Organized labor is--or at least has the potential to be-- the middle class's best defense against an organized corporate oligarchy

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    Feb 19, 2011 12:44 AM GMT
    "...organized labor is--or at least has the potential to be-- the middle class's best defense against an organized corporate oligarchy that has waged a one-sided 30-year long class war against the American middle class.

    That's why I'm not surprised that the first stirrings of American resistance to the corporate oligarchy since Wall Street greed and malfeasance brought the American and world economy to its knees in 2008 are coming from the organized labor, centered today in the capital of Wisconsin, a state with one of the longest progressive traditions in America. And it's why I'm not surprised that some of the first acts of newly minted right-wing Republican Governors are to try to destroy organized labor. ...

    This one-sided class war by the corporate oligarchy against the middle and working class has, until now, been met by remarkably little resistance from the latter. The progressive movement, such as there is one, has been primarily directed at electing Democrats who too often disappoint it by deregulating financial markets and passing "free" trade bills that reduce American jobs (Clinton) or appointing the same Wall Street friendly economic advisors who helped create the Great Recession and cutting deals with corporate special interests to pass inadequate health care and financial reforms (Obama). There's been little of the mass progressive movements of the past which FDR said were necessary to "make him" (and other politicians) pass reforms like those of the New Deal.

    But perhaps enough is finally enough. By their extremism, right-wing Republicans may have woken a sleeping giant in organized labor that is just beginning to show its power in the streets of Wisconsin. It may be the beginning of a new mass movement of the middle and working class -- both unionized and non-unionized -- to take power back from organized corporate oligarchs and to restore a measure of social and economic equality to the nation.

    Just as what started Tunisia and Egypt is now spreading to Bahrain, Yemen and Libya, what started in Wisconsin may spread to Ohio, Illinois, New Jersey, California, and across the country. ..."

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/miles-mogulescu/wisconsin-is-ground-zero_b_825321.html

    I tell ya, this is French Revolution deja vu and après Boehner le deluge!
  • mke_bt

    Posts: 707

    Feb 19, 2011 1:14 AM GMT

    My hopes are that Wisconsin once again leads the nation in progressive causes.
    Here are just two areas where Wisconsin led the nation.
    1911 - The nation's first workers compensation law.
    1984 - The nation's first gay rights legislation. Supported and signed into law by REPUBLICAN Governor Lee Sherman Dreyfuss.

    Every fourth grade student learns in their Wisconsin history lessons that the statue atop our beautiful state capitol represents the sentiment, "Forward".
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    Feb 19, 2011 1:39 AM GMT
    Today, tens of thousands of protesters continued to flood the Wisconsin state house – all to oppose Gov. Scott Walker’s assault on middle-class jobs and collective bargaining rights.

    Can you make it to Madison, Wis., this weekend? This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to feel incredible energy and make a difference—don’t miss out.

    Two rallies are confirmed in Madison for Saturday: one at 10:30 a.m., and another at 4:30 p.m.

    If you can’t make those, there are also other events throughout Wisconsin, and more events are being announced all the time. So it is very likely there will be protests on Saturday & Sunday.

    For regularly updated information on what’s happening in Wisconsin this weekend, go here:
    http://www.wiafscme.org/

    Really try to come if you can. We need all hands on deck this weekend to stop Gov. Walker’s budget repair sham. Gov. Walker manufactured a budget emergency by giving tax cuts to business owners, and now he’s going after Wisconsin’s workers to pay for them—trying to rob some 200,000 teachers and other public employees of their democratic collective bargaining rights.

    Public-sector union members are directly under attack today—but if we don’t speak out together, all workers will be under attack in no time. This is not just about unions—it’s about preserving a middle class in America.

    Please come out this weekend. Here’s where to find out what’s happening in Wisconsin:
    http://www.wiafscme.org/

    In Solidarity,

    Manny Herrmann
    Online Mobilization Coordinator, AFL-CIO

    P.S. We just got word that tea party protesters will be in Madison tomorrow. We will provide them full space to exercise their rights, as we exercise our rights. Please avoid engaging tea party activists in any confrontational way. Discuss and spread this important message with all activists you see at the rallies.
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    Feb 19, 2011 1:53 AM GMT
    I think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:01 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:02 AM GMT
    Frankly, I think it is too late. We will have a revolution within 25-50 years.

    P.S.: Learn to speak Chinese. Ni Hao Ma?
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:08 AM GMT
    thank you for that great post Jockgymboy !!! Here's hoping the protesters influence the end of the Governors attack on public workers rights.


