Posted on December 5, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Much of the analysis surrounding the 2012 presidential election has focused on the Democratic Party’s new electoral coalition. The party, many commentators say, has jettisoned its traditional base of white, blue-collar workers in favor of a patchwork of young, college educated whites, women, and racial minorities. The Democratic share of the white vote has been somewhat steady for years, but these trends largely hold true.
In a New York Times piece Thomas Edsall details this shift in voting patterns. In 1988 Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis won West Virginia with roughly 52 percent of the vote. Barack Obama did not receive such hospitality from the Mountaineer State. Not only did Mitt Romney garner 62 percent of the vote, but Barack obama didn’t even manage to win a single county (it is worth noting that this happened in a state with slightly higher union density than the country as a whole).[i] Obama made up for much of this deficit in large suburban counties. While Dukakis took a drubbing in suburbia, Obama was able to win over many people in these affluent, highly-educated communities. (more…)
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: emerging Democratic coalition | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 21, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Zach Cunningham
In his successful run for mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio was often described as the “anti-Bloomberg.” A large majority of New Yorkers welcomed his populist, unabashedly progressive stances as an antidote to Michael Bloomberg’s twelve-year reign over the city.
After all, when people call Bloomberg a billionaire, they aren’t just describing his bank account. They are also describing his persona. He made billions of dollars by inventing a computer system that helps Wall Street bankers make money faster. He is cold and technocratic, caring more about data points than the people those numbers represent. He is unashamed in his admiration for fellow members of the city’s moneyed class, telling New York Magazine last September, “If we can find a bunch of billionaires around the world to move here, that would be a godsend.”
But if outside observers want to find an anti-Bloomberg in America’s urban politics, they don’t need to limit their search to de Blasio. They could just as easily look northeast to Boston, where voters chose Marty Walsh as their next mayor. (more…)
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Bill de Blasio, Boston Boston mayoral election, Marty Walsh, Michael Bloomberg | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 15, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Frank Callahan
Last week, The Boston Globe published a provocative Scot Lehigh column, “Unions Need To Retire Tired Tropes,” in which he criticizes unions for objecting to the way they are portrayed in the media. He called the article his “post election thoughts on silly rhetoric.”
Unions need to retire tired tropes http://t.co/iBSilQePis via @BostonGlobe My post-election thoughts on silly rhetoric.
Via Twitter, I responded to Scot, pointing to the election results:
Cynically, Lehigh then challenged me to show examples of the union bashing he and other members of the Boston media have made famous. The Globe itself published a column by Joan Vennocchi — “Why The Union Bashing?” [10/17/13] — which highlights these types of attacks, but that is not what I was referring to. (more…)
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Boston, Boston Globe, Frank Callahan, Marty Walsh, Massachusetts Building and Construction Trades | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 14, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
Ironically, the employer broke the neutrality agreement that’s at issue in today’s Supreme Court case testing whether such agreements are employer bribes. “Neutral” Mardi Gras Gaming fired 10 employees for their union activism—which led to a rally of hundreds and arrests of 26.
(Nov. 13) Today the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether “neutrality agreements,” where the employer promises not to fight the union, are really just a bribe, and therefore illegal.
As the legal system keeps choking organizing possibilities, it’s now a rare campaign in the private sector where the union doesn’t first extract a neutrality agreement to blunt the boss’s wrath.
Neutrality agreements create rules for union and employer behavior during organizing drives. Often an employer signs such an agreement only after years of targeted union pressure. The employer promises not to try to sway workers’ opinions, allowing them some breathing room when labor law is mostly on management’s side. (more…)
Filed under: Organizing, Politics | Tagged: neutrality agreements, Supreme Court | Leave a Comment »
Posted on November 11, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Amy B Dean
The Tea Party lost big by forcing this fall’s government shutdown, and it is slated to take a major hit in next year’s midterm elections. Such is the current wisdom, in any case, among mainstream political pundits. But this analysis is too easy. It imagines that progressives will make gains without the hard work of organizing. And it presumes that Democrats can put forward a compelling agenda that will give people something to vote for, rather than merely expressing distaste for Washington altogether.
To get a more nuanced take on the political fallout of the shutdown, I spoke with longtime electoral strategist Steve Cobble. He is an associate fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies, a co-founder of Progressive Democrats of America and a senior political adviser to Free Speech for People, a group engaged in the fight to roll back Citizens United and end the idea that corporations are people. Cobble served as a leader in the Jesse Jackson campaign of 1988 and more recently in Dennis Kucinich’s presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008. (more…)
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Obama, populism, Steve Cobble, Tea Party | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 6, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Michael Hirsch
Review of The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America by George Packer Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2013
This American life is a mess, argues George Packer in The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America. It’s a nation fraying, with core institutions from government and finance to housing, jobs and education dysfunctional or “unwound.”
Packer, as befits a New Yorker staff writer, is a sharp stylist with a keen eye. While he does pay homage to the American ideal of self-reinvention and upward mobility that existed imperfectly at best in the past, he focuses his seemingly infinite capacity for listening on bringing to life the stark inequalities of a society that is experiencing contrasts in wealth and poverty not seen since the late 19th century. It’s one in which billionaires and the homeless multiply while the proportion of middle-income families shrinks and where six of Sam Walton’s heirs have as much accumulated wealth as the United States’ bottom 30 percent.
