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An Anti-Union Agenda

December 17, 2008

It is by now clear that the Senate Republicans killed the auto bailout deal for one reason only: to give organized labor a bloody nose. For sure, there are many complicated issues with this proposed bailout including the sustainability of the business model, mushrooming unemployment and the devastation of local economies, contagion across other sectors and the broad-based demand slump, the relationship to energy policy and the need to make more energy-efficient vehicles etc. But the Senate Republicans were  simply out for a fight with the unions, the United Autoworkers in particular. Despite the union agreeing to major concessions, and despite the fact that the average hourly wages barely differs among union and non-union auto plants, this was the line in the sand.

An internal Republican memo says as much, calling on its caucus to “stand firm and take their first shot against organized labor.” This is an ideological battle, driven by a southern interest group (and the Republican party is now a largely a southern white party) protecting the interests of their anti-union so-called “right to work” states (and often receiving large contributions from anti-union employers). This serves to reduce the bargaining power of labor, a key concern of Catholic social teaching since Leo XIII. As the Compendium summarizes, “The Magisterium recognizes the fundamental role played by labour unions, whose existence is connected with the right to form associations or unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions.” As I said, a line in the sand.

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40 Comments
  1. December 17, 2008 5:45 pm

    By standing against unions, Republicans will only continue to alienate their remaining working class voters. Which is fine by me. The Republican Party is, at its core, the rich peoples’ party, and the sooner the working classes wake up to that fact, the sooner the Republican Party will be further marginalized.

    EFCA is part of the solution; repealing portions of Taft-Hartley, specifically section 14(b) which lets states decide whether or not to allow union-shop agreements, would overturn “right to work” laws, and make it even easier to organize in those states, further eroding Republican support in their southern strongholds.

  2. Gerry permalink
    December 17, 2008 6:03 pm

    Are all “workers” pro-union?

    The South has been Right-to-Work for decades, and proudly so, and their congressional delegation reflects that reality.

    If Shelby ,et al, get thrown out of office next election because of their stance, you’d have a point. But I really doubt that will happen.

    Maybe they’ve made the connection, seeing the death of the economies of the Rust Belt, and their own thriving economies. Maybe they’ve figured out that the constrictive regulations imposed in a union shop have something to do with that.

    This is not 1853 England. Or even 1892 Pennsylvania.

    Things change, economies change. People have a freedom to work in circumstances that they choose which they might not have had a hundred years ago. If southern workers wanted union shops, they wouldn’t work for Honda or Toyota. Period.

  3. December 17, 2008 6:08 pm

    I think this is unfair. Most Republicans against this were also against the 700 billion bailout. Although unions are good, as the Catechism states, it is also clear that the unions have played a significant part in Detroit’s troubles. I don’t think it’s uncatholic to want the union to become more balanced if you’re going to add to an ever-increasing debt to rescue a mismanaged industry.

  4. December 17, 2008 6:12 pm

    No, Gerry: If southern workers want to work in a union shop, they can’t, due to the provisions of Taft-Hartley I mentioned. The owners in the south are “proudly” anti-union and have managed to convince some of their workers that they should oppose unions too…but it is in their workers’ interests to organize, and repealing “right to work” would allow southern workers to discover this. Once they are organized and represented by a union, there will be no going back.

    The southern elites know this of course, which is why I expect this will be a battle of monumental proportions. I look forward to it.

  5. ctd permalink
    December 17, 2008 6:19 pm

    I will defend to the end workers’ right to organize and the Church’s teaching on the matter. The Church’s teaching, however, does not extend to being pro-union. The Republican’s anti-union position may be wrong, but it is not contrary to Catholic teaching. Frankly, considering the partisan political involvement of the unions – something the Church warns against — you can’t blame the Republicans for acting this way.

  6. Kurt permalink
    December 17, 2008 6:37 pm

    Frankly, considering the partisan political involvement of the unions – something the Church warns against — you can’t blame the Republicans for acting this way.

