Archive for March, 2011

Not United Auto Workers

Posted on March 31, 2011 by

Half the cars manufactured in the United States are now made nonunion in Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee where Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen have – or are building – plants. The UAW hasn’t successfully organized  in the south (exception:  now extinct Saturn in Tennessee) but hasn’t stopped trying.  The problem is that these are [...]

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Trust Obama on Libya?

Posted on March 30, 2011 by

Why do I believe what Barack Obama is saying about Libya?  Am I naive?  How many times does this president have to mislead and disappoint me before I get the message that he’s not representing my political values?  But corporate, financial and military elites.  Why am I so attracted to his vision of the United [...]

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Union Pragmatism

Posted on March 25, 2011 by

Labor’s position on the megamerger of AT&T and T-Mobile is a useful example of how unions often don’t fall in line with progressive expectations.  Because the Communications Workers of American (CWA) has a national contract with AT&T, it is brushing aside arguments that combining these two telecommunications giants would dangerously concentrate economic power.  I’m with [...]

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Understanding Conservatives

Posted on March 23, 2011 by

Progressive “thought leaders” occasionally ruminate out loud about what really motivates our conservative opponents.  Here’s one asking if republicans are “just idiots.”  I honestly don’t think there’s that big a mystery here. There is certainly a way to understand conservative political values without attributing malice or ignorance to the other side. From their point of [...]

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Don’t Be So Sure

Posted on March 21, 2011 by

Is President Obama right about Libya?  For some progressives it’s an easy call.  If you don’t want the United States as the world’s dominant military power, then you simply oppose any use of force.  After all, it’s hard to trust the government which brought you Vietnam and Iraq.  On the other hand, Kadafi is a [...]

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News Cycles

Posted on March 19, 2011 by

Of course Japan and Libya have moved Madison off the top of the news cycle. The death, destruction and nuclear nightmare in Japan and the escalating conflict in Libya clearly overshadow Joe Biden’s rambling assurance to union leaders and activists that the administration is with us. And even though a Wisconsin judge temporarily blocked the [...]

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Real Time Class Struggle

Posted on March 14, 2011 by

Union activists celebrated in 1995 when John Sweeney replaced Lane Kirkland as president of the AFL-CIO. While American unions had been declining under Kirkland – an old guard “cold war democrat” – Sweeney had been leading a growth spurt at SEIU with his team of militant organizers and skilled strategists. Though Sweeney guided some reform [...]

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A Fighting Chance

Posted on March 11, 2011 by

This is the chance of a lifetime for moderates, liberals and radicals to rally around the labor movement. To do what the democratic left has failed at in the past: Which is to cross class divisions. This won’t be easy for some progressive activists who will have trouble with the complicated and eclectic nature of [...]

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No Big Deal

Posted on March 9, 2011 by

Big News: The AOL HuffPo merger  Medium News:  Daily Beast acquires Newsweek Little News: The Los Angeles Times, owned by bankrupt Tribune Corporation, considers buying Orange County Register. Not many years ago, the Los Angeles Times was the only game in town. In the PR business (that’s where I started in LA), placing your story [...]

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Oligarchs vs. Plutocrats

Posted on March 7, 2011 by

Critics of concentrated wealth and corporate abuse are using shorthand to describe what’s happening to the American economic and political system. Caught up in the enthusiasm, I’ve been using some of these terms myself without fully knowing what they mean. So I looked them up: “Oligarchy” is when the government is controlled by a small [...]

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Union Strong

Posted on March 6, 2011 by

There are 14 million union members in the United States. Forget for a minute the rapid and alarming decline in the overall percentage (11.9) and the incredible shrinkage in the private sector (6.9). Even though nearly twice as many Americans watch American Idol each week, 14 mil is nevertheless a lot of people.  And keep [...]

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Should Obama go to Wisconsin?

Posted on March 4, 2011 by

Most union activists would say absolutely. It would send a powerful message, energize the base and frame 2012. Here’s one of several persuasive pieces urging the president to hop on AF1 and spend a few minutes with our heroes in Madison. Imagine how thrilling that would be. Why then am I worried that such a [...]

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Can Unions Deliver?

Posted on March 2, 2011 by

Our message to the American working class: Instead of resenting government employees, understand that you too deserve a decent wage, health benefits and retirement security. And only the labor movement – and your willingness to fight for your rights - can help you get there. Union activists have been saying this for a long time but [...]

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