Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Molly Ivins cuts through the shit on the split-up of the AFL-CIO:

Organized labor is weak, but unorganized labor is a hell of a lot weaker. That's what's splitting the AFL-CIO. You may think this is none of your beeswax, but if you work in this country, you owe labor, big time. And I'm talking to you, white-collar worker.

This is not about the old stuff -- 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, health benefits, safety regs, etc. This is about right now, today. The money that controls this administration is out to screw you -- it's your pension on the line, your salary on the line and your job on the line. If your company can replace you cheaper, you are gone, buddy. And this administration is pushing jobs overseas just as fast as it can.
The larger result can be seen in the whole picture of stagnant wages, frozen minimum wage, corporate gains against labor on every front. It won't stop -- the Bush administration is in a fight to the death against labor. They even intervened to block a California law that says employers cannot use taxpayer money to run anti-union campaigns in the workplace. How do you like them apples, middle-class taxpayer
The AFL also points out that at least a few of the CWC unions are fairly mobbed up, which has the disadvantage of being probably true, but unprovable.

Unions figured out a long time ago that Republicans are perfectly happy to let the mob issue fester in order to discredit labor -- their despicable efforts to undermine reform in the Teamsters Union will not be forgotten.

Both sides are slugging hard in this fight but are still talking and negotiating, too -- they realize a split can only weaken labor in the short run. This is not so much a left-versus-right fight as it's old strategy versus new -- restructuring labor in ways that make more sense for a de-industrializing economy. Pretty much everyone who supports labor has friends on both sides. I'm supporting Stern and the CWC because the AFL is way too much about protecting turf.

The old unions did some great work in their day. They came up through pain and bloodshed. We owe them a lot, but they got complacent and top-heavy, and more and more irrelevant. Perhaps it's time for a new approach to the modern set of problems.

The Democrats have a chance to get a fresh start with Labor, too, if they're smart enough. Ya listenin', Howie?

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