    The Church does not deny workers nor their associations a role in the political process, in fact, the Church commends it.

  7. December 17, 2008 7:08 pm

    This is now the second post here at Vox Nova that, instead of arguing in favor of an auto bailout on the merits, attempts to stigmatize opposition to the bailout as being based on simple animus towards some group. Admittedly blaming opposition to the bailout on anti-union sentiment is not quite on the level of pinning it on a dislike of the Midwest. Nevertheless, the style of argument doesn’t seem very compelling.

  8. December 17, 2008 7:13 pm

    despite the fact that the average hourly wages barely differs among union and non-union auto plants

    Here’s an irony: ordinarily people on the left speak as if unions are necessary to keep wages from falling to subsistence levels, yet many of these same people are arguing that actually it doesn’t make much difference.

  9. steve permalink
    December 17, 2008 7:16 pm

    There are fundamental contractual changes required that the bailout could not dictate. As an example, the fact that the automakers are paying full time wages to people who have not worked in a significant amount of time is outrageous (the job bank). I am not sure the Church teaches people are entitled to payment for non-work. Unions can be and have been good, but the recent (last 20-30 years) the unions have acted in a manner that is far from Christian. The strong arm tactics should make all of us cringe, including to eliminate the secret ballot in union elections.

    For a site dedicated to Catholic perspectives on culture, society and politics, this post is another unbecoming one from MM. These partisan rants belong on a partisan site (aka Kos). The Catholic quote at the end are an afterthought to cover this sharply partisan opinion.

  10. December 17, 2008 7:30 pm

    Just efforts to secure the rights of workers who are united by the same profession should always take into account the limitations imposed by the general economic situation of the country. Union demands cannot be turned into a kind of group or class “egoism”, although they can and should also aim at correcting-with a view to the common good of the whole of society- everything defective in the system of ownership of the means of production or in the way these are managed. Social and socioeconomic life is certainly like a system of “connected vessels”, and every social activity directed towards safeguarding the rights of particular groups should adapt itself to this system.

    In this sense, union activity undoubtedly enters the field of politics, understood as prudent concern for the common good. However, the role of unions is not to “play politics” in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them. In fact, in such a situation they easily lose contact with their specific role, which is to secure the just rights of workers within the framework of the common good of the whole of society; instead they become an instrument used for other purposes.

    Laborem Exercens 20.

  11. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    December 17, 2008 7:59 pm

    Blackadder,

    If you don’t believe in parochialism – let alone ascribe it to visceral emotion – I think that is your own deficit. I addressed the merits of the bailout here.

  12. ctd permalink
    December 17, 2008 8:27 pm

    I did not say that the Church denied unions the right to engage in the political process. I said that the Church warns against partisan political involvement.

    “Unions do not, however, have the character of “political parties” struggling for power, and they should not . . .be too closely linked to them.” Compendium on the Social Doctrine of the Church, No. 307.

    “However, the role of unions is not to “play politics” in the sense that the expression is commonly understood today. Unions do not have the character of political parties struggling for power; they should not be subjected to the decision of political parties or have too close links with them. In fact, in such a situation they easily lose contact with their specific role, which is to secure the just rights of workers within the framework of the common good of the whole of society; instead they become an instrument used for other purposes.” Laborum Exercens, No. 20.

  13. S.B. permalink
    December 17, 2008 9:38 pm

    Say, MM, change of subject here, but given the recent issuance of the Levin-MCCAIN memo decrying the use of torture, and given that your guy won the Presidency, could you find it within yourself to back down from the ridiculous contention that McCain was a “supporter” of torture?

  14. December 17, 2008 9:44 pm

    Here’s an irony: ordinarily people on the left speak as if unions are necessary to keep wages from falling to subsistence levels, yet many of these same people are arguing that actually it doesn’t make much difference.

