Sunday, 2/27/11, Public Square


Filed under The Public Square

72 responses to “Sunday, 2/27/11, Public Square

  1. John Lennon – Power To The People

  2. Here’s a thought: maybe Madison, Wis., isn’t Cairo after all. Maybe it’s Baghdad — specifically, Baghdad in 2003, when the Bush administration put Iraq under the rule of officials chosen for loyalty and political reliability rather than experience and competence.

    As many readers may recall, the results were spectacular — in a bad way. Instead of focusing on the urgent problems of a shattered economy and society, which would soon descend into a murderous civil war, those Bush appointees were obsessed with imposing a conservative ideological vision.

  3. World’s best union song….

    • Merle Haggard – Working Man Blues might give this one a good run for their money, but I hadn’t heard it before and I agree with the premise.

  4. Solidarity Forever (Pete Seeger)

  5. Who Owns America’s Wealth?

  6. Freebird1971

    I am not now or have never been a member of a union.I do not feel the need to have someone negotiate my wages and benefits for me,IMO if you need or want to have someone else to negotiate your wages and benefits you are abdicating your personal responsibility to do it your self

    • Me too — I am not now or have never been a member of a union. I stand with the human race in an important fight against the wealthy and the people who are their tools in aiding them in their goal of wiping out our middle class.


      “The generic concept of “The Union” might be big and on the big scale it might over-reach and when you look at it only in the largest context it might sometimes be as irresponsible as some of the smaller of the big corporations, when you look at what it really is – the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the individually powerless $18,568 teacher’s aide in Fond du Lac or the $23,559 traffic warden in Milwaukee or the $48,152 cop in Appleton, or the $22,233 radio sportscaster in New York in 1980 – “The Union” is the only protection you have when the drunken boss comes in to fire you because he doesn’t like you, or because he got elected on a promise to his puppet-masters that he’d fire you and everybody else like you so as to soften this country up to pit the urban middle class against the rural middle class so nobody’s paying attention as the corporations reduce everybody they can to subsistence levels while they take the collected drops-in-the-bucket of the mere thousands of bucks stolen from the fired or the de-unionized or the retirement-delayed, and turn them into more millions to stuff into their own pockets.

      More important perhaps, “The Union” represents the good faith of the nation. The deals Scott Walker is trying to renege on are not some vague promises made in fatter times. They are contracts, and you won’t spend more than five minutes with a Corporatist before he starts talking to you about The Sanctity Of The Contract. He may even mention Ronald Reagan as he does so, and then start crying, and then use that phenomenal ability to select only the facts he likes and present Reagan and his ilk as defenders of The Sanctity Of The Contract even though Reagan fired all the Air Traffic Controllers rather than fulfill a contract made by the government he supposedly led.”

      • Freebird1971

        I guess this is where we disagree. I was raised believing the best thing you can do in life is to take care of you and your family,close or extended, I’m soon to be 58 yrs old and that lesson has never failed me.

      • My lesson was to be part of the human race and help wherever I had the ability. Equality of humans is very important to me, and the “least of these” has true meaning to me — and I include those who are outside the womb. I see that wealth is able to buy power and that power is being used to give some extra privileges. I’m certainly not talking about expensive homes and cars or all that other ‘stuff’ that is fairly meaningless to me. I’m talking about buying political power and making the system work to increase their wealth and power over other humans who they think aren’t and shouldn’t be equal. That system can only be changed if all the people overcome it. Let the wealthy make their money, spend their money, do whatever with their money — as long as it isn’t on the backs of other people, as long as it isn’t used to keep others down.

    • The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street

      The power has gone out in a typical American town. Wait — it’s not just the electricity. The phones don’t work, either. Portable radios are dead. Cars won’t start.

      But then lawn mowers and cars and lights inexplicably start and stop on their own. What’s going on? A meteor? Sunspots? Or are there, as Tommy’s comic book suggests, aliens among us, preparing for a takeover? Suspicion poisons the air. Neighbor turns on neighbor. A scapegoat is blamed. A shot is fired. Panic, madness, riot.

      And while the humans behave monstrously, the real monsters watch from a nearby hilltop, working a little gizmo that messes with the power on Maple Street, and marveling how easy it is to manipulate these earthlings into destroying themselves.

      In what is arguably the best Twilight Zone episode ever, “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street,” Rod Serling wrote a suburban Lord of the Flies, a parable about the fragility of civilization, paranoia and the susceptibility of nice folks to manipulation.