His vision of an anomic, atomized America unfolds like a well-produced slideshow. Highlights include an insider’s view of K Street swinishness, its manufacturing of “grasstop” coalitions and how lobbyists on Capitol Hill not only grease politician’s palms but write legislation in the interest of no one but their own clients.
There’s also great reporting on the epidemic of robo-signing, mortgage and security fraud, bank failure, securities fraud and bankruptcy. His pointing to the collapse of federal regulations on bankers and traders that allowed for the Wall Street feeding frenzy is on target and a good introduction to the 2007-2008 collapse and its devastating consequences nationwide.
Taken singly, many of the chapters are brilliant, as is his coverage of the 2012 GOP convention and the ghost subdivisions and foreclosure wipeouts in Tampa, Florida. There’s Youngstown, Ohio’s shedding of 50,000 jobs (with a population of 150,000) and the vacating of 40 percent of its housing parcels in just 10 years. There’s also devastating takedowns of the gremlin-like Newt Gingrich, the preposterous Oprah Winfrey and the weaselly Robert Rubin matched with fitting portraits of new Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and writer Raymond Carver, named “the chronicler of blue-collar despair.” (more…)
Filed under: Book Reviews, Economy, Politics | Tagged: George Packer, The Unwinding | 1 Comment »
Posted on November 1, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Stan Sorscher
The U.S. is negotiating two huge problematic trade agreements — one with Europe (TTIP), and another with countries around the Pacific (TTP). Both dramatically extend the NAFTA model.
First, I am 100 percent in favor of trade. Everyone I know wants good trade policies that raise living standards around the world. Equally, I oppose bad trade policies that weaken civil society and harm communities.
In simple terms, trade agreements are about trade — exports and imports. However, these trade agreements also serve as political, social, cultural and moral documents, which set political and social standards for countries and communities.
These trade agreements regulate countries in the same way that our Constitution regulates Congress, our courts, the president, and our state governments. However, the substance — the values — in our Constitution are very different from values expressed in trade agreements.
Our Constitution grants extensive political rights and social protections to people and communities. Our Constitution never mentions corporations — not once. (more…)
Filed under: Economy, Fair Trade, Politics | Tagged: TIPP, TPP | 1 Comment »
Posted on October 31, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
By Amy B Dean
Moral Monday march and interfaith social justice rally, July 29, 2013. (Photo: twbuckner / Flickr)Moral Monday march and interfaith social justice rally, July 29, 2013. (Photo: twbuckner / Flickr)
This past summer, “Moral Mondays” in North Carolina emerged as the locus of one of the country’s most insistent state-level movements against extremist efforts to slash the social safety net and roll back civil rights. But what has become of the protests in the past two months? And what’s next for the movement that catapulted Moral Mondays into national prominence?
It took several months last spring and early summer for the Moral Monday protests to reach a crescendo. While early statehouse rallies in North Carolina started by attracting about 50 protesters, by July thousands of people from around the state were swarming the state capitol. After three consecutive months of action, there had been around 920 arrests for civil disobedience at the weekly rallies.
Since the state’s legislative session closed July 26 and lawmakers left town, the fight has become more decentralized, with coalition activists showing up at district offices to protest. “The Legislature was going home,” says North Carolina AFL-CIO President James Andrews. “We went home with them.” (more…)
Filed under: Politics | Tagged: Moral Mondays, North Carolina | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 22, 2013 by dsalaborblogmoderator
by Stan Sorscher
I saw the movie Inequality for All, where Robert Reich explains the depth and meaning of inequality in America. He paints a compelling picture.
Reich sets up the movie with a teaser: “Something happened in the mid-’70s.”
Indeed “something did happen in the mid-’70s.” For one thing, since then workers’ wages as a fraction of the total economy have lagged by over a trillion dollars per year. If workers’ wages had kept up with gains in productivity since the mid-70′s, wages would be double what they are now. Most new income goes to the top 1 Percent.
Figure 1. Workers’ wages have fallen as a share of total GDP. (more…)
Filed under: Economy, Politics | Tagged: Economy, inequality, Inequality for All, One Percent, Robert Reich | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 19, 2013 by dcampbell1
by Bill Fletcher Jr. and Jeff Crosby
The AFL-CIO Convention in September took an important turn to reposition unions toward speaking for all working people in the United States. This was a correction to the narrow focus on its dues-paying members and traditional electoral work that has cursed the movement for most of its history.
To argue that this turn represents an abandonment of current members, as Steve Early does here , is factually false and politically wrong.
It helps to understand what the federation is and is not. It is a collection of unions “held together by a rope of sand,” as a former federation president put it. From the central labor councils to the national organization, affiliates that don’t like the turn of events just quit. (more…)
Filed under: 2013 AFL-CIO Convention, Immigrant Workers, Organizing, Politics, Solidarity, Union Reform, Worker Centers | Tagged: AFL-CIO, AFL-CIO convention, Labor Notes, National Labor Relations Act, Richard Trumka, Trade union, United States | 1 Comment »