    You can be sure that were it not for the UAW, the wages of all autoworkers would be lower. Non-unionized businesses must pay wages comparable to unions in order to avoid being organized. It’s almost always somewhat less, but close enough to keep the union organizers at bay.

  15. S.B. permalink
    December 17, 2008 9:46 pm

    This is now the second post here at Vox Nova that, instead of arguing in favor of an auto bailout on the merits, attempts to stigmatize opposition to the bailout as being based on simple animus towards some group.

    Well, making that argument would be quite a bit more difficult and less of a cheap shot. It’s not readily obvious why people like me — having forsworn GM’s crappy cars and paid off a car loan on a Honda — should be on the hook to send GM more money anyway.

  16. December 17, 2008 9:47 pm

    Blackadder,

    This is not a post about the merits or demerits of the bailout. It is a post about the anti-union agenda of the modern rump Republican party. I am merely quoting their own words– how is that “animus”?

    To the matter of wages: you know as well as I do that while wages are similar, benefits are not. Now, if you want to support a single payer system that takes the responsibility for health care away from private companies, then fine. But I don’t think you want that. Until the day that this country adopts a sane and humane health care system, I thank God that there are unions out there who can lobby effectively for these benefits.

    On the “partisan” nature of unions– excuse me, but until the Southern party stops its war against the poor and its preferential option for the rich, then yes, unions have to support the Democrats. In Europe, they are generally less partisan (in some countries with some complications based on roots in political and denominational movements).

  17. December 17, 2008 9:56 pm

    It’s not readily obvious why people like me — having forsworn GM’s crappy cars and paid off a car loan on a Honda — should be on the hook to send GM more money anyway.

    Hmmm… not sure we want to go there. Do I like my taxes going to the military? No I do not. But sticking to the bailouts– are we happy about the rescue of large Wall Street financial companies that were leveraged to the hilt, enjoying the good times in anticipation of a taxpayer rescue? No, we are not. But to avoid a catastrophic economic downturn, we need to hold our noses and do what’s best for the common good. I don’t drive an American car either, and I also have problems with the business model– largely because of the way they fought higher emissions standards tooth and nail while pushing out their SUV behemoths. But bankruptcy could have devastating effects on the regional economies, directly, and also indirectly through the supply chain. We also need to realize that much of the problem is frozen credit markets, which means that people cannot access car loans and the companies are having trouble accessing liquidity. Such a problem justifies an intervention.

  18. December 17, 2008 10:06 pm

    Wow looking at the memo it does not seem so sinister as portrayed.

  19. December 17, 2008 10:28 pm

    To the matter of wages: you know as well as I do that while wages are similar, benefits are not. Now, if you want to support a single payer system that takes the responsibility for health care away from private companies, then fine.

    Japan does not have a single payer health care system and even if it did, the workers in Japanese auto plants in the States wouldn’t be covered by such a system, so raising the single payer issue is something of a red herring.

    But to avoid a catastrophic economic downturn, we need to hold our noses and do what’s best for the common good.

    The evidence that allowing GM to file for bankruptcy would lead to a catastrophic economic downturn has been less than compelling.

    I don’t drive an American car either, and I also have problems with the business model– largely because of the way they fought higher emissions standards tooth and nail while pushing out their SUV behemoths.

    See, this is precisely the sort of statement that makes me think a bailout would be the death knell for the Big Three. As Mr. Forrest noted in a prior thread, large cars and SUVs are the source of pretty much all the profit from American car sales, whether by American or foreign owned companies. Of course this, like the rise of the SUV itself, is largely a function of government regulation. But whatever. If the Big Three had focused only selling the environmentally friendly small cars as you would like, they would have gone bankrupt years ago. Americans like bigger cars. However much one might wish it weren’t so, this is just a fact, just as it is a fact that the higher labor costs and cumbersome work rules imposed by the U.A.W. make it harder for the Big Three to compete. If the Big Three accept a bailout, it will be on condition that they turn over decision making authority to people who think their problem is that they haven’t been environmentally conscious enough in their car design. If that happens, the companies will never recover.