      Watching it when it first aired, in the depths of the nuclear arms race, people thought it was meant to ward off a witch-hunt for Reds under the bed. Today, watching what’s been going on in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as in Washington, D.C., I can’t help thinking that the real monsters are chortling at their success in pitting neighbor against neighbor, and I can’t help marveling at their genius for distraction and unaccountability.

      The monsters aren’t Wisconsin’s public employees whose right to collective bargaining has helped their families lead middle-class lives, and who have repeatedly declared their willingness to return to the table and negotiate a shared sacrifice. The monsters are on Wall Street, where state pension funds were sunk into toxic sub-prime mortgage-backed securities. The monsters are on K Street, where lobbyists are fighting financial industry oversight. The monsters are the politicians who are using Wisconsin’s deficit as a pretext to demonize public employees and bust their unions.

      Continue reading —

    • CapnAmerica

      Hmmm . . . let’s think about that in some other contexts:

      I am not now nor have I ever been a member of

      * an insurance protected group. If you can’t pay your own house fire or car wreck costs, you shouldn’t own one.

      * a government. I make my own laws and abide by them. It’s called personal responsibility.

      * an educational institution. If Plato could educate himself by writing with a stick in the sand, so can I.

      * a church. That’s what Jesus said, “whenever two or more of you gather in my name, there is where personal responsibility is not.”

      Also, FreeB, no one makes you join a union (not in Kansas at least). But you seem to be in favor of making it impossible for people to join unions.

      • Freebird1971

        Please show me where I stated that. I gave an opinion based on what I believe and if it doesn’t agree with you then it is on you not me

      • When I read your words posted above: “IMO if you need or want to have someone else to negotiate your wages and benefits you are abdicating your personal responsibility to do it your self” I think you either find yourself superior to someone who is part of a bargaining unit or you think they’re unnecessary.

        But I could have read a meaning you didn’t intend.

  7. Freedomwriter

    Unions originated when company leaders exercised undue power and control over workers rights. When an individual has the power and ability to negotiate on their own behalf, then unions aren’t needed. However, when the employer becomes a faceless conglomerate that no longer looks at workers as individuals, then unions are a useful entity for protecting workers rights and interests.

    My niece is in Madison, WI and is attending those rallies because, in this case, the governor is abusing his power. The unions had already agreed to pay and benefit cuts, he is going a step too far in his vendetta to also take away their right to stand up for their future needs. The unions were reasonable in accepting the cuts, the governor is not being reasonable in his attempt to limit their rights.

  8. Freebird1971

    Why is being wealthy equated with evil? Painting with a broad brush is not a prudent thing to do.

    • I certainly have never equated wealth with evil. But I sure see a bunch of wealth being used in evil ways.

      • Freebird1971

        I was not talking about you personally if you took that way I apologize.

      • I didn’t! You’re a friend and that’s something very important too. I know you’re hard working, kind, have your own battles to fight like all of us do. I also know we’re closer in this battle for our country than our words indicate. I see danger in places you don’t. We think differently — thank goodness! I don’t think you want humans harmed, and I know you don’t think that about me either. This shouldn’t be a ‘party’ deal because I don’t think equality is a partisan issue.

    • CapnAmerica

      Why are unions being equated with not exercising personal responsibility?

      One is being more than personally responsible, they see that are part of an interdependent group and work together to achieve their goals.

      If our brain cells didn’t work together and they all showed “personal responsibility,” we would be no smarter than an individual cell.

      Hey . . . that explains Shocker!

  9. Freebird1971

    Exactly Fnord! We both,and for that matter most of the rest of us,want to see this country become what it used to be,we just have different ideas on how it should be accomplished. I,too,consider you a friend.

  10. Freedomwriter

    Being wealthy is not evil, if you got there by providing a fair wage and working conditions for your employees, but it is disturbing if you got there by suppressing the needs and rights of others. There is a big inequity in America today. That’s partly what got us in this recession. Too many took too much off the top, and the underlings are now suffering.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve had a couple of rough years recently. I work more hours and am getting paid less. Look at the Utube graphic Fnord referred to: .

    Doesn’t this concern you? When the supreme court decides that corporations are allowed to influence elections, that’s scarey! I really don’t want the Koch brothers making decisions that affect me. I don’t have diddly to fight with to counteract their financial influence. And now if Unions lose their right to exist, where does my power come from?

    I’ve never been in a union, and probably never will, but it’s a dangerous trend to say that no one needs them.

  11. I also am convinced the corporations who have great financial influence are encouraging us peons to be at one another’s throats. If we aren’t fighting one another we might more clearly see who our shared enemy is.

    • CapnAmerica

      Yup, exactly.

