Labor's Coming Class War - Private-sector vs Public-sector

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    Jan 04, 2011 11:22 PM GMT
    Wall Street Journal: Labor's Coming Class War - Private-sector union workers begin to notice that their job prospects are at risk from public-employee union contracts. Opinion, January 4, 2011

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576060092978223976.html?mod=ITP_opinion_0

    Jeffrey Brown of PBS's "NewsHour" recently summed up the year's economic performance by invoking the most overworked chestnut of modern American punditry: "the disconnect . . . between Main Street and Wall Street."

    The notion that Wall Street and Main Street are fundamentally at odds with one another remains a popular orthodoxy. So much so that we may be missing the first stirrings of a true American class war: between workers in government unions and their union counterparts in the private sector.

    In theory, of course, organized labor is all about fraternal solidarity. For many years, it is true, private-sector unions supported collective-bargaining rights and better benefits for government workers, while public-employee unions supported the private-sector unions in their opposition to legislation such as the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s.

    Suddenly, it's a different world. In this recession, for example, construction workers are suffering from unemployment levels roughly double the national rate, according to a recent analysis of federal jobs data by the Associated General Contractors of America. They are relearning, the hard way, that without a growing economy, all the labor-friendly laws and regulations in the world won't keep them working.

    What's more, "blue-collar union workers are beginning to appreciate that the generous pensions and health benefits going to their counterparts in state and local government are coming out of their pockets," says Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. "Not only that, they are beginning to understand the dysfunctional relationship between collective bargaining for government employees and their own job prospects."

    The signs of this new awakening are gathering. In New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie rightly becomes a YouTube sensation for taking on his state's obstinate public-sector unions. The more interesting story, however, may be the president of the New Jersey Senate, Steve Sweeney—who also happens to be an organizer for the International Association of Ironworkers.

    In the days of Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine, Mr. Sweeney angered state-employee unions by opposing their push to balance the budget with an increase in the sales tax. In the Christie days, he continues to anger them by pushing for reform of state-employee pay and benefits. Another way of putting it is that Mr. Sweeney knows that 40% of his fellow iron workers in New Jersey are out of work—and that unless his high-tax state gets its fiscal house in order, the only work they'll find will be in Texas.

    Over in New York, meanwhile, newly inaugurated Gov. Andrew Cuomo faces a similar battle. Mr. Cuomo campaigned on a cap on property taxes and a freeze on state salaries, both anathema to the powerful state-employee unions. As the New York Times reported last month, however, in this showdown Mr. Cuomo may have found a surprising ally in the 100,000- member Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. Maybe not so surprising: The Times says unemployment for these workers is running at 20%.

    Elsewhere, in 2005 Republican Govs. Mitch Daniels and Matt Blunt used executive orders to end collective bargaining with state employees in Indiana and Missouri, respectively. Now the incoming Republican governors of Ohio and Wisconsin—John Kasich and Scott Walker—are targeting collective bargaining for government workers in their states.

    In some ways, this new appreciation for the private sector is simply back to the future. FDR, for example, warned in 1937 that collective bargaining "cannot be transplanted into the public service." In the old days, unions understood economic growth. Mr. Malanga points to AFL-CIO President George Meany's strong support for the JFK tax cuts as an example.

    These days the two types of worker inhabit two very different worlds. In the private sector, union workers increasingly pay for more of their own health care, and they have defined contribution pension plans such as 401(k)s. In this they have something fundamental in common even with the fat cats on Wall Street: Both need their companies to succeed.

    By contrast, government unions use their political clout to elect those who set their pay: the politicians. In exchange, these unions are rewarded with contracts whose pension and health-care provisions now threaten many municipalities and states with bankruptcy. In response to the crisis, government unions demand more and higher taxes. Which of course makes people who have money less inclined to look to those states to make the investments that create jobs for, say, iron workers, electricians and construction workers.

    Some of these folks are beginning to notice.
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:31 PM GMT
    I think they got "class war" wrong.

    But anyway, looking at the spirit of these two sides, I see one group concerned about their livelihoods should things go sour (a fault not their own) and so elect people who would ensure they have some kind of safety net.

    There is room for abuse.

    The other side, without these people in high places looking out for their "interests", are also in a room open for abuse by those, who may be quite at fault, decide things are sour and export jobs elsewhere in order to ensure the labour market is always flooded, places like India or China, and that their level of comfortable profit remains steady. That is, not open to fluctuations of labour laws and practices.
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:32 PM GMT
    Above all, this is a not a left or right issue.

    This is an issue of economic prudence, and fuck anyone who contorts this shit.
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:34 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 saidThis seems to be key:

    blue-collar union workers are beginning to appreciate that the generous pensions and health benefits going to their counterparts in state and local government are coming out of their pockets

    But we shall see what Christian73, the #1 supporter of unions around here, has to say.... icon_wink.gif


    I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:34 PM GMT
    makavelli saidAbove all, this is a not a left or right issue.

    This is an issue of economic prudence, and fuck anyone who contorts this shit.
    BINGO!
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:44 PM GMT
    makavelli saidAbove all, this is a not a left or right issue.

