Unions Have Long Memories

I just heard a conservative on Fox say that Scott Walker’s comparison of union members to ISIS beheaders was a “fake gaffe.” He said that this will be “forgotten next week.”

Oh, yeah? Betcha.

Walker responded to a question during his appearance on Thursday at this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference—an event that demonstrates the surprising truth that turds can talk—about how he would handle ISIS:

I want a commander-in-chief who will do everything in their [sic] power to ensure that the threat from radical Islamic terrorists do not wash up on American soil. We will have someone who leads and ultimately will send a message, not only that we will protect American soil, but do not take this upon freedom-loving people anywhere else in the world. We need a leader with that kind of confidence. If I can take on a hundred thousand protesters, I can do the same across the world.

Overhead view of hundreds of people wearing red for the teachers' unions, protesting against Walker's bill.If you can restrain yourself from puking up your lunch, you may recall that Walker’s efforts in Wisconsin to destroy public employee unions wasn’t exactly popular with working people, and thousands came out to protest and show their disapproval. It is those protesters—working men and women—whom he compares to Islamist zealots and psychopaths who have committed unspeakable crimes against humanity.

And if anyone thinks that working people and the unions who represent them will forget Walker’s remarks, look out. Even without that stupid and offensive comparison to fanatical killers, union folks will be stirred up in 2016 against what has become an obvious Republican hatred of collective bargaining rights for workers. But throw Walker into a general election, with his claim that “taking on” protesting working people qualifies him to fight ISIS freaks in Iraq and Syria, and you will see an effort to defeat Walker like you have never seen.

It has become quite clear that Walker is the favorite among the worst of the worst on the far right. One of the reasons he is their favorite is his aggressive anti-union stance, something he highlighted in his well-received CPAC speech on Thursday. Comparing union protesters to Islamist killers will only endear Walker to the legions of union-hating freaks on the right, and should Walker wrestle the Republican nomination from the well-funded third leg of the Bush triumvirate, Walker can absolutely count on one thing: union people won’t forget what he has said and, more important, what he has done.

13 Comments

  1. Bbob

     /  February 27, 2015

    “Solidarity Forever” isn’t just a union phrase that is tossed off casually. It is real.

    Like

    • Amen. I love this stanza:

      They have taken untold millions that they never toiled to earn,
      But without our brain and muscle not a single wheel can turn.
      We can break their haughty power, gain our freedom when we learn
      That the union makes us strong.

      If only more American workers, who are really victims of a long-term, vicious anti-union campaign, could learn that real freedom begins by having power in the workplace.

      Like

      • Kevin Beck

         /  February 28, 2015

        Your last paragraph has me thinking about the current audits, harassment claims, and law suits against the city and the r-8. Most people in this area equate unions with thuggery, money, and dues collecting as its only purpose. There is a reason that some people around the country are spending Billions of dollars to squash the voice of only 10% of the work force. Unions have access to information that organizations do not want you to see. They are like an insurance program to legal representation in my mind, without the retainer fees. With a small monthly payment plan (dues), working people can have a voice in the work place. Why SW Mo rejects this is beyond me, but judging by recent comments about the r-8, Jordan Aulbey (local reporter), and the city audit, perhaps it is time they learn what modern unions are all about.

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  2. Back in 1948, the “Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” authored mainly be Eleanor Roosevelt, was published as an addendum to the United Nations Charter. Although it was not binding on the signatories, of which the U.S. was one, it nonetheless set out a sort of moral philosophy that all civilized nations would do well to adopt.

    Article 23, in the original UDHR, reads:

    (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favorable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.

    (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.

    (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favorable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.

    (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

    Too bad the Americanized system of capitalism has abrogated its moral obligation for human rights in favor of its single-minded endeavor to achieve profits at all costs.

    Herb

    Like

  3. genegarman

     /  February 28, 2015

    Thanks to my dad, a union pipefitter welder, I joined the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters promptly after graduating from Baylor University, which I attended on the G.I. Bill, and went to work on my first job as a union pipefitter at Skelly Refinery in Augusta, Kansas, which was the best financial move of my life, until I took a postal exam and was hired by the postmaster at the Pittsburg, KS, post office, where I became a union letter carrier, National Association of Letter Carriers. I am now retired from both unions, which also provide pensions and benefits. Without unions? That’s my story, and I am sticking to it.

    Like

  4. Ben Field

     /  February 28, 2015

    Walker claims Reagan’s union busting of the air traffic controllers back in 1981 was the most significant foreign policy decision he ever witnessed. He said it showed Russia and others that “we weren’t to be messed with” and sent a message of toughness to Democrats and unions here. Do you think he really believes this is foreign policy or toughness? As he compares my brothers to terrorist, I compare him and his ilk as cheap prostitutes to big business interests. Koch brothers and big business put vile things in the mouth of these whores which is then spat back out to the public. It is a proven fact that “right to work laws” decreases the wages of ALL workers in states where it has passed.

