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Why Couldn't Unions Stop RIght To Work Legislation in Michigan?

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In a stealth maneuver last week, the Michigan legislature passed right to work legislation, intended to strip the nation's few remaining unions of their ability to hire staff and be politically active. The Real News Network interviews Jane McAlevey, a successful union organizer to explain how this happened & what it means.

Full transcript available at the Real News Network, a resource we at Black Agenda Report visit regularly.

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@ALL: how many white workers voted to cut their own throats?

Can someone explain to me why white workers voted for the republican government they have in Michigan?

"The Bad News About White People: Romney Won the White Vote Almost Everywhere"

http://www.thenation.com/blog/171093/bad-news-about-white-people-romney-...

Makes sense to me

Michigan’s right-to-work law

December 13, 2012

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2012/12/13/pers-d13.html

The inability of the United Auto Workers and other unions to mount any serious opposition to the legislation demonstrates the bankruptcy of these organizations.

They long ago ceased to fight for the interests of their rank-and-file members or the working class as a whole.

The UAW, the Michigan AFL-CIO, the Michigan Education Association and the other unions are incapable of mobilizing workers.

They have spent the last three decades working to suppress and betray workers’ struggles and impose the demands of the corporations for one round of wage and benefit cuts after another.

They have collaborated in the closure of plants and mass layoffs, leaving former industrial centers like Detroit devastated and impoverished.

The UAW agreed to a six-year strike ban as part of the wage-cutting contract dictated by the Obama’s Auto Task Force in 2009.

The UAW once had over 1 million members and as recently as 2004 had 650,000 on its membership rolls. Today it has a membership of about 380,000.

Workers do not look to these anti-democratic, sclerotic organizations, with their legions of six-figure-salaried officials and joint union-management slush funds, as instruments of struggle.

They hold them in deserved contempt.

The executives who run the UAW and the other unions oppose the right-to-work law only because it threatens the flow of dues that sustains their apparatuses.

They couldn’t care less about the rights of workers, and are no less hostile to the class struggle than those who pushed the bill through the legislature.

Where do the union dues go?

To providing funds for the Democratic Party and the bureaucrats’ own affluent lifestyles.

Meanwhile, young workers in UAW plants are forced to work for poverty-level wages of $15 an hour, endure back-breaking speedup, work ten- and even 12-hour days with no overtime pay, and watch as “their” union reps police the shop floor on behalf of the bosses.

With the new law not going into affect until April—and at workplaces only after the expiration of current agreements—the UAW bureaucrats at Solidarity House and officials at union headquarters all over the state will work overtime to push through new concessions contracts to lock in their dues income for the next several years.

Just one day before the passage of the right-to-work law, the UAW hosted President Obama at a Detroit-area factory and cheered his plans to slash and ultimately dismantle Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

In his speech, Obama criticized the right-to-work law on the grounds that the UAW had demonstrated its usefulness by collaborating with the government and the auto companies in slashing wages and benefits and returning the US auto industry to profitability.

The collapse of the trade unions is the outcome of the reactionary political perspective upon which they were based.

The UAW arose out of massive struggles in the 1930s, which began with a rebellion against the old labor organizations of the American Federation of Labor.

To establish the new industrial unions, workers had to carry out sit-down strikes and general strikes that paralyzed entire cities.

They had to battle company thugs, police and the National Guard—and thousands paid with their lives.

The great tragedy of this movement was that it remained under the control of a right-wing, pro-capitalist bureaucracy, which from the earliest stages worked to subordinate the newly organized unions to the corporations, the Democratic Party and American imperialism.

In the 1940s, the socialists and left-wing militants who had led the sit-down strikes were purged from the UAW in the anti-communist witch hunts carried out by the union bureaucrats.

It did not take very long for these organizations to begin their decline, which coincided with the first signs in the 1950s and 1960s of the end of American postwar economic hegemony.

By the 1970s and 1980s, the growing global integration of production and finance undercut the nationalist perspective on which they were based.

The unions had no answer to the domination of the world economy by giant corporations, which made it possible for the capitalists to exploit a global labor market and transfer production to low-wage countries.

Their only response was to go from pressuring employers to improve the wages and conditions of workers to pressuring the workers to improve the competitiveness of the corporations by means of layoffs, wage cuts and speedup.

