Walter Brasch: About 800,000 Pennsylvanians are members of labor unions, and the state has a long history of union rights and activism, but neither of the two largest university systems has a labor representative on its governing board.
Randy Shaw: Labor rewards those who wait. But those whose advancement depends on their willingness to wait may not be the most visionary or talented.
Berry Craig: Unwittingly, of course, Walker lit a bonfire under labor. Unintentionally, Nickolaus has stoked the flames even hotter and probably made them even more likely to singe several of Walker’s willing helpers in the state senate.
Berry Craig: It was a tsunami of money triggered by the Supreme Court ruling that corporations could spend unlimited sums to elect or oppose candidates for public office.
Carl Bloice: Any member of Congress who thinks obstructionism is the way to win elections should know that in two years we will be sure that voters will know who stood in the way of jobs. We have an energized membership that’s ready to fight, and we’re going to give it everything we have.
Berry Craig: Of course, not all Republicans are bigots. But Paul and his pals are more proof — as if proof were needed — that the GOP is mainly what the Southern Democrats were in slavery and Jim Crow days: the white folks’ party.
“The Party of No doesn’t want the union vote, the working family vote,” AFL-CIO President Rich Trumka said at the AFL-CIO-sponsored Battleground States Conference. “They want us all to stay at home out of frustration.”
Carl Bloice: Like the knee bone and the thigh bone, the foreclosure crisis is closely related to the jobs crisis. Last week the Obama administration cautioned the public not to expect any dramatic improvement in the jobless rate, largely because thousands of formerly “discouraged” jobless workers sense the situation is improving and have started back looking for work. As a result, some economists have suggested, the jobless rate may well go beyond the 9.7 percent where it stands now.
Shamus Cooke: FL-CIO President Richard Trumka offers a splendid vision: “The best way to fix the deficit is to create 10 million jobs now — the number of jobs needed to close our jobs deficit. This will require large amounts of public investment in the short term, which should be paid for in future years by taxing Wall Street. In addition to creating jobs for Main Street this tax will also curb short-term speculation and other Wall Street abuses that caused this recession.”
The increasing willingness of other unions to openly back NUHW is most ominous for SEIU. It means that SEIU’s efforts to frame NUHW as a “rogue” labor organization guilty of “raiding” other unions has failed, and that the labor movement now sees NUHW as health care workers’ leading voice for democracy.
On the last day of the AFL-CIO convention, UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm announced that his union is leaving Change to Win and rejoining the AFL-CIO. The announcement, while not unexpected, will soon to followed by a similar decision by the Laborers Union, and represents a likely fatal blow to SEIU’s efforts to create a competing labor Federation.