On Friday I had the opportunity to interview the determinedly proactive labor leader Eliseo Medina. Medina serves as International Secretary Treasurer of the SEIU and has been called one of the most successful labor organizers in the country. In the wide ranging interview Medina offered a current analysis of the labor movement at one of its most critical hours.
Medina, leader of one of the nation’s most active unions, used his trademark calm style to deliver a scathing breakdown of the full scale assault on workers’ rights that has sparked a new day for organized labor. In the interview Medina called Gov. Walker’s political tactics a “perversion of our political system.” Medina also addressed the disclosure that a US Chamber of Commerce-linked company was conducting research into the possibility of undermining unions with a spy-style disinformation campaign as “un-American.”
The interview offers a current overview of what is becoming a titanic battle between modern day robber barons and the nation’s labor movement. Labor, which has been under steady attack from the right for decades, is now facing overtly aggressive attacks from Republicans in state executive offices and legislatures. The battle will escalate in the coming week as workers in states around the country hit the streets in planned demonstrations.
Organized labor has never found itself as united as it is at this moment in our country’s history. However the right has never found itself with so much access to funding dedicated to breaking unions. The next 19 months will determine the future of America’s internationally renowned middle class and the prospects of the next generation of workers.