Putting Unions Back on the Map

Posted on February 28, 2011 by

How about this irony:

If not for the huge gains by republicans in the November 2010 election, the full-scale attack on public-sector unions would not have occurred.

That means that without the election of conservative governors and legislatures, unions would have stayed on the margins of American political life.

And we wouldn’t be having this national discussion about the rights of workers to collectively bargain and the value of unions in sustaining the middle class.

Was it worth it?

From the standpoint of the white house, a republican U.S. House majority helps position President Obama as a sensible moderate in 2012 with appeal to independent voters.

Progressive Democrats may not like that but republican over-reaching in the states has given the labor movement – forever looking for traction on issues of economic disparity and injustice – its best shot in years to reach working class Americans.

I’ve spent a political lifetime struggling with the notion that things have to get worse before they can get better.

But tell me the last time the labor movement had a better opportunity to demonstrate its value.  When did you last see so many articles by previously indifferent liberals about the consequences of labor’s decline?

Even some right-wingers have had to give ground and concede that unions at least were necessary.

Madison is only the beginning.  Whatever comes next, the protest chant heard throughout the city – “this is what democracy looks like” – has already taken on historical importance.

Union activists across the country are energized. 

And hopeful that this, in fact, could be our moment.

Comments (3)


  1. Greg says:

    I hope we stay energized. I say Scott Walker handed us a golden opportunity. We now have to develop a very clear and concise message. That’s always where we lose the message.

  2. TOM SCOTTO says:

    The power is in the dollar. Trustees of the pension funds MUST leverage their positions and insist that the money managers investing their funds MUST support their positions. If the money managers can’t take an ACTIVE ROLE ( ads on TV,radio,newspapers,etc) then the Tustees should not support those money managers that can’t support them.

    Lets get moving on this.

  3. Betty says:

    Reply to Tom Scotto: You are so right. Collective bargaining rights has to stay in the news. LA TIMES TODAY Sandy Banks article worth a read. Pasadena Star News Opinion page Breen drawing of the United States WI printed in place of the states own names was a good visual. When is the next action taking place does anyone know?

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