    I should also note, for the record, that I drive an American car. Indeed, it’s a brand owned by GM (though MM will be happy to know it gets excellent gas mileage).

  20. December 17, 2008 10:53 pm

    If you don’t believe in parochialism – let alone ascribe it to visceral emotion – I think that is your own deficit.

    Parochialism is exactly the term I would use to describe many people’s thinking when it comes to unions. In Japan, unions and management operate in a less adversarial and more cooperative fashion. This is, I would suggest, more in keeping with Catholic Social Thought, which rejects the idea of an inherent conflict between capital and labor and explicitly endorses the concept of associations of employers and workers (something that is illegal under current American law). Yet far too many American Catholics tend to treat unionism as it has existed in the States since the Wagner Act as if it were the only legitimate system of unionism. Such that merely to recognize the negative consequences such a system has too often wrought is to be “anti-union.”

  21. S.B. permalink
    December 17, 2008 11:34 pm

    But to avoid a catastrophic economic downturn, we need to hold our noses and do what’s best for the common good.

    Which is PRECISELY what has yet to be demonstrated. I.e., no one is demonstrating that the bankruptcy of GM would be catastrophic, nor that bailing GM out would be for the “common good” (rather than just a mere stopgap that does nothing to hold off the inevitable).

  22. Kurt permalink
    December 18, 2008 9:08 am

    The quote from Laborem Exercens firmly supports my position and is a defense, not a criticism, of the role American unions take in political action.

    The words of Laborem Exercens are well taken. In the world today we have self-described labor unions unworthy of the name. The prime example would be the the so-called trade unions in Communist China, which are simply fronts for the state and the Communist Party. In other totalitarian regimes, a similar situation exists and, at times, unions have existed that less represented their member’s job interests as served to organize the working class for some other purpose — such as with Peronism or the Belgian Steelworkers serving simply as a front for Wallonian nationalism.

    Even the Church herself, which found it necessary in the 19th century to help organize “Christian” trade unions has, since 1945, developed a policy of distancing herself from these organizations and encouraging their merger into broader, “free” unions. Unions should not only be independent of any political party but of any religious confession as well.

    Right wing clap aside, U.S. unions are autonomous organizations making their own political decisions. American unions are not “subjected to the decision of political parties.” The Democratic National Committee cannot give orders to the AFL-CIO.
    Labor support the candidates who support them. If the preponderance of those individual decisions falls towards one party or another, so be it. But they are independent political actors.

  23. jpf permalink
    December 18, 2008 11:41 am

    Hourly wages are the same but benefits are not. MM seems to imply that the only benefits that are in question are health and medical benefits. Those are probably the only ones that are the same except for wages between union and non-union shops.

    Benefits differ in that in UAW shops at the Medium 3 as follows:

    “when workers are laid off they are still paid their full wages. Hourly workers can retire after 20 years with full pensions and health benefits. UAW workers retire after 30 years on a generous pension. If they don’t qualify for Social Security benefits because they’re in their 50s, they get special bonus payments until they do.

    “Not to mention gold-plated health coverage. For $10 a month and a $250 deductible, UAW workers and retirees get comprehensive medical, hospital, surgical and prescription drug coverage. Most retirees in Medicare, by contrast, must pay thousands of dollars annually in premiums, deductibles and copays.

    “Worse, under the union contracts the automakers do not lay off workers when plants close. Instead they transfer them to the JOBS bank. There they get nearly full pay to not work. Detroit automakers actually pay thousands of workers six-figure salaries to sit around and play Trivial Pursuit.”

    http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/archive/s_599972.html

    As a former GM Salaried employee I grew tired of these pigs sit around all day bitching and complaining about how management and white collared workers were exploiting them and making sooo much money while making more money and had better benefits than most salaried workers.