The unions repudiated any form of independent struggle and adopted the corporatist policy of union-management “partnership.”

This went hand in hand with the promotion of economic nationalism to pit US workers against their class brothers around the world.

The result of this process is the transformation of the unions into labor syndicates.

They have become businesses that seek a cut in the profits sweated out of the workers.
The UAW is today a major holder of stock in the Big Three automakers.

Its income is tied to driving up the profits and stock prices of the companies at the expense of the workers.

What conclusions must be drawn?

It is not a matter of reviving these corrupt and reactionary organizations, as proposed by the various pseudo-left allies of the union bureaucracy such as the International Socialist Organization.

New organizations, rank-and-file committees of struggle independent of the UAW and the other unions and based on an entirely new perspective, must be built.

The guiding principle must be the unconditional defense of the jobs, living standards and working conditions of all workers, not what the corporate bosses and their political mouthpieces say they can afford.

Such committees must fight for the full industrial and political mobilization of the working class.

They must reject the “Buy American” nationalism of the unions and coordinate their struggles against the global corporations with workers throughout the world.

Most fundamentally, the working class needs a new political perspective and political party.

Workers are confronting not just this or that rapacious boss, but an entire economic system in the US and internationally—the capitalist profit system—which, in order to satisfy the needs of the ruling elite, requires the spread of social misery, poverty, war and the most brutal forms of exploitation.

The issue is not fighting for better terms of exploitation, but ending the system that is based on exploitation.

In opposition to the two parties of big business, the working class must build its own mass party to fight for the socialist reorganization of economic life on the basis of human need, not the accumulation of private wealth.

Payback Time, Arrogrance versus Policy

UAW chief admits some mistakes in pushing Prop 2 despite Snyder's warnings

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121214/OPINION03/212140369#ixzz2F2P2ZYSa 

The bottom line, according to multiple sources close to the situation, is that Prop 2's smackdown by voters statewide made right to work a political certainty in the state capital of the UAW's home. It also trains special attention on King's tendency to make critical political decisions with scant input from other national labor leaders or Dems in Michigan's congressional delegation.

Everybody knew what was coming.

In the interview, King twice said it is "accurate" to say Gov. Rick Snyder explicitly warned him that Republicans in the Legislature likely would push right-to-work legislation in the lame-duck session if labor ignored the GOP majority in both houses, pressed ahead and filed petitions to place Proposal 2 on the November ballot.

"I talked to the governor and we both wanted to find a path" to keep "divisive" right-to-work bills from coming to the floor of the Legislature, the UAW president said. "We told him we heard they were going to do it in lame duck. We had that discussion before the petitions were filed."

The GOP's right-to-work Blitzkrieg in the state Legislature, begun and ended in five days, is a historic blunder by King and his union associates. Or it's the unintended consequence of his zeal to become a bigger political kingpin than his predecessor, including doing what it takes in an election year to deliver successfully Michigan's 15 electoral votes to help re-elect President Barack Obama. Or it's both.

His efforts to forge alliances with foreign unions in Europe, Japan, South Korea and elsewhere have produced meager results, a testament to divergent goals and parochial economic stresses (like the European sovereign debt crisis) that give such tie-ups lower priority in the real world.

King and his leadership team last year delivered their members comparatively solid contracts with Detroit's automakers. But the union's resistance to opposing Japan's entry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade talks, lest the union be seen as crossing the Obama administration, and King's consideration of a political alliance with Ambassador Bridge mogul Matty Moroun has infuriated auto execs.

Both moves, later reversed under pressure, signaled a tendency by King to let partisan politics drive union policy instead of what arguably is right for the UAW's dues-paying members and their employers. The competing New International Trade Crossing bridge, a competitor to Moroun, promises to create 10,000 jobs, most of them union.

EC:  Here was the head of the UAW siding with a billionaire that privately owns the only major bridge span between Detroit and Windsor, Canada.  He was going to destroy 10,000 union jobs in Detroit and risk a transportation portal that would have demonstrably increased  the tax base, vitality, employment and commerce in Detroit and SE Michigan because of his petty, personal ambitions.  Well it backfired!