      That’s why they call it “divide and conquer.” First they screwed the private sector employees. And now they tell those folks, “hey, look at the public sector employees who still have a guaranteed pension! They need to be screwed too!”

  12. fragotwofortwo

    I ‘m gonna go out on limb here and speculate this will turn into a political party

  13. CapnAmerica

    Sheesh . . . who ordered the TORRENTIAL RAIN and pea-sized hail and it’s only 50 degrees out there? I don’t think I remember a thunderstorm raining through fog before.

    At least it is over for awhile. KMUW went off the air for a couple minutes–I assume because the rain-hail blocked the signal.

    Weird weather . . .

    • Freebird1971

      Supposed to have freezing drizzle and rain later on tonight

    • So can we have every type weather possible inside one 24-hour period!? Rain, hail, snow, ice, warm, cold…

      I think we should get used to ‘weather’ events as they will be happening more frequently and in wide spread areas as our earth warms.

      • CapnAmerica

        Bingo. I experienced “thunder snow” once in my life. This winter, I heard it three times.

        99.999 percent of all scientists studying anything related to climate change believe that fossil fuel emissions are trapping heat, raising sea-levels, increasing humidity and fueling more massive and frequent severe storms.

        (See for instance Norfolk, VA which now has routine flooding due to higher tides.)

        The climate change “debate” is over, just like cigarette smoking and risk of cancer or the universe isn’t expanding.

        The useful idiots for the Koch Bros. and unrestrained consumption disagree of course, but their opinion is based on wishful thinking.

      • “wishful thinking” and greed, and lack of giving a damn about how badly they rape the earth or her occupants.

      • Freebird1971

        Speaking of weather events

        346 PM CST SUN FEB 27 2011





  14. Freebird1971

    When I read your words posted above: “IMO if you need or want to have someone else to negotiate your wages and benefits you are abdicating your personal responsibility to do it your self” I think you either find yourself superior to someone who is part of a bargaining unit or you think they’re unnecessary.
    Feeling superior is not what was intended. I just have never found it necessary to be part of a bargaining unit,to my way of thinking I would rather speak for myself than have someone else do it for me.

    • Fair enough. Individual choices make sense to me too.

    • Our whole country is based on a ‘representative’ speaking for us.

      Did you read in this morning’s paper that 9% of those registered to vote are expected to vote next Tuesday?

      Makes me really sad. And, I’d be willing to bet more than 9% will complain when they aren’t ‘represented’ in the way they like.

      • Freebird1971

        It is sad when you realize that in other parts of the world people literally risk their lives for the privilege of voting

  15. CapnAmerica


    1. You ignore all the benefits that union negotiations have already earned for you before you were even born–like time and half for over-time or weekends.

    2. You don’t know what you could have gotten had you been unified with the other employees at your company instead of acting only as your own agent. For instance, unions can ask to see the books and see where the money’s going. Did you ever do that? Unions can demand that work stay in-house, in-country like the Hawker-Beechcraft Union did. Can you do that by yourself?

    (Of course, in Hawker-Beechcraft’s case, the company just freaking lied because they’re run by a bunch of liars. But at least the union tried to keep jobs here.)

    • Freebird1971

      Go union if you want,as Bartleby the Scrivner said,”I prefer not to.” It is my life and my choice,so I will agree to disagree with you since it is obvious no minds are going to be changed.

      • Freebird – the whole reason that unions were formed in the first place was because those in charge refused to listen to their workers. There was NO bargaining. You enjoy the freedom to bargain for yourself because those who went before you stood up for right to do that. As a general rule, oppression doesn’t just stop on it’s own because those who oppress suddenly see the light. I’m not telling you that you should join a union, but I don’t feel that you’re giving unions the acknowledgement they deserve. Understand that if the current political power has it’s way in destroying all unions, life is going to get a lot tougher for the little guy.

      • Choices are important, and so is respecting the people who make each choice and appreciating the whys behind the choice they made. Wealth has already accumulated with a very few, if they manage to also get all the power it won’t be America any longer except in name.

  16. CapnAmerica

    It is sad when you realize that in other parts of the world people literally risk their lives for the privilege of voting

    Yeah, don’t you hate those third world countries where good, decent people are kept under the thumb of a corrupt power structure?

    May 7, 1955 · Belzoni, Mississippi
    Rev. George Lee, one of the first black people registered to vote in Humphreys County, used his pulpit and his printing press to urge others to vote. White officials offered Lee protection on the condition he end his voter registration efforts, but Lee refused and was murdered.

