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 now there’s a unique political opening. 

That’s because rather than behave like victims, Madison protesters look like people who believe in themselves and in what they’re doing.

The big question is whether organized labor can hold the attention of working - and unemployed – Americans.  And that’s not just about words, but actions.

Will private-sector unions ever again be able to deliver the goods and change peoples lives for the better?

This won’t be easy. 

There’s been a generation of busted unions, failed organizing drives and an always-available and sophisticated “union avoidance” industry.

Nevertheless, there are national (and Los Angeles) labor leaders and activists who – despite legal and other obstacles – are primed and determined to bring new workers into the movement. 

Many of us who belong to – and work for – unions know all too well the limitations of these organizations.

But we also know that without a labor movement there will be no chance to close the wage, income and wealth gap, build the American middle class and – incidentally – save the democratic party.

Comments (3)


  1. Barton Parks says:

    I disagree only with your last four words. The issue is saving democracy. Democracy cannot exist with even the wealth disparity we have now, much less its continuing to get worse. Great wealth in a few hands yields concentrated political power. This brings economic and political elites together in what used to be called fascism. Already, America is no longer for the ordinary person and family, but is a playground for rich men, a carnival for corporations.

    The hope is that the domestic labor and world wide hell raising that is going on will move us to build our movements and take our country back.

  2. Betty Madden says:

    I agree with B. Parks that this isn’t about the dems. or repubs. this is about taking away the voice of working people. I am pleased to see more than 70% of Americans get it is about preserving collective bargaining rights and not the budget deficit that Gov. Walker added increased debt to with his tax incentives adding to the debt. and knowing this the teachers are still willing to give up 12% of benefits and he says that isn’t enough they must give up their rights. Is this what WI voted for? None union workers know that their wages will fall if collective bargaining is denied. Nevada public workers have never had collective bargaining rights and Nevada has a huge deficit and high percentage of unemployment. Collective Bargaining didn’t cause the debt Wall Street and unemployment brought about by tax subsidized big business taking jobs off shore caused the deficit. Close tax loop holes and stop subsidizing big oil and gas and 2 wars and military installations in Europe demand that the richest Americans pay a higher percentage in their share of taxes.

  3. Greg says:

    Do not blame the worker for asking for those “rich” benefits and salaries. No employer will ever give his employees more than they are willing to and can afford.

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