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Organized Labor Speaking Without One Voice

New Orleans        It is one thing when we all know the king has no clothes on, but it’s a whole different problem when Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal and its op-ed pages broadcasts it far and wide. While we watch the Koch Brothers drive an ideological machinery pushing businesses to hew the line politically hard [...]

Harris v. Quinn Part 2: Creating a Permanent Precariat in Public Employment

New Orleans    As terrible as the impact of the Supreme Court’s Harris v. Quinn decision is for unions and their capacity, the equally profound and perhaps more permanent implication may be in its attempt to create different sets of rights and entitlements for a permanent precariat in public sector employment.  The 5-4 majority decision written [...]

Unions, the First and Last Hope for Egyptian Revolution

New Orleans   When more than 20 organizers from labor unions and community organizations as part of the Organizers’ Forum delegation visited Egypt in 2011 after the revolution several years ago scores of meetings with political parties, activists, community and labor organizers, proved the one clear reality-tested conclusion that cut through all of the hype was [...]

New Strategy at AFL-CIO or Same Ol’, Same Ol’?

New Orleans    I watched a brief interview for USA Today with Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, on the eve of their coming convention, as he argued that with the diminishing numbers, there were changes coming at the federation.   The changes he talked about mainly were some kind of broader affiliation program that was enrolling [...]

Cities Say Paid Sick Leave, States Try to Lock Back Door

New Orleans    Portland became the fourth city to approve an ordinance for paid sick leave for workers in their city, joining Seattle, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. with Philadelphia on the verge of becoming the fifth city any day.  Connecticut is the only state to have created a mandatory employer obligation.  The benefits are not [...]

Union Conundrum: Short Term Needs versus Long Term Success

The St. Louis CIO's campaign for unemployment benefits in the 1940s

New Orleans  Eduardo Porter’s “Economic Scene” column in the New York Times is fast becoming a favorite read for me.  He actually seems to care about people, including working and low income people.  Probably not long for this world at the paper, but worth [...]