    The unions always have been the Middle class best defense against the Corporate Oligarchy.


    What would it have been like for brick layers, Iron Workers, Minors, teachers, Auto manufacturer workers and factory workers of all types, without the unions coming in so those workers had a living wage to afford homes and to educate their children.

    Have any of you ever visited the historic Coal Company Towns in Kentucky, Virginia or PA ?? you ought to see how those poor people had to live, and the old song, "I OWE MY SOUL TO THE COMPANY STORE" was the exact truth. These poor folks had no way to get out of the system except the UNIONS.

    Unions are needed because the Corps have no interest in anything but the bottom line, and without the threat of a Unions power they would get increasingly down on the workers rights. Unions provide a check and balance, that's how our system works.
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:12 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.
  • CuriousJockAZ

    Posts: 19129

    Feb 19, 2011 2:15 AM GMT
    FlibbertyGibbet saidFrankly, I think it is too late. We will have a revolution within 25-50 years.

    P.S.: Learn to speak Chinese. Ni Hao Ma?



    Thank GOD I absolutely LOVE Chinese food. icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:49 AM GMT
    jockgymboy said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.


    What he said. icon_lol.gif
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:51 AM GMT
    jockgymboy said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.

    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.
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    Feb 19, 2011 2:54 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    jockgymboy said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.

    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.


    Who's "we" Kemo Sabe? icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Feb 19, 2011 3:09 AM GMT
    Christian73 said
    socalfitness said
    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.

    Who's "we" Kemo Sabe? icon_rolleyes.gif

    The "we" is very revealing. Showing that guys like him are not "us."

    "They" in fact oppose small private companies, against anything that fails to advance large-scale corporate interests. And also against anything gay, if I can mention that social aspect to this issue, as well. You can see that time & again here.

    Just so we know who these guys are, and what their goals are, both economic & social. They slam the "gay agenda" of gay marriage and civil rights, but what is theirs? I dislike dishonesty & deception. Only fair that we know who we're dealing with here.
  • SkyMiles

    Posts: 963

    Feb 19, 2011 3:27 AM GMT
    I wish unions were stronger. Being a working stooge in the era of "at-will" employment I've seen for myself that there is no such thing as job security. And where unions used to advance the cause of working people nothing has taken their place. Outsourcing, health care, pensions retirement, wages, time-off -- it would kind of be nice if WE had any kind of organization on our side half as powerful as any given corporation on any of these issues.
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    Feb 19, 2011 3:40 AM GMT
    lol, unionized teachers in WI make 25K a year to start and top rate is less than 57K. That's middle class?!? Srsly? Looks like lower class when considering a select few of the more pompous right-wing posters on RJ. Just ask SB who gloats that someone making 250K a year in the US is not wealthy.

    -Doug

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    Feb 19, 2011 3:42 AM GMT
    Art_Deco said
    Christian73 said
    socalfitness said
    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.

    Who's "we" Kemo Sabe? icon_rolleyes.gif

    The "we" is very revealing. Showing that guys like him are not "us."

    "They" in fact oppose small private companies, against anything that fails to advance large-scale corporate interests. And also against anything gay, if I can mention that social aspect to this issue, as well. You can see that time & again here.

    Just so we know who these guys are, and what their goals are, both economic & social. They slam the "gay agenda" of gay marriage and civil rights, but what is theirs? I dislike dishonesty & deception. Only fair that we know who we're dealing with here.

    The "we" was in response to the question by jockgymboy "So should we go after them, too?", so I am sorry to damage your self-image as a sleuth. So based on my using the word "we" in response to the question, you equate "we" with "they" versus "us", and then associate "me" with "they" which must be the opposite of "us" and, therefore, "they" and "I" must have an anti-gay agenda. This is even more ridiculous given "I" have never taken an anti-gay position, but because "I" support politicians who are members of the same political party that also contain other politicians who are anti-gay, or at least do not favor gay marriage, "I" must also anti-gay, by association.

    You sound humorous and pathetic at the same time. So because you were once a military person, and supposedly in the past spoke and wrote using plain English, I'll give you the bottom line translation of your gibberish. You happen to be radical, left-wing socialist-leaning, in addition to supporting gay rights. You can't stand and are also incapable of understanding how others can support limited Government, responsible spending, etc., so you shamelessly throw the gay card around to try and shame anyone who does not share your left-wing radical position. If you cannot shame them, and you certainly cannot shame me, then you try to discredit us, and in this case, me, to others. I suppose your mind has reconciled the existence of national gay rights groups that are also associated with the Republican Party. You must assume they are really anti-gay as well.