    Is the UAW totally to blame no. Spineless Medium 3 management is also to blame for its failure to stand up to Big Labor over the past 20-30 years.

    Let them go bankrupt. Liquidation of resources is sometimes necessary for their more efficient reallocation. No pain no gain.

  24. December 18, 2008 11:46 am

    Especially American unions tend towards corruption, with a history of organized crime. But of course collective bargaining is very important. That it can be used unwisely seems obvious with the car industry.

    Minion, I think you’ll “like” this quote from our fearless leader George W. Bush. It’s almost as good as the one about not having found WMDs, adding “But no one can now doubt the word of America.”

    “What do you expect? We’ve got a major economic problem and I’m the president during the major economic problem. I mean, do people approve of the economy? No. I don’t approve of the economy. … I’ve been a wartime president. I’ve dealt with two economic recessions now. I’ve had, hell, a lot of serious challenges. What matters to me is I didn’t compromise my soul to be a popular guy.”

    F*&! – what WOULD compromise his soul ? “I’ve been a wartime president” – well yeah cause you started the war! Good night and good luck. No wonder Obama is viewed as the Messiah.

  25. Nathan permalink
    December 18, 2008 4:09 pm

    Yes, the Church teaches that workers have the right to organize unions. But does that teaching mean that we are to accept the believe that unions are always the way for the working poor to advance everywhere at all times in history? The current American labor movement is a small segment of society that has marginalized itself by unnecessarily and obtusely focused only on the present and ignoring the future and tying itself to the pro-abortion, pro-gay agenda of liberal activists.

    Maybe, the Catholic response should not be focused on struggling to wean the unions from their new culturally liberal allies. Rather, the best Catholic response might very well be to recognize that the union model itself is out of date in contemporary American society, especially when it comes to Latino immigrants, who are, for the most part, socially conservative on these cultural issues.

    Couldn’t unionism, with in declining membership in the US, may very well be passing into social irrelevance in a society where education is key. The emphasis on education means that as Catholics we should focus on what I think is the long overdue reform that will revolutionize the lives of all the working poor, whether Latino or non-Hispanic: the education system.

  26. Kurt permalink
    December 18, 2008 5:35 pm

    Nathan,

    The late Holy Father John Paul II certainly called labor unions “indispensible” to a just, modern society. And the fastest growing segment of the labor movement is Latino workers.

    But I think the better question might be, have cultural conservatives marginalized themselves by unnecessarily tying themselves to the anti-worker, anti-union agenda of conservative activists?

    Their recent electoral disaster suggests they may have.

  27. Nathan permalink
    December 18, 2008 5:56 pm

    In “Strangers in a Foreign Land: The Organizing of Catholic Latinos in the United States,” George E. Schultze, S.J. offers a theory that the attack on the family in U.S. society has done more to destroy the labor movement than any weakening of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). When labor unions, primarily the leaders, advisors and staff, begin to link themselves with pro-abortion and pro-homosexuality groups, they focus not on welfare of their members but of their political power motivations.

    Schultze recognizes that other factors contribute to the decreasing effectiveness of labor activism, such as internal struggles within unions, state and federal legislation that hampers unions’ effectiveness, and globalization with its consequence of exportable jobs. He even observes that today successful organizing efforts tend to occur among employees like construction workers and hotel service providers, whose jobs cannot be done overseas.

    Schultze calls on U.S. Catholics and their institutions to transform workers’ lives through the initiation of a similar worker-based movement as the celebrated Mondragon Cooperative Corporation in the Basque region of Spain, which for over half a century has transformed a local area through a worker-owned set of cooperatives, but unfortunately he presents this appeal in less than a single page of text and with little elaboration of how to implant the Mondragon model on U.S. soil.