    This is an issue of economic prudence, and fuck anyone who contorts this shit.

    Economic prudence shouldn't be a left or right issue. But it has been, unfortunately. Maybe if people look at countries such as Greece and realize that while we are better off then they are, we are not immune from the results of imprudence.
  • rnch

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    Jan 05, 2011 6:44 PM GMT
    Christian73 said...I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?


    it's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif



    So Sad.
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:48 PM GMT
    rnch said
    Christian73 said...I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?


    it's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif



    So Sad.

    Your comment is not even relevant to the thread. Were you even able to read the OP? And do you automatically apply those adjectives to all conservatives, or is there some semblance of a thought process involved?
  • rnch

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    Jan 05, 2011 6:51 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    rnch said
    Christian73 said...I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?


    it's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif



    So Sad.

    Your comment is not even relevant to the thread...



    the opinions and heresay quoted in the article are not hard faxts are are NOT relevant to the "Real World"...icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:54 PM GMT
    rnch said
    socalfitness said
    rnch said
    Christian73 said...I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?


    it's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif



    So Sad.

    Your comment is not even relevant to the thread...



    the opinions and heresay quoted in the article are not hard faxts are are NOT relevant to the "Real World"...icon_rolleyes.gif

    Your opinion that they are not relevant, and that gives you license to say those things about me? The article much have touched a nerve. Your bitterness is really blatant, and is obvious for all to see.
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    Jan 05, 2011 6:58 PM GMT
    Another pot the Republicans are stirring for political gain. Get the workers to fight each other, so the winner will be the employers, who contribute most heavily to Republicans. All part of the Plan. And they criticize there being a Gay Agenda!
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    Jan 05, 2011 7:03 PM GMT
    Art_Deco saidAnother pot the Republicans are stirring for political gain. Get the workers to fight each other, so the winner will be the employers, who contribute most heavily to Republicans. All part of the Plan. And they criticize there being a Gay Agenda!

    Whatever gain the Republicans may achieve, and whatever glee they may have watching, the point is the private sector labor unions will ultimately take positions that are consistent with their self-interest. They are not stupid.
  • rnch

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    Jan 05, 2011 7:45 PM GMT
    socalfitness said
    rnch said
    socalfitness said
    rnch said
    Christian73 said...I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?


    it's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif



    So Sad.

    Your comment is not even relevant to the thread...



    the opinions and heresay quoted in the article are not hard faxts are are NOT relevant to the "Real World"...icon_rolleyes.gif

    Your opinion that they are not relevant, and that gives you license to say those things about me? The article much have touched a nerve. Your bitterness is really blatant, and is obvious for all to see.




    YOUR opinion, about MY opinion, about the OP'S opinion...

    icon_rolleyes.gif


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    Jan 05, 2011 7:50 PM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidThis seems to be key:

    blue-collar union workers are beginning to appreciate that the generous pensions and health benefits going to their counterparts in state and local government are coming out of their pockets

    But we shall see what Christian73, the #1 supporter of unions around here, has to say.... icon_wink.gif


    I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?



    Huh? I can see the whole thing. Is there some kind of system bug or something that's not letting you see the whole post?


    I have them blocked, so I can't see their posts. Your's is the first one I can see, so I don't know what the OP was.
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:25 AM GMT
    rnch saidit's all about their envy, greed, selfishness and covetousness of anyone that these two perceive as being "better off" that they are.... icon_rolleyes.gif

    So Sad.

    You did get my curiosity up. All I did was post an piece from a respected paper, yet you found it necessary, or more likely couldn't control yourself in spewing that BS. As I stated above, it obviously touched a nerve. So I looked at your profile and saw the headline "Civil service...". So maybe you're in a public employees union and were angry that the piece was written and that I posted it. Too bad you don't have maturity and self-control, but maybe that happens to some people when they reach age 95.
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    Jan 06, 2011 3:31 AM GMT
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 said
    Christian73 said
    southbeach1500 saidThis seems to be key:

    blue-collar union workers are beginning to appreciate that the generous pensions and health benefits going to their counterparts in state and local government are coming out of their pockets

    But we shall see what Christian73, the #1 supporter of unions around here, has to say.... icon_wink.gif


    I guess Socal or CJ posted something because I can't see it. What's it about?



    Huh? I can see the whole thing. Is there some kind of system bug or something that's not letting you see the whole post?


    I have them blocked, so I can't see their posts. Your's is the first one I can see, so I don't know what the OP was.



    Oh...... I didn't think about that possibility.... I don't have anyone blocked. icon_lol.gif

    I can email you the OP if you want, just let me know.


    Nah... I get the gist of it from what has been said since. It's just Socal's usual union bashing. Has he gone on about how he used to live in Europe and how the public uniosn destroy Greece, or whatever Faux News talking point he heard on Glenn Beck's little dog and pony show yet? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 06, 2011 5:46 AM GMT
    lol, there aren't enough unions to make a dent, anymore.

    Your job market suffers because of a jobless (in the US; overseas offices of American companies are hiring) recovery.

    -Doug

    We went through this in the 90s.