Thursday, July 19, 2012


Today it is a daily occurrence for politicians to attack unionized workers and unions.  When we think about these attacks, we of course expect them to come from the wealthy, Republican politicians who work for the wealthy, and the misinformed.  However, why are we seeing Democrats and termed-out Democrats among those ranks?  An examination of all the reasons is well beyond the limits of this post so I will be brief.  

Some politicians and billionaires believe government should implement the corporate economic principle of "survival-of-the-fittest” instead of the well-honored system of seniority.  Bill Gates and Microsoft engage in this corporate management style and that is one of the main reasons we see this in attacks against public employee unions (for a more detailed analysis of this point read Chris Hayes' brilliant book Twilight of the Elites). 

Then there is the principle that little to no government is best for the economy that was championed by Milton Friedman and President Ronald Reagan.  In addition, there is the economic principle (also by Mr. Friedman and President Reagan) that no interference whatsoever should come from government, communities or unions (and for an excellent read on the devastating global impact of these two principles pickup Naomi Klein’s book Shock Therapy). 

Now this leads me to the main question: so why are current and termed-out and allegedly pro-union Democrats leading this hate parade?  Although I expect the reasons are many, one thing I know is certain; some of these politicians lacked honest commitment to workers rights from the start. 

Recently the labor movement has wisely recognized the critical need to identify and support those politicians who in bad and good times will fight for economic and social equality for all workers and who will not give in to the temptations of money from the wealthy.  Yet at the same time, labor must exercise caution and identify those politicians who have shown in their actions or in their moral character that they will only stand for workers’ rights when times are good.  

Today’s political environment of hate towards workers and especially organized labor is a testament to how important that analysis really is because we have these current and termed-out Democrats chasing after the billionaires’ money whether the money is in the form of contributions or in the form of highly-paid and prestige sounding non-profit jobs.  Yet, at the same time, they hold themselves out as believers in equality for all workers and members of their communities.

Now before I finish, allow me to make one point.  I recognize and thank the California politicians that continue to fight for workers’ justice; however, even they have to admit some of their colleagues have embraced the anti-union agendas of the wealthy mainly for their own personal gains.  Yet, no matter how few these greedy Democrats, we must hold them accountable for their greed and the harm they cause.  

This leads me to a question that is the subject of another post.  What are we going to do about these “friends” of labor and perpetuators of our society’s social ills before it is too late?   

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