    August 13, 1955 · Brookhaven, Mississippi
    Lamar Smith was shot dead on the courthouse lawn by a white man in broad daylight while dozens of people watched. The killer was never indicted because no one would dare to accuse a white man of killing a black there. Smith had organized blacks to vote in a recent election.

    September 25, 1961 · Liberty, Mississippi
    Herbert Lee, who worked with civil rights leader Bob Moses to help register black voters, was killed by a state legislator who claimed self-defense and was never arrested. Louis Allen, a black man who witnessed the murder, was later also killed.

    April 23, 1963 · Attalla, Alabama
    William Lewis Moore, a postman from Baltimore, was shot and killed during a one-man march against segregation. Moore had planned to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi urging an end to intolerance.

    June 12, 1963 · Jackson, Mississippi
    Medgar Evers, who directed NAACP operations in Mississippi, was leading a campaign for integration in Jackson when he was shot and killed by a sniper at his home.

    September 15, 1963 · Birmingham, Alabama
    Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson and Cynthia Wesley were getting ready for church services when a bomb exploded at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, killing all four of the school-age girls. The church had been a center for civil rights meetings and marches.

    January 31, 1964 · Liberty, Mississippi
    Louis Allen, who witnessed the murder of civil rights worker Herbert Lee, endured years of threats, jailings and harassment. He was making final arrangements to move north on the day he was killed.

    June 21, 1964 · Philadelphia, Mississippi
    James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Henry Schwerner, young civil rights workers, were arrested by a deputy sheriff and then released into the hands of Klansmen who had plotted their murders. They were shot, and their bodies were buried in an earthen dam.

    February 26, 1965 · Marion, Alabama
    Jimmie Lee Jackson was beaten and shot by state troopers as he tried to protect his grandfather and mother from a trooper attack on civil rights marchers. His death led to the Selma-Montgomery march and the eventual passage of the Voting Rights Act.

    March 11, 1965 · Selma, Alabama
    Rev. James Reeb, a Unitarian minister from Boston, was among many white clergymen who joined the Selma marchers after the attack by state troopers at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Reeb was beaten to death by white men while he walked down a Selma street.

    March 25, 1965 · Selma Highway, Alabama
    Viola Gregg Liuzzo, a housewife and mother from Detroit, drove alone to Alabama to help with the Selma march after seeing televised reports of the attack at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was driving marchers back to Selma from Montgomery when she was shot and killed by a Klansmen in a passing car.

    June 2, 1965 · Bogalusa, Louisiana
    Oneal Moore was one of two black deputies hired by white officials in an attempt to appease civil rights demands. Moore and his partner, Creed Rogers, were on patrol when they were blasted with gunfire from a passing car. Moore was killed and Rogers was wounded.

    July 18, 1965 · Anniston, Alabama
    Willie Brewster was on his way home from work when he was shot and killed by white men. The men belonged to the National States Rights Party, a violent neo-Nazi group whose members had been involved in church bombings and murders of blacks.

    August 20, 1965 · Hayneville, Alabama
    Jonathan Myrick Daniels, an Episcopal Seminary student in Boston, had come to Alabama to help with black voter registration in Lowndes County. He was arrested at a demonstration, jailed in Hayneville and then suddenly released. Moments after his release, he was shot to death by a deputy sheriff.

    January 10, 1966 · Hattiesburg, Mississippi
    Vernon Ferdinand Dahmer, a wealthy businessman, offered to pay poll taxes for those who couldn’t afford the fee required to vote. The night after a radio station broadcasted Dahmer’s offer, his home was firebombed. Dahmer died later from severe burns.

    June 10, 1966 · Natchez, Mississippi
    Ben Chester White, who had worked most of his life as a caretaker on a plantation, had no involvement in civil rights work. He was murdered by Klansmen who thought they could divert attention from a civil rights march by killing a black person.

    July 30, 1966 · Bogalusa, Louisiana
    Clarence Triggs was a bricklayer who had attended civil rights meetings sponsored by the Congress of Racial Equality. He was found dead on a roadside, shot through the head. (photograph unavailable)

    February 27, 1967 · Natchez, Mississippi
    Wharlest Jackson, the treasurer of his local NAACP chapter, was one of many blacks who received threatening Klan notices at his job. After Jackson was promoted to a position previously reserved for whites, a bomb was planted in his car. It exploded minutes after he left work one day, killing him instantly.

    May 12, 1967 · Jackson, Mississippi
    Benjamin Brown, a former civil rights organizer, was watching a student protest from the sidelines when he was hit by stray gunshots from police who fired into the crowd.