    As SB pointed out before, you have directly associated me with having an anti-gay agenda. In addition to writing an untruth, I believe you are at the border and possibly crossed it in terms of violating the RJ TOS.

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    Feb 19, 2011 3:52 AM GMT
    meninlove said lol, unionized teachers in WI make 25K a year to start and top rate is less than 57K. That's middle class?!? Srsly? Looks like lower class when considering a select few of the more pompous right-wing posters on RJ. Just ask SB who gloats that someone making 250K a year in the US is not wealthy.

    -Doug



    25K is disgraceful and it's embarrassing. By the governments own standards that is poverty. I can't even imagine anyone thinking our teachers make too much. icon_sad.gif You couldn't pay me enough for that job.
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    Feb 19, 2011 4:04 AM GMT
    The trouble with unions in The states is they are hella corrupt and are a franchise of organized crime.
  • vintovka

    Posts: 588

    Feb 19, 2011 4:04 AM GMT
    socalfitness said
    jockgymboy said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.

    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.


    Well actually, no. As a matter of fact who and how unions can organize is pretty well regulated by the US Government and the states. Amazingly, however, conservatives are silent on the interference of government when that power is used to limit the power of labor organizations.

    Aside from that, the move to outsource jobs is in fact a giant end-run around organized labor and labor standards, so the government does in fact legislate the organization of labor in private companies both directly and indirectly.
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    Feb 19, 2011 4:15 AM GMT
    vintovka said
    socalfitness said
    jockgymboy said
    socalfitness said
    Christian73 saidI think the Republicans really overstepped this time and have woken the real "silent majority." People who are hard working middle class moms and dads who see these predations for what they are.

    I know this scenario gives you comfort, and the demonstrators that the unions organized supports this view. The elections and polls really show that the "silent majority" is not so silent. There are millions not demonstrating in the streets shouting. They are tired of having to tighten their belts while many public employees pay nothing towards their retirements and enjoy very generous health plans. The Republicans have not overreached, but are representing the will of the majority.


    There are many private sector employees such as ups who are organized by the teamsters, who also do not pay anything for their health insurance or pensions. So should we go after them, too? There is no end in sight to greedy goverment and corporate america who wants to enslave us to their greed.

    No, we don't go after private companies. What they do is their own business.


    Well actually, no. As a matter of fact who and how unions can organize is pretty well regulated by the US Government and the states. Amazingly, however, conservatives are silent on the interference of government when that power is used to limit the power of labor organizations.

    Aside from that, the move to outsource jobs is in fact a giant end-run around organized labor and labor standards, so the government does in fact legislate the organization of labor in private companies both directly and indirectly.

    Yes, your point about government oversight is valid. The point I was trying to make, rather simply in response to the question/comment from another guy, is there should be less government involvement in the wage and benefit packages of employees of private businesses versus government employees.
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    Feb 19, 2011 4:37 AM GMT
    jockgymboy said
    meninlove said lol, unionized teachers in WI make 25K a year to start and top rate is less than 57K. That's middle class?!? Srsly? Looks like lower class when considering a select few of the more pompous right-wing posters on RJ. Just ask SB who gloats that someone making 250K a year in the US is not wealthy.

    -Doug



    25K is disgraceful and it's embarrassing. By the governments own standards that is poverty. I can't even imagine anyone thinking our teachers make too much. icon_sad.gif You couldn't pay me enough for that job.





    Good points !! Think about this, $25,000 starting income and even the $50,000 + per year salary in light of the starting salary of basketball players, football players, baseball or soccer players. The latter are playing with a ball mind you and are paid up in the 20 to 30 million dollar range for the higher end of players, bottom players are in the range of10 million.

    Which is of more importance a teacher working with, training, influencing, teaching human minds, the human beings who are our future. Yet some in our society complain that they have too many benefits or make too much money?. Where the hell are our priorities ? Now watch though, I'll be put down for this comparison, but think that if our priorities were as they should be, Teachers would be tops, they would be of more importance than those who are bouncing balls, kicking and throwing them.