Before folks run off acting all shrill about what happened in Michigan, DO YOUR HOMEWORK.  Like I said, life isn't black and white and always fits in neat little holes.  And how soon we forget that it is oft times PERSONALITIES and not POLICIES that precipate change for better or worse.

Obama, for example, ain't Lyndon B. Johnson.  Spam for thought.

http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/19800615/deal-between-matty-moroun-uaw-on-propsals-2-and-6 

From The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20121214/OPINION03/212140369#ixzz2F2LWglLa 

 

This is Important Back-Ground Info EC for Proper Context-

While In pricipal I'm in favor of collective-bargaining rights for the working-class- especially viv-a-vis this Corp Capitalist system- BUT: Too many big Unions in the US [especially at the leadership level] have had a history some questionable positions on too many issues.

So This guy [the UAW Head] picked a fight that he was warned he'd loose & what the price would be if he pushed it too far, yet he did it any way, without even bothering to get input from key members of his constituency??? I think the word for that is ARROGANT & DUMB!!! You don't pick a fight like this from a position of weakness- if you really don't have to. This guy rolled the dice & loss, so IMO the UAW rank & file needs to kick his ass to the curb for that blunder.

First of all if this MI so-called 'Right-to-Work' law does is give workers the choice to pay union dues [or not] themselves, instead of automatically deducting them from workers salaries [though I suspect there's more to it than that], the answer to that is, as ex-UAW man Frank Hammer said- do what unions used to do to collect dues- Go around to the members & potential members & explain & justify just why they should pay their union dues. 

But lets not get too sentimental about all unions. Most police & firemen's unions [as well as others] had traditionally locked Blacks & Browns out of those jobs for Decades- up till the 1960s, 70s & 80s. Cop Unions have also most often been a BIG impediment in the cause of justice, when cops commit police-brutallity & even gun-down unarmed Blacks & Hispanics! And Big Unions didn't even really push to get more Unions in the South- home to most so-called 'Right-to-Work' laws [FYI: Anti-union slave-labor behemoth Wallmart started in Billary's state of AR]. Nor did they seriously push for some important issues for working-class / working-poor folks in general IE: increasing the minimum wage to a living wage, directly linking CEO / CFO salaries to either the minimum wage &/or the ave worker's salary, a national policy for full-employment at a living wage, Medicare for all, etc. Thus their traditional view has been fatally myopic & self-centered [IE; a 'Can't see the Forest for the Trees' type Mentality]- leading to their steady decline.

Too many unions are also too closely tied to the Dimo-crap party. The first big sell-out of unions by Dims in the post New Deal era, was when Truman used the Taft-Hartley Act 12Xs to break Union strikes. But Chris Hedges said that the when Slick Willie signed NAFTA- Unions should have cut the Dims loose BIG Time! Never-the-less AFL-CIO Pres Trumpka backed Obama again in 2012 even though Obama reneged on his 2008 Card-Check promise & the US; biggest teachers' union backed Obama even in the face of his & Arne Duncan's [& Rambo's] RTTT onslaught against Teachers' Unions...

But back to the UAW, they backed GM's, Ford's, & Chrystler's roll out of the dubious SUV craze beginning in the 1980s & also joined Detroit's Big 3 in opposing increasing CAFE mileage standards- which would have put a damper on the SUV craze. 

In other words too many big US Unions have gone 'All In' w the Dims & Corp Capitalism. So now they're paying the price, as the Dims in cahoots w the Repugs & BIG BIZ, have sold-out the US' working-class- Big Time!  [PS: It was S.Africa's main Trade Union, along w S.Africa's main so-called 'Communist' Party- that backed the ANC's bloody  'Gestapo' type attack against those miners that left 37 Black miners in Marikana dead. This clearly indicates what can happen when a so-called 'progressive' movement goes all in w Globalized NeoLiberal Gorp Capitalism- against the best interests of the people & workers.]