    February 8, 1968 · Orangeburg, South Carolina
    Samuel Ephesians Hammond Jr., Delano Herman Middleton and Henry Ezekial Smith were shot and killed by police who fired on student demonstrators at the South Carolina State College campus.

    April 4, 1968 · Memphis, Tennessee
    Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a Baptist minister, was a major architect of the Civil Rights Movement. He led and inspired major non-violent desegregation campaigns, including those in Montgomery and Birmingham. He won the Nobel peace prize. He was assassinated as he prepared to lead a demonstration in Memphis.

  17. CapnAmerica

    “History is a great teacher. Now everyone knows that the labor movement did not diminish the strength of the nation but enlarged it. By raising the living standards of millions, labor miraculously created a market for industry and lifted the whole nation to undreamed of levels of production. Those who attack labor forget these simple truths, but history remembers them.”
    Martin Luther King Jr.

    “Although it is true that only about 20 percent of American workers are in unions, that 20 percent sets the standards across the board in salaries, benefits and working conditions. If you are making a decent salary in a non-union company, you owe that to the unions. One thing that corporations do not do is give out money out of the goodness of their hearts.” Molly Ivins

    “You can’t do it unless you organize.” Samuel Gompers:

    “Every advance in this half-century: Social Security, civil rights, Medicare, aid to education . . . one after another, came with the support and leadership of American Labor.” Jimmy Carter

    “In our glorious fight for civil rights, we must guard against being fooled by false slogans, as ‘right-to-work.’ It provides no ‘rights’ and no ‘works.’ Its purpose is to destroy labor unions and the freedom of collective bargaining… We demand this fraud be stopped.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    Of course, Kansas is a ‘right to work’ state.

    • Freebird1971

      Pimp for the unions if you must,but I’m not buying it

      • CapnAmerica

        I’m not asking you to buy anything.

        Nor am I pimping anything.

        You can argue with Lincoln, Eisenhower, King, and the Pope if you want to.

      • Freebird1971

        I really don’t understand why my not supporting or belonging to a union has gotten you in a tizzy,I will support your right to belong to any thing you want to but don’t expect me to jump on the band wagon.

        BTW my son belongs to a union and I respect that just as he respects my choice of having nothing to do with them. It is really not a hard concept to grasp,mutual respect.

      • Unions have done much for many — including everyone who isn’t among their membership! We should all feel thankful for unions and protect them from the Walkers (tool of Koch) of the world.

      • prairie pond

        Well, I’m late to the game here, and it’s clear no one will change Freebird’s mind, but I also think no one is “in a tizzy.” Some of us are quite passionate about the benefits of collective bargaining and organizing a workforce. That doesn’t make us “in a tizzy.” That’s a mighty condescending term.

        However, Free, you are repeating con talking points that many of us have had to deal with over the years, so if we sound annoyed, it’s not direct ann0yment at you, but at everyone who has never given serious consideration to the benefits of collective bargaining. When you say stuff like “personal responsibility” you are implying that those who think differently do not adhere to the same level of “personal responsibility” that you do.

        Nothing could be further from the truth. And yes, I know you didn’t say that, but the implication is there, that INDIVIDUAL responsibility is somehow superior to collective responsibility. It is possible, you know, to be passionate about the labor movement, belong to a union, and ALSO take care of yourself and your family. They are not mutually exclusive.

        Perhaps an examination of the history of “work”, if you are open minded about it, would help you understand why some of us have such passion for the labor movement. Now days, we call them “occupational” and “management” but it used to be “labor” and management, implying that managers didn’t work. (Of course, some still believe that!) It used to be “blue collar” and “white collar” and the blue collar folks sweated their asses off and worked with their bodies, while the “white collar” folks sat indoors, stayed clean, and didn’t go home physically tired, just mentally tired. It became a status thing to be white collar, and over time, blue collar came to mean, “not smart enough to work in an office or move up the ladder to the cushy jobs.” And only blue collar folks belonged to unions.

        Of course, that’s absurd, and you didn’t say such a thing, but the implication is there when people say stuff like “I take care of myself.”

        I don’t know that I’ve ever heard what your occupation is, nor am I asking you to reveal it now. However, you should understand that people who “labor” for a living are viewed as easily replaced by large corps. They are only cogs in a gear, and can be replaced just like a gear in a machine. The only way to save their bodies, get a living wage and benefits, was to bargain collectively. One by one, they could be picked off and replaced, but taken as a unit or a whole, management had to treat them humanely and bargain with them in good faith.