    Like

    • Kevin Beck

       /  February 28, 2015

      Ben, the entire Reagan vs the ATCs story has been rewritten by the current Tea Partiers into simply a message that Reagan killed a union, which for some strange reason many working people in SW MO worship. Most do not even know that Reagan himself was a union president that lead a strike at one time. While Reagan did not like Federal Employee unions, he did want them to settle this issue through the bargaining process. The unique nature of the ATCs job played a roll as well as there was a genuine concern for the public safety that the strike would create as I recall. I believe the most damaging aspect of the ATCs incident was how it empowered private industry to begin firing striking workers instead of negotiating with them. Add to that the cheap overseas labor over the years and we now stand in an economy with a much smaller middle class. Hopefully we have bottomed out and recent events this past week tell me that even corporations such as Walmart, Marshalls, and TJ Max see a need to pay workers more in order to get the economy rolling again. All three recently have raised the pay of its employees.

      Kevin Beck

      Like

      • Ben Field

         /  February 28, 2015

        Kevin,

        I was in the union in 1981 and saw exactly the impact of Reagan’s decision to fire 11,000 controllers after promising their leader that he would work with them, and the effect that had on all unions.
        You say this was a matter of safety? How exactly replacing all the members with untrained scabs overseeing flight traffic is hardly being safety conscious. Of the 11,350 fired, he replaced 370 with military ATC’s and the rest were untrained. Are you aware Reagan reduced union walkouts to 2% of what they were in his 1952 strike? He effectively answered the quest for the Holy Grail that Republicans sought for labor representation in weakened or destroyed unions. Many unions failed so forgive me for not worshipping that sainted Repugnican. You may believe WalMart and big business now more sympathetic to workers, but I certainly do not.

        Like

        • Kevin Beck

           /  February 28, 2015

          I am not defending Reagan, nor am I a fan of his. I just think most people who praise him do not even realize he was a union president himself. I see your point about safety, but many that replaced the strikers were management personal. I do wonder if Reagan believed that the ATCs would actually continue with the strike? As far as Reagan’s effect on the future of unions, I believe we agree on that. As I said, he certainly empowered business after the ATC strike. Finally, I am a union member also. I see the recent pay hikes as a positive sign for labor, not an endorsement of the corporations mentioned. Labor has put the pressure on Walmart and others. I am suggesting only that maybe the pendulum has finally begun to swing the other way. When our economy finally hits full speed, labor will once again hold some clout over its employers. It may only be a small step to you, but it is a step in the right direction.

          Kevin Beck

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          • Ben Field

             /  March 1, 2015

            Kevin,

            I think you are giving unions too much credit for the increase in wages you cite. WalMart, and others continue with 30 hour work weeks to avoid ACA and are only raising wages to $9 per hour or $270 per week for these employees. I think maybe the public relations of a sense of decency in providing employees with enough to at least pay for food and rent motivates these organizations than fear of labor unions. WalMart reports $16 billion in profits, it had better be proactive as it’s customers are the very people it is screwing. Reagan may have been a union member, but the only kind words I can find for him is in his sympathy for illegal aliens. This latter generation of Republicans has none for illegals or unions. Reagan’s actions did cause the closing of unions in southern states and I can give examples. BTW, the firing of ATCs by Reagan cost our country far more than meeting the demands would have, and yet this is conservative? Duane is right about our memories of these actions and words, I will not forget.

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            • Kevin Beck

               /  March 1, 2015

              No doubt that Reagan’s actions caused havoc for unions, but do you think it was dumb luck or a calculated move? I wonder if he really thought that the ATCs would come back to work when he ordered them back.

              Kevin Beck

              Like

  5. Interesting discussion, as I am on the outside, looking on this one. I was never in a union but on looking back I fervently wish there had been one my blue-collar dad could have joined. He was a cable-tool oilfield driller for most of his life and BigOil’s business model was one that maximized profits at the expense of labor. They offered above average hourly pay and plenty of overtime, but it was for dirty, dangerous, tedious work and they structured it so that no job, i.e., any particular oil well, was continuous, hence, no health insurance, no retirement, no nothing.

    It is, of course, naive to think that any large corporation would do anything for its work force out of mere moralit. Despite the SCOTUS 2011 Citizens United decision that corporations have the rights of people, they have no soul, nor a human heart. The only reason Walmart and others are raising wages at the bottom end of the food chain is some scarcity of labor (at long last!) and possibly to take a lesson from the likes of CostCo’s experiment showing that low turnover and employee loyalty actually can boost the bottom line.

    Like

    • Ben Field

       /  March 7, 2015

      Jim,

      I am not naive enough to believe the corporations have a soul or a sense of morality. I think the public perception of their actions drive the move, if a $9 per hour employee at WalMart doesn’t have enough disposable income to shop there, the public understands. The public may perceive $20 per hour Costco employees can shop there as there is more income. I can sympathize with what you mentioned about your father. My brother, also a carpenter, toiled in Texas for a rat contractor that paid him $20 per hour at his last pay in 2012. He has no pension, no insurance, and his 401k was lost due to his company filing bankruptcy and re-opening under a different name. I tried to get him to move from the “right to work” state of Texas, but he wouldn’t. He doesn’t enjoy any of the benefits I recieved at age 55, and he is two years older and still working at age 60. I think you would be very surprised at how labor is not as scarce as you might believe. Unless forced by necessity, there are many that have exhausted benefits and are no longer tracked, that would return to the labor force, but not for $9 per hour for 30 hours per week or less. I applaud Costco, but it is certainly an anomaly.

      Like

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