    Society gets what it wants the most, Society pays for what it sees as most important, if society places the highest value on bouncing balls, then thats where the money will be. Our society doesn't seem to place so much importance on teaching our future generations or the money would be there, and there wouldn't be complaints about these minimal wages and benefits being too high. In everything you can always follow the money to find the problem. Our society is dumbed down so its priority is the entertainment of the ball being bounced, so the money heads in that direction. Maybe if we could make sport of teaching and learning, the money might follow. Ha !! Can't quite see it happening, but that's kind of what this all boils down to. Things are bassackwards !!!! LOL !!!!
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    Feb 19, 2011 4:38 AM GMT
    Listen, I'm a state employee. Not in a union (used to be, at-will now, but still a state employee.) Sure, I have good health benefits and am part of a large scale retirement plan. But my salary is shit.

    Yes all my friends in the private sector pay more for their health coverage out of pocket and invest in 401Ks etc, but they still have far more money in pocket to live and play at a level I cannot. If I didn't have pals to let me tag along, I'd never go on a vacation beyond a long weekend in a neighboring city, eating Panera all weekend and only doing every free thing I available. I keep my cars for 10 years while all my pals get new ones every 3-4 years.

    This whole move by state governments to break unions and "reduce government payroll" is a sickening smoke screen. These governors want to villainize government workers to make the real end game easy.

    And what's that end game? Oh you think it's bad now, just wait. If they break unions and workers rights, next they can annihilate all workers rights, starting with health care mandates that enable most of you to have health care at a reduced cost through your employer. Then, they'll continue to chip away, maybe force everyone to work as many hours as they want, with as little time off as they can give, for as little money as possible. Maybe we'll all be applying for jobs with lowball salary offers. Meaning all you people working at ..I dunno, some Fortune 500 will see your health care disappear and what little vacation you get you'll probably have to purchase from the company as some sort of salary deduction.

    And all of this is for what purpose? To make the rich richer and finally turn America into a cheap second world labor market for the corporations to use to make goods and services for the rising first world in other parts of the globe.
  • TrentGrad

    Posts: 1541

    Feb 19, 2011 5:14 AM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    FlibbertyGibbet saidFrankly, I think it is too late. We will have a revolution within 25-50 years.

    P.S.: Learn to speak Chinese. Ni Hao Ma?



    Thank GOD I absolutely LOVE Chinese food. icon_lol.gif


    I've got a coupon for Chinese food...maybe tomorrow I'll get some. ;) LOL
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    Feb 19, 2011 5:26 AM GMT
    RunintheCity saidListen, I'm a state employee. Not in a union (used to be, at-will now, but still a state employee.) Sure, I have good health benefits and am part of a large scale retirement plan. But my salary is shit.

    Yes all my friends in the private sector pay more for their health coverage out of pocket and invest in 401Ks etc, but they still have far more money in pocket to live and play at a level I cannot. If I didn't have pals to let me tag along, I'd never go on a vacation beyond a long weekend in a neighboring city, eating Panera all weekend and only doing every free thing I available. I keep my cars for 10 years while all my pals get new ones every 3-4 years.

    This whole move by state governments to break unions and "reduce government payroll" is a sickening smoke screen. These governors want to villainize government workers to make the real end game easy.

    And what's that end game? Oh you think it's bad now, just wait. If they break unions and workers rights, next they can annihilate all workers rights, starting with health care mandates that enable most of you to have health care at a reduced cost through your employer. Then, they'll continue to chip away, maybe force everyone to work as many hours as they want, with as little time off as they can give, for as little money as possible. Maybe we'll all be applying for jobs with lowball salary offers. Meaning all you people working at ..I dunno, some Fortune 500 will see your health care disappear and what little vacation you get you'll probably have to purchase from the company as some sort of salary deduction.

    And all of this is for what purpose? To make the rich richer and finally turn America into a cheap second world labor market for the corporations to use to make goods and services for the rising first world in other parts of the globe.


    Up here, under our far right-wing provincial gov't who, as a random joke labeled itself the Liberal Party, call-outs for temps were reduced from a four hour minimum to two. Your transit fares are going to be 2.25 each way, about an hours net pay added up. If you have to cross more zones you pay more.
    Nice going, idiots. The working poor are doing all the shit jobs you wouldn't stoop to. Your appreciation sucks.


    lol, two beer , what can I say?

    -Doug

  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Feb 19, 2011 5:40 AM GMT
    The OP is exactly correct.

    I always have to laugh when people disparage the unions, as if it was something that the workers forced onto management, instead of it being a contract, the terms of which were agreed upon by BOTH management and labor.

    When workers have a say in their job, they are happier, more productive workers.

    Unions are responsible for a safe and healthy workplace, an 8 hour work day, a 40 hour work week, child labor laws, sick leave, vacation time, and a living wage, non of which are unreasonable.