        Kinda like the analogy about it being easy to break one individual stick, but tie those sticks in a bundle and the bundle is almost impossible to break. You need a history lesson in working conditions in the days before collective bargaining and the NLRB. And if you think we are so advanced now that those days could never return, think again.

        Of course, if you have been in some white collar for the bulk of your career, you didn’t have to worry about your knees wearing out from repetitive motion, or being in danger from faulty machinery because there are no safety standards in the workplace, or working long hours with no breaks and dehydrating, or any number of things. I’ve always been a “knowledge” worker and haven’t gotten worn out by those things either. But I sure appreciate paid vacations, paid sick leave, a living wage, a safe workplace and the opportunity to air grievances when necessary.

        I thank organized labor for all those “innovations” in the workplace.

        The old bargain was that the union would deliver dependable, skilled labor that gave a full measure of work for a full measure of benefits and pay. In turn, management would treat them with integrity, pay them a living wage, and provide a safe workplace.

        I’d say that bargain has broken down on all sides. Organized labor no longer ALWAYS delivers the most skilled workers who are committed to productivity. And management has certainly become lax about treating their workforce with integrity, paying them a living wage, and providing safe workplaces.

        But in the old days, it was a bargain that worked. In order for America to be come competitive again with the knowledge workers in Asia or Europe or elsewhere, that same bargain will have to be struck and maintained.

        Otherwise? We’re toast and the wealth inequality gap will grow ever wider. And that isnt good economics or good for freedom. I could give you a lecture on that subject too, but I’m tired and I’m sure by now you are bored and outraged at my condescending attitude.

        But really, dude, you need to understand the labor movement before you spout off about “personal responsibility.” I don’t give a rat’s ass if you ever join one, but if you are reaping the benefits of collective bargaining but are just not joining or contributing, that makes you a freeloader, not a freebird.

        just my 2 cents

    • I understand your pride in what unions have done for the working man — and I share that pride! I’ve never been a member but always a supporter. Griffin has never been a union member either but some of the workers at his place of employment are and he and other non-union members benefit from what the unions negotiate.

  18. CapnAmerica

    “All that serves labor serves the nation. All that harms it is treason. If a man tells you he trusts America, yet fears labor, he is a fool. There is no America without labor, and to fleece the one is to rob the other.” Abraham Lincoln

    “The labor movement means just this: It is the last noble protest of the American people against the power of incorporated wealth.” Wendell Phillips

    • Freebird1971

      I am suspicious of any entity that thinks they know what is best for me.

      • CapnAmerica

        Like, uh, your doctor?

      • Freebird1971

        Yep that is why a 2nd opinion is a good idea

      • prairie pond

        You know you are always free to turn down any pay raise, benefit increase, or other perks your union gets for you.

        You sound like somehow organized labor takes something AWAY from your work experience or pay.

        WTF? I’ve never heard of that. I’m sure if you want to work more time with no overtime pay, want to give up your insurance or vacations or educational benefits, and you want to volunteer for unsafe working conditions, no one would stand in your way.

  19. I hear many admit that unions did good things in the past but are no longer needed today. They’ll go on to list laws in place today because of the good works of unions in the past. These are often the same people who distrust government. I’ve never been able to understand how they can reconcile their distrust of government with taking away even a tiny bit of power from the people. And wouldn’t their distrust of government lead them to wonder if current laws will remain what they are? Especially now that lawmakers are bought and paid for.

  20. CapnAmerica

    With all their faults, trade unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for education, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in men, than any other association of men.

    – Clarence Darrow

    The important role of union organizations must be admitted: their object is the representation of the various categories of workers, their lawful collaboration in the economic advance of society, and the development of the sense of their responsibility for the realization of the common good.

    – Pope Paul VI

    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if Labor had not first existed. Labor is superior to capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.

    – Abraham Lincoln

    Only a fool would try to deprive working men and working women of their right to join the union of their choice.

    – Dwight D. Eisenhower

    The essence of trade unionism is social uplift. The labor movement has been the haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden, the poor.

    – A. Phillip Randolph

    It is one of the characteristics of a free and democratic nation that is have free and independent labor unions.

    – Franklin D. Roosevelt

    If capitalism is fair then unionism must be. If men have a right to capitalize their ideas and the resources of their country, then that implies the right of men to capitalize their labor.

    – Frank Lloyd Wright

    My friends, it is solidarity of labor we want. We do not want to find fault with each other, but to solidify our forces and say to each other: “We must be together; our masters are joined together and we must do the same thing.”

