Labor - USA
Cal Winslow, Fund for Union Democracy, June 12, 2012
Tomorrow morning, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will hear the case of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) versus the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) and 28 of NUHW's leaders in a potentially precedent-setting test of a basic trade union principle: that local union leaders are fundamentally accountable to their rank-and-file members, not to high-ranking labor officers in Washington DC.
Richard D Wolff, Truthout, June 12, 2012 Last week's elections in Wisconsin and in San Diego and San José, California, brought victories for capitalists' over workers' priorities. Majorities of voters endorsed politicians' plans to ease state and city budget difficulties by cutting public employees' jobs, wages, pensions and rights to bargain collectively with employers over those crucial dimensions of their lives. Private-sector workers reacted to five years of economic crisis with little help from their government by voting against benefits won in collective bargaining by public-sector workers. ... Lost
Steven Ashby, Labor Notes, June 12, 2012 After four days of ballot-counting, the Chicago Teachers Union announced yesterday that 90 percent of CTU members voted to authorize their leaders to call a strike if negotiations continue to go badly. An overwhelming 24,262 members, or 92 percent of the membership, voted. In a resounding display of unity, 98 percent of those voting authorized the strike. There was not a majority of CTU members at any of the 615 schools who voted “no.” ... Standing
Dan Clawson, Labor Notes, June 11, 2012 Under assault from the misnamed Stand for Children, teachers in Massachusetts are about to give up seniority as a criterion for layoffs, and give principals greatly increased power over personnel issues. Stand for Children is a one-time grassroots organization that has been taken over by billionaire hedge-fund managers. The group originally formed to argue for quality public education as a human right. But a few years ago, according to a letter by more than two dozen former Stand activists, “Stand abandoned its own local members - us - to follow the lure of millions of dollars from Bain Capital ... ” Will
Andy Kroll, Tomgram, June 10, 2012 The post-mortems and prognostications began just minutes after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's recall election victory, and they're still flooding in. His win, goes one talking point, bodes well for Mitt Romney's efforts to flip Wisconsin red for the first time since 1984. Bummed-out Democrats, suggests another, spell trouble for President Obama in November. Obama’s got no reason to worry, claims a third, because 17% of the Walker recall vote came from Wisconsinites who claim they will go the president’s way in the fall. ... How
Sam Hananel, Associated Press, June 8, 2012
Washington - A heated battle is taking place inside a giant US public employees' union following its crushing failure this week to oust Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker - organized labor's biggest political loss in decades.
At stake is the direction of the 1.3-million-member American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees after 31 years under retiring president Gerald McEntee. He's been known for his zeal to build and maintain AFSCME's clout as a leading liberal voice and political kingmaker in the Democratic Party.
A major question is whether that should continue.
Arun Gupta & Steve Horn, Truthout, June 7, 2012 The right is riding high, but workers and progressives may finally realize that change happens through collective action, not electoral politics. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker did not win the June 5 recall vote because a parade of Daddy Warbucks stuffed his suit full of six-figure checks. The Democratic challenger Tom Barrett did not lose because he raised a scant $4 million to Walker's $30 million war chest. Walker won because he had a vision, however brutish, and he forged a rich-poor alliance that supports it. Barrett lost because he stood for nothing ... The
Richard A. Levins, Levins Publishing, June 7, 2012 Before you finish your post-mortem on this week’s fiasco in Wisconsin, I hope you will do three things: First, get a copy of Predator Nation, the new book by Charles Ferguson. He’s the guy who made the movie Inside Job. Second, as you are reading it, pay particular attention to Chapter 9, “America as a Rigged Game.” Third, underline this sentence at the top of page 297: “By 2010 approximately 1 percent of 1 percent of the American population - fewer than twenty-seven thousand people - accounted for 24 percent of all campaign donations, totaling $774 million.” ... On
Jim Cavanaugh, Labor Notes, June 8, 2012 The results of the Wisconsin recall election were very similar to the first run of this matchup in November 2010, when Scott Walker beat Tom Barrett. This means that the radical right agenda of the GOPers elected in 2010 has not turned off the voters. How can a government of the 1% receive so much support from the 99%? In the case of the Wisconsin election, there’s been a lot of finger pointing and speculation post-election: Walker used loose campaign finance rules to overwhelm Barrett financially; Obama didn’t come to Wisconsin; unions didn’t force the collective bargaining issue front and center. And so on. ... Why
Harry Targ, Diary of a Heartland Radical, June 8, 2012 I have been thinking about Wisconsin a lot over the last week. Since I spent five days in Milwaukee visiting my daughter, by today’s journalistic standards, that time makes me an expert on Wisconsin. So I feel compelled to make a few comments on the outcome of the recent recall election in that state. First, and perhaps most important, the forces supporting the incumbent Governor Scott Walker, the Lieutenant Governor and three of four state senators also forced into recall elections were victorious because they had the most votes. ... Thinking
What the Rest of the US Must Learn. Jeffrey Sommers, CounterPunch, June 8, 2012 Much ink has been spilt and punditry hot air vented in explaining the failure to recall Scott Walker in this week’s election. Yet nearly all of it fails to address the appeal of Scott Walker and his policies for much of Wisconsin’s working and middle class. Walker was able to capitalize on the frustration over the continued erosion of living standards and insecurity felt by most Wisconsinites. Walker provided a false empowerment to the electorate by transforming them from victims to owners of the system. ... How
Chad Alan Goldberg, Deliberately Considered, June 8, 2012 I want to take this opportunity to respond to two recent blog posts which reflect upon the usefulness of electoral politics in the wake of the Wisconsin recall election: one by Jeffrey Goldfarb (“On Wisconsin,” June 6, 2012) and the other by Doug Henwood (“Walker’s Victory, Un-Sugar-Coated”). I am in basic agreement with Jeff Goldfarb’s main points, though I have a few of my own to add. With Doug Henwood, I am in strong disagreement. Elections matter, as Jeff Goldfarb argues, and not just presidential elections. Elections are what enabled Republicans to gain power ... Lessons
Los Angeles will be one of the next major battlegrounds for unions beginning June 18, when the leadership of 1.6 million public-sector workers is up for grabs. Alana Semuels, Los Angeles Times, June 8, 2012 Election results in California and Wisconsin this week are being viewed as a turning point for organized labor - to its detriment. Voters in San José and San Diego on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved measures that curtail public employee pension programs, and Wisconsin voters rejected a recall of Governor Scott Walker, a Republican who has taken on the public employee unions in that state. ... Organized
Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, June 7, 2012 Spare me the spin. This was a whupping. After sixteen months of the most historic and exciting citizens’ uprising that I’ve ever been a part of in my thirty-five years of progressive activism and journalism, we’re left with this disaster. Scott Walker is governor for another two and a half years. He claims vindication for his rightist onslaught. The national rightwing media is carrying him around on their shoulders. And the Koch Brothers are popping the expensive champagne. ... Accountability
Ruth Conniff, The Progressive, June 7, 2012 It was a tough night in downtown Madison on Tuesday. The scene around the square was wonderfully familiar: the firefighters with their bagpipes, the horns honking "this is what democracy looks like," the homemade recall signs, the teachers on the march. All of what was great about the grassroots uprising in Wisconsin was on display. Early on, the mood was jubilant, as reports of record turnout in Dane County and Milwaukee came in, with poll workers running out of ballots as people waited in long lines to vote. It seemed, for a brief, shining moment that we had pulled it off. ... The