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I'm dyin' up here

By Owen Paine on Monday January 14, 2008 05:59 PM

So unions took a 35-year corporate mugging and seemed to find it "inevitable". Why?

This chum at Counterpunch thinks he knows:


1. "The hollowing-out of the country's manufacturing base and, with it, a decline in those industry jobs which, historically, had not only been strongly organized but well paid."
Crap, it took 70 years to crack the industrial corporations, and before they cracked plant wages were horrible just like service and commercial wages now.
2. "Government has assumed custody of key union provisions."
That's the reason? Unions can't top Uncle Sam's social contract? The real wage min is lower than Johnson started with, and longer hours too, health costs are still private payroll rape jobs. To be sure, corporate pensions going bust get Uncle bailouts -- funny how the attack is on the social security system when its the only sound pension game in America.
3. "Changes in demographics and culture"
Now this alibi deserves scrutiny:
"There is a decreased respect for the role of organized labor, for its founders, its battles, its overall narrative, and an alarming lack of interest in labor's political and social implications."
Maybe the unions deserve that rap, eh? In fact our mate here says as much:
"High school history and civic textbooks of the Baby Boomer generation (and the one preceding it) routinely included accounts of the achievements of labor leaders such as Samuel Gompers, John L. Lewis, Walter Reuther, et al, mentioning them in much the same way they mentioned political leaders and social reformers Today, it would be ludicrous to expect a high school history text to single out specific contemporary labor leaders who've made a difference-unless it was something scandalous or bizarre (e.g., the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa). "
But here comes the pop-bottled socio-criticism:
"We've also witnessed a marked decline in our sense of community.... Today, everybody seems to want to call himself an independent.... Working people... prefer to think of themselves as incipient, yet-to-be-realized entrepreneurs rather than proletarian toilers."
Really? That's why collective job site action is nowheresville -- us prole cats don't see ourselves for the sweatin' chumps we really are? What do we see then in the morning mirror? The next Donald Trump?

Moral of the tale:

".... working people don't have the core respect they once had. Simple as that."
There's a spectre haunting wage slave America circa 2008, and its name is... Rodney Dangerfield

The chap that wrote this is one David Macaray. Brother Mac is "a Los Angeles playwright and writer" and former "president and chief contract negotiator of the Assn. of Western Pulp and Paper Workers, Local 672, from 1989 to 2000."

Comments (1)

Nice catch, op.

Anybody who's been a "leader" in a union and doesn't mention the rot-from-within was either stoned the whole time, or is indeed cut from the usual "leader" cloth.

The whole show-of-non-force has been a subsidiary branch of the Democratic Party since the great purges of the early Cold War.

Much, much worse is that the subsidiarity has only INCREASED as the ship has run farther and farther aground on the polluted shoals of Scratch-My-PAC Beach.

The Black Book of American Capitalism has a very long and interesting and probably long-since shredded chapter on the Cold War inception and management of the whole charade, starting in the guts of the HST gubmint, if not within WWII planning itself.

Where the fuck did the Albert Shankers and George Meanys come from, anyway? A "teacher" who "taught" school for maybe 5 years and a fucking plumber? Not exactly representative or logical. But damned good at topping the downs...

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