    – Mother Jones

  21. Freedomwriter

    It was 1975, in a little town called Magee, MS. I worked for a state school for children with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. I was fired for dating someone outside my racial/ethnic group. I met with the ACLU, my only hope of a “bargaining unit”, but I was too scared to proceed in fighting for my rights. My co-workers were scared of reprisals, so even though they were my friends, they were fearful of losing their jobs, so they were unwilling to testify. I still regret giving in to my fears, but I knew standing up would negatively impact people I cared about. If I had been a union member, I would not have hesitated to stand up and fight for my rights, there would have been safety in numbers.

  22. wicked

    Just saw this on the FB of a mutual friend of some of us here. I haven’t finished reading the entire article. I was laughing too hard at a small handful of “ks” morons.

    Westboro Church website hacked by Anonymous during live interview

    Read more:

  23. wicked

    Okay, back to the union discussion. My dad worked at Boeing for nearly 25 years. Mandatory retirement at age 65 kept him from completing that 25th year. he worked in one of the offices, not on the line, and he wasn’t union. Memory tells me he supported them. He explained strikes and “scabs” and many other things when I was barely old enough to understand.

    My mother was a letter carrier for many years before her retirement. She was a member of the NALC (National Association of Letter Carriers) and was a delegate several times at the national convention. I continued to learn about unions through her involvement. The union came to her aid in the aftermath of broken shoulder sustained in a fall while delivering mail in 1969. If you’ve ever been injured on the job, you’re probably very aware of how management will fight any claim, especially one that involves a disability and retirement. Try fighting management alone and see just how far it gets you.

  24. indypendent

    I am coming late to this discussion about unions – and have read everything posted.

    But I keep coming back to one thought – for all those Republicans demonizing unions – how do they propose that working people have enough political muscle to flex without a group of like-minded folks?

    Especially since the SCOTUS gave us that wonderful news about corporations being able to enjoy personhood now.

    Just how does the average American worker even begin to counteract all the money and political influence that Koch Brothers and other corporations have?

    But you know what – alot of professionals have their unions – but they call them associations or maybe guilds. I remember a certain Republican president who is worshipped daily that not only belonged to his union (Screen Actors Guild). Reagan even negotiated to get better pay and benefits for his union members.

    Why is it okay for Ronald Reagan but not for us?

    Now if Wisconsin does not want to continue to take out the union dues for thei public employees from their paychecks, then fine. I’m sure the union could find another way to collect those dues.

    But the way Wisconsin Walker went about this entire fight is what has pissed off the average working person.

    If you thought the Tea Party folks was a force to reckon with – Republicans have picked on the wrong issue this time.

    And I suspect the entire GOP is going down for this one. Especially if they brag about shutting down the federal govenment in a few days.

  25. prairie pond

    “how do they propose that working people have enough political muscle to flex without a group of like-minded folks?”

    They dont! They want slave labor and workers who do not stand up for themselves, so they can reap robber baron profits at the expense of their workers. And that’s the truth.

    I belonged to a union 20 years ago, and most of us made more than $60,000 grand back then. More than fifty percent of our membership had masters or PhD level education. Hardly the view most people hold of unions.

    And STILL we needed collective bargaining to keep from being force to work 80 hrs and week, facing arbitrary firing, and cronyism.

    Perhaps that’s why Free is so adamant about his “personal responsibilities.” Maybe he’s someone who’s benefited from cronyism, not merit or longevity.

    I knew a lot of farmers in the 1970’s who blamed unions for the high cost of equipment. A hell of a lot of them have gone out of business and/or bankrupt over the last 30 years.

    I wonder if they still blame unions for their woes…. Or if they’ve wised up to banksters, the oligarchy, speculators, and folks who buy their land out from under them with inherited wealth?


    • Freebird1971

      Perhaps that’s why Free is so adamant about his “personal responsibilities.” Maybe he’s someone who’s benefited from cronyism, not merit or longevity.

      Wrong on both counts

  26. indypendent

    I’d say that bargain has broken down on all sides. Organized labor no longer ALWAYS delivers the most skilled workers who are committed to productivity. And management has certainly become lax about treating their workforce with integrity, paying them a living wage, and providing safe workplaces.

    But in the old days, it was a bargain that worked. In order for America to be come competitive again with the knowledge workers in Asia or Europe or elsewhere, that same bargain will have to be struck and maintained



    I would also like to add – I remember the days when unions and corporations worked together for the good of the company. When has that happened in the last few decades?

    I can also remember the days when the CEO made more in his paychecks (as well he should if he is responsible for everything), but the CEO’s of today are paid exorbitantly higher than any of their predecessors.

