employee Free Choice Act from coming to the Senate floor for a vote.

Asked if EFCA was dead for the year, Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), the bill’s sponsor, hesitated for several seconds, saying, “Well, it’s, it’s, it’s there. But it doesn’t look too good.” He added: “I’m not going to give up on it. I’ll never give up on it.”

For a year, labor leaders kept their bargain with Congressional Democrats and the White House: health care first, then EFCA. The election of Martha Coakley to fill the seat held for decades by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) was supposed to be the last step on a long, twisting road toward moving the legislation forward.

Whether their rank-and-file lost patience or simply didn’t realize the stakes, the decision of most union members in Massachusetts to back Brown rather than Coakley helped put the last nail in a legislative effort that was already on life support.

According to the AFL-CIO’s election night survey of Massachusetts voters, 49 percent of union members voted for Brown compared to 46 percent who backed Coakley. That’s even worse than the findings of a Republican election night survey, which found union voters split 49-48 for Brown and Coakley, respectively.

Of course, the principal reason why MA union voters turned on Obama and the Democrats was their abject failure to deliver on any of their promises.  Union leadership may have believed the White House when it strung them along and used the promise of EFCA to extort extract their support (or at least non-opposition) for the terrible Senate healthcare reform bill, but the rank-and-file was apparently paying closer attention to Obama’s track record on progressive initiatives.

Obama and the Democrats were never going to exert any more effort for EFCA than they did for the public option, and MA union voters knew it.

(Graphic by Married To The Sea)

January 27th, 2010 at 07:18am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Comics,Labor,Media,Obama,Politics

The Value Of Moral Clarity

Peter Daou had a great piece a couple of days ago about how Obama’s utter lack of moral clarity is demoralizing his progressive base, which I think is complemented by this Mike Elk piece about how Democrats have historically benefited from backing labor and suffered for betraying it.  My favorite part:

Truman didn’t give up his fight against Taft-Hartley. He dug in his heels and went around the country in 1948 on a 22,000-mile whistle-stop train tour, campaigning against big corporations that wanted to strip workers of their rights as part of his broader Fair Deal program. Workers remembered what a fighter Truman was from his fight against Taft-Hartley and stuck by him, delivering an unexpected Electoral College landslide, with Truman winning 303 electoral votes to Dewey’s 189.

Truman never was successful in repealing Taft- Hartley. However, it was a battle worth losing because, in the process, he won the larger war as being a champion of the working class.

I think there’s an important lesson there.  It’s better to fight for the right thing and lose than it is to fight for the wrong thing and win, because you’ve forced the opposition to stake out a position clearly in the wrong, rather than (however accidentally) in the right.  Not to mention the fact that the resulting electoral victories may eventually make it possible to fight for the right thing and actually win.

Obama and the Democrats would do well to learn this lesson rather than chasing hollow, Pyrrhic victories, but I don’t see much evidence that they ever will.

3 comments January 7th, 2010 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Obama,Politics

Haven’t They Been Paying Attention?

It is simply amazing to me that the unions are still supporting the terrible Senate healthcare bill in hopes that Obama will push for EFCA in return. How can they possibly still believe that after watching the way the stimulus, bailout, climate reform, financial reform, and healthcare reform have played out?

If Obama “supports” EFCA the way he supported healthcare reform and the public option, union members will end up paying dues directly to their employers.

2 comments December 28th, 2009 at 07:15am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Healthcare,Labor,Obama,Politics

Labor = Charlie Brown, Obama = Lucy

Football

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”.

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

Entry Filed under: Democrats,Labor,Politics,Wankers

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