  28. Kurt permalink
    December 18, 2008 6:44 pm

    Professor Schultze’s central thesis is highly flawed. Rather than having a particular alienation from the labor movement, Latinos are the fastest growing segment of the union movement. If unions were able to organize white, non-Hispanic workers to the same degree we are organizing Latino/as, we would be in the midst of the most successful organizing drive since the 1940s. Professor Schultze rightly identifies some of the obstacles workers have in organizing. It is a particular credit to the endurance and zeal for justice of Latino workers that they are best able to overcome these impediments to unionization.

    But the question still remains, why, in the aftermath of an absolutely disastrous electoral defeat, do cultural conservatives still link themselves to anti-worker, anti-union groups?

  29. December 18, 2008 9:31 pm

    Because the other side is pro-abortion, pro-same-sex marriage folks who are rather hostile to cultural conservatives.

    Pick your poison.

  30. December 18, 2008 10:57 pm

    “pro-same-sex marriage folks” – poison ? Call me arsenic, old lace for cultural conservatives.

    Yes, because gay marriage, THAT’s the real threat to civilization. “Cultural conservative” simply stands for an amalgamate of resentments; it stands for nothing positive. Its primary characteristic is paranoia. It’s hard to make Democrats look good, and there certainly are many flaws in unions that can paralyze business, but the GOP has managed to make Obama look like the Messiah. Only a nightmare like Bush could have managed that.

    I liked McCain, although better in 2000 than 2008. The fact that the far-right hated him definitely speaks for him. There are no “country club Republicans” left, no New England Republicans, it’s all mega-church-yokels now. Sad. They deserve what they got. Bush won’t I am afraid, that lunatic will go scot-free, rather than to prison where he belongs. But Clinton was impeached. All you need to know about America. You can’t win forever on simply being against something. There isn’t a majority of people around any more who can be whipped up more by BS “culture war” issues while ignoring economic disaster and war c/o the Bush administration. The fact that there is actually a “war” over evolution and sex ed is pretty embarrassing and unique to red-state-America.

    I’m not all that familiar with American unions. Is there still mob involvement ?

    In any case, no one can deny the necessity of collective bargaining rights. Unless one wants 18 hour work days back, of course. The progress unions brought was immense. In Austria, it’s only been 75 years that the Catholic fascist government outlawed unions and killed workers. Their housing complexes were literally besieged by government troops, with artillery.

  31. December 19, 2008 10:05 am

    Kurt,

    The answer to your question is pretty simple: Many of us cultural conservatives remain strongly anti-union (though of course pro-worker) because we are workers and do not want to be forced into unions.

    We consider the idea of having a union shop forced upon our workplaces (with the necessary choice between losing our jobs and funnelling our hard earned income into an organization which actively funds candidates and causes despicable to us) not only undesirable but unjust.

    All the public employees union that my father was forced to join in order not to lose his job as a community college lecturer ever did was conspire with the local politicians and administration to bankrupt the college system. Dealing with members of Actors Equity was the most annoying experiences of my wife’s work in live theatre. (“Can you move that prop over there for me? I can’t touch it. Equity rules.”) And my friends here who are refugees from the auto industry describe a workplace atmosphere that sounds absolutely insufferable up in Detroit.

    I certainly acknowledge the place that unions have had (for good and for ill) in history, and they may well still have a place in unskilled professions. But I certainly never want to be forced to join one. And as such, I don’t see why I should support legislation which would allow others to be forced into union membership.

    And if you imagine that opposition to Big Labor is what did in the GOP this year — you are much mistaken. Unions weren’t even on swing voters’ radar this year. And given the place unions have had in causing the economic crater which is the upper midwest, the labor cause will probably end up hurting the Democrats long before it helps them at this rate.

  32. December 19, 2008 11:20 am

    Gerald Naus wrote:

    Yes, because gay marriage, THAT’s the real threat to civilization.

    That’s all you have to offer, on this point? A sarcastic dismissal? I really do wonder what your idea of “civilization” entails…

    “Cultural conservative” simply stands for an amalgamate of resentments; it stands for nothing positive.