    And when Republicans talk about ‘shared sacrifices’ in these days of needing to cut the budgets – I totally agree. But how is taking away peoples’ right to collective bargain by the way of their union making a shared sacrifice?

    BTW – are those overpaid CEO’s being asked to sacrifice? Don’t look now – but Republicans also went to bat for the wealthiest 2% to keep their Bush tax cuts.

    So,again, where are those shared sacrifices???? Shared means that BOTH sides give – and from the seat me and alot of other working people sit – the CEOs and corporations have not shared for a long, long time…

    One last note…… husband was in white collar corporate chair for a long time. I hear how terrible unions are to deal with but let me tell you something.

    The very first nursing home my husband managed was union. Every single time a fight started to brew between union and management – my husband would take out the contract.

    Sometimes the union people were stretching for what they wanted – and according to the contract, they had no right to push for whatever it was they wanted at the moment.

    sometimes the opposite was true – labor won out on their bone of contention and my husband honored the contract.

    so, see, sometimes that contract benefits the unions and sometimes it benefits the management. It is like a fence that makes for good neighbors. Everyone knows the boundaries and when fights erupt – then they are settled if only BOTH sides honor the contract.

    Does that mean every union is honorable? – Hell no. But the same can be said about any group of people. That is why it is important to keep the right of people to collective bargain through a union.

    I just wish someday – and soon – our country will finally get it through our thick skulls – success depends on being in balance. Labor and corporation can co-exist – if both side want to be successful.

    A productive company is a company where employees feel valued.

  27. Thunderchild

    comment edited by fnord

  28. Thunderchild

    “Freebird”: I guess this is where we disagree. I was raised believing the best thing you can do in life is to take care of you and your family,

    So was I. Then my exploiter told me that my first duty was to them and that my kid would have to come second. They had told me that a great many times. And I had used what rights I had as a union member to fight back as best I could for as long as I could.

    That job, that I quit under continuous pressure of being fired from has now been outsourced to Mexico. After it destroyed my family, and my health. The people there can take it, with no union protections or worker rights.

    Or, they can continue to flee a nation where Government has been totally destroyed by corporate and personal greed and corruption and come here to HELP destroy what is left of Government guaranteed protection for worker compensation and benefits.

    Some choice, huh?

  29. Freedomwriter

    I don’t think Freebird needs to be attacked. He is simply taking the short view, rather than the long view. It serves no purpose to create more distance in our relationship with those with whom we disagree. Hostility creates more barriers, and I for one would like to see those barriers come down. I know how tempting it is to lambast those who disagree with points of view we may see as common sense, but each of us has come to our world view based on our previous life experiences. We would serve humanity and the cause better by continuing to use fact and persuasive arguments to inch our objectors closer to challenging their own world view, because they begin to see some merit in the opposing argument.

    From my perspective, our major differences with conservatives has to do with the “every man for himself” outlook versus “we are all brothers, and need to help each other”.

    For me, Freebird’s statement that “I was raised believing the best thing you can do in life is to take care of you and your family,close or extended, I’m soon to be 58 yrs old and that lesson has never failed me” explains his world view. It is a commendable belief, and one most of us can subscribe to. However, I believe in something broader, which perhaps even Freebird can subscribe to, “we are better together, than we can ever be apart.” Today what happens in Egypt, or Libya, or Madison, or a little town in Kansas affects all of us. It affects our economies, our sense of community, our sense of safety and well being.

    I commend Freebird for continuing to visit, his dissenting opinion forces us to find ways to articulate our views more clearly. But forgive us, Freebird, if some days we just lose our cool. Most of us have spent our lives being made to feel unsafe, by people who labeled us as radical, left wing, or naive. PPP offers us a safe haven for venting and sharing our views with others who support our philosophy. This blog is a breath of fresh air for me, and I am grateful I found it.

    • Freebird1971

      I don’t take it personally,And I don’t think of my self as a conservative,some things I am conservative about, other issues I could be classified,and have been, as a liberal, the only label I apply to myself is that of American. Putting labels on people only restricts you from getting to know the person as a person.

      • indypendent

        I agree 100% about labels.

        I consider myself Social Liberal and Fiscal Conservative – and that combination is not found in either of today’s political parties.

        But what I find so disturbing is when the party of the NO assumes they are superior to the Democrats simply by playing the religion card.

        That makes me angry – as well – because I am a Christian and I believe that the Bible teaches us that we are our brother’s keeper.

        And as to the Republicans’ stance of Us vs Them constantly- where does that leave the commandment from the bible to be our brother’s keeper?