Requiem for the American Worker

steelworkers

Bill Londrigan: We can look back and see the carnage that the corporate war on workers and their unions has wrought: a decline in wages, benefits, unions and jobs–while corporations and the wealthiest one-percent have amassed the largest concentrations of wealth in history.

Author Spotlight: Berry Craig

berry craig

As that rare bird—a union-card-carrying, left-leaning NASCAR fan—Berry Craig brings four strong threads to his writing for the LA Progressive: Years working as a daily newspaper reporter and opinion columnist, a full career as a college history professor, strong attachment to his Kentucky roots, and deep involvement in union organizing.

What’s at Stake in Tax-Cut Deal

tax cuts for rich

Norman Solomon: More than two weeks after President Barack Obama announced his decision to make a tax-cut deal with Republican leaders, the shock waves continue to buffet many Democrats and others who are stunned by the grim implications.

Right To Work Laws Bad For Everybody, Including the Boss

Berry Craig: A big reason the South’s white political and business elite hated and feared unions was that in a union everybody is equal. Thus, they played the race card to divide white and African American workers and keep unions at bay.

The Winter of Labor’s Discontent

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Berry Craig: But it’s getting harder for me to defend Obama when my union brothers and sisters — who also voted and worked for him — say he’s all but surrendered to the GOP. I’m disappointed in the president. They’re downright mad.

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.

Billionaires Unite! (Against Public Education and Teachers)

teacher and student

Shamus Cooke: If the teachers’ unions combined with other public sector unions, parent associations, and the community at large to demand fully funded public education by taxing the rich, the billionaires would find themselves without allies. Their money might then be put towards something useful.

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.”

Lessons of the UNITE HERE-SEIU Deal

Wikileaks

Randy Shaw: The SEIU-UNITE HERE conflict also shows the peril of veteran labor leaders quietly deferring to destructive decisions by top union officials, a lesson that was supposed to have been learned from activists’ experience with Cesar Chavez and the UFW in the 1970’s.

Are Teachers and Democrats Headed for Divorce?

Randi Weingarten

Shamus Cooke: The Democrats continue on the road to corporate-inspired charter schools, using the tried and true method of “stronger teacher evaluations” to undermine “underperforming” schools and teachers — thus opening the door wide to private charter schools with their non-union workforce.

“Why Is the Media So Anti-Union?”

ill Londrigan, president of the Kentucky State AFL-CIO, leafletting Louisville packing plant. (Photo: Mandy Dixon)

Berry Craig: Generally, the smaller a paper or TV or radio station is, the greater its bias against unions. Their anti-unionism is sometimes as plain as their front doors, which are often plastered with decals or stickers proudly proclaiming chamber membership. The fact that the chamber is openly pro-business and anti-union apparently doesn’t trouble local media owners about conflicts of interest.

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

obama afl-cio

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.

Hammering Out Future Immigration Flows: Immigration Commissions in Context

immigration reform

Michele Waslin: While some disagree as to how future immigration flows should be regulated, immigration advocates agree that planning for future flows of legal immigration is among the most critical elements that comprehensive immigration reform must include.

The Innovation of Pilot Schools

lausd students

Maria Elena Durazo and Maria Brenes: Sadly, the promise of economic and social mobility via our public educational system is going unfulfilled for the children of poor and working class parents in the City of Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Unified District (LAUSD) whose student body is over 70% Latino and 11% African American must focus on stopping the drop-out crisis and addressing the lack of student preparation for college and the 21st century workforce.

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.

Medicare-for-All: The Answer to a President’s Call and a Nation’s Woes

Obama-sotu

Dr. Margaret Flowers: I was overjoyed to hear you say in your State of the Union address on Wednesday night: “But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know.” My colleagues, fellow health advocates and I have been trying to meet with you for over a year now because we have an approach which will meet all of your goals and more.

Why I’m Skipping Obama’s State of the Union

Obama One Year Later

Randy Shaw: Speechmaker Obama’s efforts to sell that economic plan to a Democratic base reeling from rising unemployment and stretched pocketbooks may even exceed his mighty oratory skills, and could leave President Obama’s base wondering what happened to the candidate they elected.

Despite Obama, “Yes We Can” Spirit Survives

meridien rally

Randy Shaw: In the Beltway, the Obama Administration frustrated key constituency groups and organizations by failing to push for transformative change. In the world where most people live and work, activists were not deterred by Obama’s inaction and instead seized upon the “Si Se Puede” spirit to build successful campaigns for justice.

Tea Baggers and “Populist Anger”

Berry Craig

Berry Craig: The Tea Baggers have bought into Social Darwinism, the 19th century gospel of the rich and powerful that extolled the “free market” as almost divinely inspired. “God gave me my money,” Rockefeller said. Social Darwinists said if you’re poor and powerless, it’s your own fault. Some Tea Baggers feel that way about health care. “YOUR HEALTH YOUR PROBLEM,” said another sign at a Tea Bagger rally.

Defining Progressive Victories in 2010

Climate Candle

To help avoid the “defining downward” of progressive goals on the key issues of 2010, I thought it would be helpful to assess what would constitute activist victories and whether progressives should cheer measures short of what they are now backing.

2009: Labor’s Missed Opportunity

sjhsrally

With the Democratic Party needing union money and volunteers for the November 2010 elections, it will have to start delivering for labor soon. This means that Congress will enact some changes in union election rules, though expedited elections rather than card check appears to be where the debate is headed.

New York Times: “American Workers Are Overpaid”

Maze

If recent resistance by IBEW and UNITE HERE members are any indication, the Times’ BreakingNews folks and corporate America have a long way to go before convincing workers that it is they, rather than their high-paid, amply-bonused bosses, whose compensation should be downsized.

New Report Details the Chilling Effects of Immigration Enforcement on Workers’ Rights

Dishwasher

Our broken immigration system gives unscrupulous employers an incentive to hire unauthorized workers and exploit them—often resulting in depressed wages and working conditions for all workers in that workplace.

Friday Feedback: Divestment Is the Answer

Single Payer is by far the best path, actually the only path. The pitch and claim for the Public Option is “Keeping the insurance companies honest.” Really? If I break the law I get prosecuted, fined, and jailed, that simple – do the crime – pay the time or the fine. That should keep them honest. Congress passes laws, and if they violate those or cheat they are out of the game.

Report Says Immigration Enforcement Creates ‘Perverse Economic Incentive’ To Hire Undocumented Immigrants

raids

Ten years later, ICE’s preoccupation with immigration enforcement was blatantly undermining the work of those trying to enforce labor laws.

LA Progressive: September 13 to 19, 2009

Woman, Man, Neither? The Predicament of a World-Class Runner. In August, Caster Semenya of South Africa became a world champion, posting the year’s fastest time in a women’s 800-meter race. Critics and rivals said that she could not be a woman. Elizabeth Reis, a historian of intersexuality, explains what’s involved in this issue. -Elizabeth Reis [...]

Obama: Labor’s Agenda Is My Agenda

barack

Organized labor has historically been the core of Barack Obama’s political base, and now that the President finds himself in a tough fight with corporate America, he is increasingly aligning himself with the labor movement

Michael Moore’s New Film Galvanizes AFL-CIO

michael-moore

I don’t need a phone survey or Internet poll to know that the audience was wild about Moore’s film: the audience was often so overcome with laughter, applause and sheer excitement that it often broke into massive applause, with nobody complaining about the drowning out of dialogue due to the clapping.

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