    This is pure screed, and the fact that you could say such without recognizing the irony is rather telling. Perhaps I should ask for your definition of “positive”, as well?

    Its primary characteristic is paranoia.

    Mm-hm. Ironic point #2.

    It’s hard to make Democrats look good, and there certainly are many flaws in unions that can paralyze business, but the GOP has managed to make Obama look like the Messiah. Only a nightmare like Bush could have managed that.

    You’re welcome to your opinion, of course. But seriously: have you ever questioned some of these starting assumptions of yours (e.g. your vitriolic and irrational hatred of President Bush, above and beyond anything he said or did)? If so-called “meaningless deaths” were so enraging to you, then I’d expect you to be positively apoplectic about President-elect Obama’s support for killing untold millions more unborn children (and his efforts to protect and enshrine that as a “right” in U.S. law, and by treaty throughout the world, via the U.N.), who never asked for a war to be waged against them . I don’t, however, get the impression that this bothers you much. Care to explain the inconsistency?

  33. Greg permalink
    December 19, 2008 12:30 pm

    Jim Cramer said the debt will have to be crunched and the unions will have to be broken for GM to have any chance of being competitive.

  34. December 19, 2008 2:00 pm

    Unions are essential. An army is also essential: indeed, according to the Catechism every person has an obligation to defend his country.

    From neither of these abstract facts does it follow that a particular war or particular union or particular union contracts are inherently good and just, and insulated from criticism. People should not argue as if it did follow.

    An unstated assumption in MM’s post seems to be that it would not be good to kill the UAW off completely. I don’t have a position on whether it would or would not be good to kill off the UAW completely; but it cannot be taken as a simple given that the UAW is a good institution, worthy of support and survival, just because it happens to be a union.

  35. Kurt permalink
    December 19, 2008 2:45 pm

    DC —

    Then for those of you who are both anti-union and culturally conservative, it makes sense to support the political movement that links those two matters. And while I am sure you are disappointed in your recent electoral failures, I think you have proven yourself effective at creating and maintaining the bonds of linkage. Best of luck to you.

  36. December 19, 2008 3:56 pm

    Zippy – exactly!! Unions are important and critical. HOWEVER – they are not infalliable nor perfect organizations. Just because a union is a union doesn’t mean it is worthy of support. Any particular union can become as corrupt and power-hungry as the corporations it originally fought.

    I don’t know how a spacious 300-acre golf-course with regular rates of up to $95 per round for union members and retirees is helping the labor movement and improve the life’s of workers: http://www.michigangolfmagazine.com/reviews/black-lake.html

  37. M.Z. Forrest permalink
    December 19, 2008 4:32 pm

    Zippy,

    Not to rain on your parade of brilliance, but the memo quoted and the portion MM quoted said, “first shot against organized labor.” It would seem the only unstated assumption is that the UAW is a union. The post in question doesn’t argue the particular or address the merits of the UAW. Perhaps you should stick to stated assumptions.

  38. December 20, 2008 11:41 pm

    Irrational hatred for Bush ? Boy, there are so many reasons to despise him, the irrational ones are an afterthought.

  39. December 21, 2008 12:54 pm

    Gerald wrote:

    Irrational hatred for Bush ? Boy, there are so many reasons to despise him, the irrational ones are an afterthought.

    I really do wonder if you have a distinction between the two (rational vs. irrational clearly in mind.

    Could you give three clear reasons, perhaps, and we could start from there?

  40. Nick permalink
    December 25, 2008 10:09 pm

    Unfortunately, many labor unions have staked their future with the Democratic party and union leaders spend union dues money on political candidates of their choosing. This has created an out of balance situation where certain people vote against what they think is right because of this inequity. I doubt that Republicans are clearly anti-union, and many lower income people supprt Republicans just like many rich people support Democrats. Also, many successful auto plants in the south don’t want the government supporting the competition. This is a very complex issue, and broad generalities won’t work.

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