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Welcome to the tar pit, baby

By Owen Paine on Saturday July 24, 2010 01:24 AM

Public sector job force under siege: that's the gist of it these days, a constant pounding as state and local budget gaps get closed with pay cuts and pink slips.

Hey, lots of these folks got unions... no?

Are they fighting back? In many cases, yes; but so far the asshole Mcjobbed majority is not responding. The wage and benefit isolation of the public sector workers from their fading cousins in the private sector has really come home to roost this summer.

Our vast unorganized private service sector looks on as the public workers take a vicious mugging, and they appear not just inert but silently gleeful.

We can't have a strong sustainable pub-sec union movement if the pri-sec movement is foundering. Hell, the pub-sec unions are comparatively new compared to the once-mighty industrial unions now suffering humiliation in their protracted twilight dotage.

Shape of things to come for all you, too, you silk-contract AFSCME-ites, AFT/NEA-ers and other public-teat whatevers?

And hey, SEIU organizing the vast pool of quasi-public health workers ain't got much better long-run prospects either.

Brothers and sisters of the organized pub-sec: help us pri-sec lugs lift ourselves out of our blighted Mcjobbled pay pits, or prepare yourselves to fall down here yourselves and join us in time-punched purgatory.

Comments (10)

Have you not heard, op-san? We in AFT are a Union of Professionals. Sure, we deign to include Early Childhood Educators, but Sanitation Engineers, we are not!


md please send father a run down on the aft /nea guild v union struggle
simply by re identifying the union as a professional organization
hardly moves the AFT into harmony with the bigger more suburban outfit its attempting to devour

laying the scene and updating it might tickle a few SMBIVA belly feathers

no two union cultures could clash more vigorously
despite years of troubled pre amalgamation
not quite SEIU vs ASCME ..not yet
but the squabbles are enlightening

Hey, as ex-AFSCME you know I can insult the mentality therein as well as anyone. OTOH, just how aggressive have the remaining trade unions in this great land of ours been so far as organizing other employees-- comparably speaking?

The most noticeable local "crossover" I can remember is the ILWU helping the employees of the Powell's Books chain go Union back in the early Oughts.

I do think a lot of my erstwhile co-workers deserve a good taking down, personally. Personal issues aside, though, a fish rots from the head outward, right? We all know that leadership sets the tone, and that leadership has spent years and years tithing to Democrats and sitting idly by as the people they supposedly represent get slapped in the face over and over again.

Sadly, I don't expect that most of the labor leaders will be contemplating dinner from a trashcan or a move back in with the parents anytime soon. So I guess my joy here is, uh, pretty muted.


the organizing environment in the pub sec hardlt matches that in the pri sec eh ??

the pub sec saw great strides in organizing
between 60-80
and has held its ground fairly well since the air traffic controlers slam dunk
became the hood ornament
of reagan union policy

we have the cio surge of the 30's 40's

and this pub sec surge 60's and 70's

i see similar baleful trends emerging
with a lag of 20 years
in the pub sec as hit the ind sec

pri-service sec holds the key to union revival

pub sec unions have all the disadvantages
of a tax based payroll/benefit source

payroll and benefits funded by ass hole consumer product buying
(with or without profiteer mediation)
has less sting by a huge measure

u are on target about "the tithing" bit

but the organizing of the pri sec unorganized
isn't just a failure of "effort and resources"
oin fact it isn't mainly that

we have passed thru a period of fantastic
job site backwardization
just what you'd expect might spark the bees
to self organize
but nope

can't claim to grasp why
at least in a way that could open the road to a second great awakening like 30-38

could it be just not enough misery yet ??


"could it be just not enough misery yet ??"

seems nobody thinks there's much over the rainbow this time


Geez, when did Disney take over the La Brea Tar Pits? When I was a kid, you could see real bones sticking out of the muck there, not these pint-sized plastic recreations of mastadons.

Alas, I am incapable of providing much analysis of the AFT/NEA Dreamworks.

After trying to raise direct one-member, one-vote election of officers at two early 1990s "international" conventions and then spending a decade as a state-level officer, I am convinced that AFT is entirely hopeless. Hence, I spend no time keeping track of its doing, other than glancing occasionally at the covers of the reams of junk mail I receive along with my membership.

Some but certainly not all the problem is the ideological delusion of "educators." It was well proved that if you wanted to organize everybody possible at a new school campus, you had to start at the top. If you started with the janitors and other "classified staff," the "educators" would never join, as they would write the whole thing off as a peon endeavor. This, despite their own $34,000 pay for 80-hour work weeks...

The NEA is undoubtedly ten times worse than whatever AFT professional organizations still exist.


It will be interesting to see how the impending collapse of the overpriced college industrial complex plays out. I must admit visualizing the shit-canning of fake leftists who ditched economic leftism for identity politics fills me with glee.


rose i share your dream

but i fear the CIC may be harder
to implode then either of us might wish

if tenure gets smashed ...it's a start

wishing ill for profs may be a vilation of sound popular front politics
but ..what the hell
we dwell in post party/pre party times

i for one
and my free pink amoeba
have no imposed
( collective centralized discipline)
even as we might wish it

Hafta agree with op-san here. The college racket is way too crucial to selling the system, and the tenure trick way too crucial to the grant-seeking, flea-fucking, jargon-jerking timidity of its tenure-seeking squatter/managers. Neither will be allowed to implode.

And never underestimate the desire of the middle class to jump through whatever hoops it takes to slake their fear of falling.

This isn't to say there won't be serious down-shifting, and progressive banishment of the working class from access to state schools.

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