University Governance Doesn’t Represent the People

penn state

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.

AFL-CIO Declares Victory in Wisconsin in the Face of Defeat

richard trumka

Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer: Rather than mobilizing members to defend their standard of living by putting up a fight, organized labor has relied exclusively on electing Democrats to office.

Chris and David: Do Your Homework

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Berry Craig: I’m not against Romney just because he was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple. Likewise, it makes no sense for any union member to vote for Santorum just because his grandfather was a coal miner.

Labor Needs a New Generation of Leadership

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.

Republicans Keep Flunking on Union Issues, but Trumka Puts Democrats on Notice, Too

richard trumka

Berry Craig: Many union members were deeply disappointed when Congress failed to do more to stimulate the economy and create jobs. Unions wanted more health care reform than Congress delivered, too.

Kathy Nickolaus: Dairy State ‘Organizer of the Year?’

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.

The New Reality for U.S. Labor Unions

richard trumka

Shamus Cooke: The fundamental difference between the powerful unions of yesterday and the passive unions of today is the unwillingness of today’s unions to wage a real fight in the streets and workplaces.

Turning Moments into Movements

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Berry Craig: As progressives it’s our job – each and every one of us, our job — to transform the outrage and to make this moment a movement.

President Obama: MIA

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Walter Brasch: Good presidents do what is best for the country. Great presidents, however, do not only what is best for the people, but are also willing to speak to the courage of their beliefs, of their principles, even if it may be unpopular among many of their constituencies.

“The Fight Is Not Over”

scott walker

“We recognize that this is just one piece of a broader political fight vs. Scott Walker and his extreme agenda — a fight that we are winning.”

A Tsunami of Money

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.

Yeah, It’s the Economy, Sherlock

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.

“Run, Rand, Run!”

Jack Conway

Berry Craig: Kentucky’s Tea Party-tilting Republican U.S. Senate candidate recently stopped in Louisville and Pineville for “meet and greet” sessions with voters. In Louisville, he pulled a speak and scram. In Pineville, Paul just skedaddled.

Rand Paul Heads for the Hills

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.

GOP Hopes for a Heap of Stay-at-Home Union Folks

“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.”

Obama’s Unkept Promises to Labor New Outrage Exposes Obama’s Failure To Help Unions

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Randy Shaw: Candidate Barack Obama pledged to end undemocratic union elections, and recommitted to this reform when he spoke at the AFL-CIO Convention in September 2009. But Obama has not even acted to get legislation addressing the loophole introduced.

Economy Recovery Depends Upon Your Vantage Point

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.

Health Care Battle Ends; War on Social Security Begins

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.”

Why Would Union Members Vote Republican?

richard trumka

Berry Craig: The union-haters must still be in hog heaven over an AFL-CIO-sponsored poll that showed most Massachusetts union households supported Republican Scott Brown over union-endorsed Democrat Martha Coakley in the special election to succeed the late Sen. Ted Kennedy.

SEIU Wages War on Progressives

Former SEIU President Andy Stern

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.

UNITE HERE Rejoins AFL-CIO

UNITE HERE President John Wilhelm

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.