UnionMaine

Trust me, I work for the Government

2004, George Bush, an even lower point for modern American labor than Ronald Reagan.

E.T.I. 2009

Union members spent more than $85million failing to beat President Bush. The Unions were left with less money and far fewer friends in congress. Bush appointed Union hating labor regulators and promoted anti-union policies.

After 2004, unions faced internal splits, with the SEIU and its 1.8 million members, as well as six other major unions, leaving the AFL-CIO.

The drive to destroy organized labor, started with the election of President Ronald Reagan, was, it seemed, nearly complete. It was all over.

But in 2007, three years later, labor is coming back! It is finding new muscle and remembering how to organize members and votes. The Union muscle is political. The new muscle is being flexed in the presidential campaign, and ready to reverse decades of declining membership with new friends in the White House and Congress.

Stop and look. There is hope. Democratic presidential candidates have walked a day in Union member’s shoes. Candidates not afraid to say how much the Unions have helped this country and that having a good job does not make you a terrorist. The Employee Free Choice Act passed in the House, and nearly passed in the Senate. The EFCA would allow workers to join a union by signing a card rather than going through a long campaign where they can be seen talking to the Union and where management takes every chance to frighten people only trying to feed a family, pay the rent, and pursue happiness. If Democrats get real power they will owe their position to labor not just a few currently undecided voters.

In America huge change is still possible, labor can come back, the economy can be taken from the control of just the top 1/10 of 1%.

Maybe Bush and the Republican scandals and Bushes endless war based on lies have turned out to have one good point. The Iraq war, a bad economy for the working class, the destruction of the middle class, and various Republican scandals have helped to Unite Labor and the Democrats deliver Congress to them.

Labor remains a strong force in Democratic politics due to a focused belief in betterment for everyone. The skills learned by Unions when members were shot for starting a Union have not been forgotten, just not used enough.

In the 2006 elections Unions spent millions, with most of it going to Democratic candidates. Nevada Sen. Harry Reid talked about labor in a conference call in February, one week before the Carson City presidential forum, sponsored by AFSCME, the largest of the 55 member unions in the AFL-CIO.

“Let me testify to everyone that I would not be the majority leader if it were not for you and your great union,” Reid told Gerald McEntee, president of the public employees union.

Democrats have changed.

The country has moved to the left on a range of economic issues. In 2005 1 percent of Americans controlled twenty percent of the country’s wealth. In 2005 there was more money in fewer hands since 1929.

The fear for themselves, along with rising health care costs, jobs going to China and Mexico, retirement defaults with the companies going back into business and growing rich has led to Unions being able to help elect Democrats in the Midwest to elect Democrats to public office, even with fewer members than in 2004.

Labor Listens! Labor knows what the country wants and what the country fears. Unions campaigns against Wal-Mart, one of the worst anti-labor, money is all, employees are replaceable companies has felt the sting. Even after failing to organize Wal-Mart workers, the SEIU and the United Food and Commercial Workers started campaigns in 2005 to shame the retailer into change.

Negative publicity, driven in part by Unions, has hurt Wal-Mart sales by 2 percent to 8 percent. Wal_Mart announced plans to cut the number of stores it will open.

Starting with the SEIU’s Stern, new tactics are giving labor some minor organizational successes for the first time in possibly thirty to forty years.

This is from the MSEASEIU web page:

Home Care for Maine Workers Ratify First Contract!

Home Care for Maine workers across the state voted resoundingly to approve their first contract. The ballots were counted at 6pm on August 16.

In approving this contract, Home Care for Maine has taken the last step toward becoming the newest unit here at MSEA-SEIU Local 1989.

This is the first home care contract in the nation to include paid organizational leave for workers. Please go to Http://WWW.MSEASEIU.ORG and read the whole story.

The Unions are polishing new organizational strategies and planning how best to use what we hope will be newly found influence in congress and the White House. It is not just dreams, Democratic candidates are supporting Unions as part of the economic solution to globalization and declining wages.

If we get a Democrat in the White House, we’ll get an improvement. Anything is better than what we have now, it won’t take much to see an improvement.

A Democrat in the White House will give Unions a friendlier National Labor Relations Board, one that is not supported by the richest 1%. Maybe the next president will return the rights of Unionization to the thousands of workers that had their rights stolen under the boogey man of terrorism.

The best thing that could happen is a growing membership. The Employee Free Choice Act would allow unions to organize workers by getting them to sign a card, instead of facing employer intimidation.

A card check system would help Unions organize Wal-Mart, other retailers and service industries. America could become a land where it is not a crime to earn a fair wage.

We definitely won’t get it all. Democratic victories in 2008 won’t give us all of the changes we need.

There is a fight ahead, even with a Democratic Congress and a Democratic president, it will be war. The Republicans and the richest 1% in the world will not roll over and give up.

Even if the Employee Free Choice becomes law law, unions will face the legal and political muscle of firms that have grown rich busting organizing campaigns.

Unions need to think big. Supporting national health care plan, would remove from the bargaining table one of the hardest fought battles in contract talks.

One Union, the AFL-CIO has already made Health care reform a big part of the Unions’s political platform. The SEIU co-hosted a presidential forum this year in Las Vegas devoted solely to the issue.

To be successful Unions must get the word out. Unions don’t want better wages and Health care only for themselves. That would be a formula for failure. The Union goal is more than wages and working conditions. Unions are made of Americans that want better health care, better wages, respect, and a better life for all.

If Unions have the muscle, and they must be patient and weigh the time, Congress can be encouraged to hold investigations and hearings on the law firms and retailers that have tried to avoid unions. Those hearings would be nothing new, in the late 1930s Congress investigated Union-busting activities of companies such as General Motors and Republic Steel.

No matter how happily the 2008 elections turn out Unions will not become successful solely through a President or Congress. Unions will only become successful if they organize workers and improve their jobs and their lives.

E.T.I. 2009

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August 23rd, 2007 Posted by narsbars | MSEA, MSEASEIU, SEIU, SEIU 1984, SEIU 1989, STATE EMPLOYEES, TECHNORATI, UNIONMAINE, VSEA | no comments

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