REFORMATION

Everything that you said about unions and about the dubious behavior of much of their membership in countless circumstances over the past 50 or so years is absolutely true. I would add to it my extreme disgust with the track record of police and prison guard unions which spend far more time engaged in ugly social engineering; working hard to pass fascist laws which seek to grant more and more impunity and special priveleges to members of law enforcement, and to target Blacks and members of other non-White ethnic groups for extralegal harassement, than they do on benefits or other work related items. Non of the law enforcement unions are noted for their solidarity with other non-law enforcement unions or with international unions. Yet, that said, the corporations are still here and growing ever more vicious and venal every day. As  a worker who prefers not to be enslaved, how does one protect oneself from them in a world without unions or worker rights?  How does one reform unions so that they serve and protect their membership, since it's obvious that this society will not, or cannot reform corporations. 

WHERE WERE THEY?

For the most part, the union people voted in the very same politicians who are out to destroy them, because many of the rank and file share their reactinary political views and have no knowledge of the history of labor and of its major role in the creation of a large middle class. Many of these people will have to relearn the hard lessons of what it really means to live as a powerless, unorganized member of the working class in a society in which so-called free market capitalism reigns supreme without having to deal with any checks and balances from organized labor, or from the larger society, or from government regulations.

The Issue is Relevancy

Let's pose another question, actually two:

1.  Why can't unions defeat Right Wingish Democratic politicians for seats in Congress or the White House?, and

2.  Why can't the NAACP adequately address issues of hunger and economic justice.

The answer for both is RELEVANCY.  It's hard to win fights when you lose relevancy.  When oppositional institutions become coopted they are no longer relevant.   Globalization is arguably the biggest reason for union's demise, relevancy is a close second, the creeping facist mindset in America is in the mix also.

Poor Examples don't help

Let me just say from the get go, the GOP passed this legislation during the Lame Duck Session of the Michigan House and Senate, ( a move that Obama would never have the balls to do).  The legislation was raw political payback because the unions arguably overreached by attempting to enshrine collective bargaining into the Michigan Constitution in the elections of November of 2012.

Second, if one assesses the impact of unions on the dysfunctional Detroit City government you won't get a lot of sympathy for unions, they've clearly protected incompetence and dead weight and reflected an inability to apply math to a shrinking City population and tax base.   Third, when one assesses the impact of unions vis a vis the two-tiered employment structures at UAW plants like Ford and Chrysler and John Deere Tractor Works you won't get a lot of sympathy for unions in this instance.  In those situations the older heads clearly threw the young bucks under the bus.

Food for thought.

UNION-FREE ISN'T FREEDOM

Name one modern, civilized society with a large, strong middle class which does not have powerful labor unions. Why does the south, the region which has the fewest and weakest unions and the region with the weakest labor laws and enviromental laws, always come in last when it comes to the average wages of working people yet, always holds first place when it comes to poverty rates. If unions "destroyed" Detroit, what "destroyed" Alabama, Louisiana, and Missippi?  How many of the millions of America's economic refugees were driven out of their home countries by oppressive labor unions? 

The challenges of intelligent dialogue

is the tendency, especially in today's polarized world, to think in terms of "black" and "white."  Not just racially speaking, but in terms of ideals and ideologies, hence my common refrain and admonition that the only thing purer than ideology is libido and we know how pure that is, typically not much.  Ask today's Modern Day Spartan and wannabe Warrior Ascetic David Petraeus if you don't believe me.

Real-world stuff does't always fit in neat little categories, this is the case with unions as others have already posted here.  The history of the "guild" is one of racial exclusion and we all recall how the Teamsters jumped on Reagan's bandwagon.    There are Blacks and Whites who hate each other's guts, but are members of the same union.  Life does not always fit in neat, tidy categories, it tends to get messy at times.

For starters, ideologically speaking, I'm pro-Union, always have and probably always will be.  I've benefited from union wages as the child of a union-waged father with no formal education, hell no high school ed.  That being said, union's on steriods can create an uneven balance too, that's the case with the "D." 

Detroit's financial crisis has much to do with legacy costs that a shrinking population can't cover, it's not ideology, its math, even Jethro Bodine can do the math.   Any City that loses 30 to 40% of its population and hence tax base can't do business as usual, well Detroit did.  Now the chickens have come home to roost.

It's not an indictment of unions per se, it is an indictment of unions on steriods and growth hormones.

The unions also exacerbated an already minimally functional bureaucracy.  You can't get rid of folks with attitudes and you can't promote the hardest workers.  Under even-keeled collective bargaining you should be able to do both IMO.  I tell you what, come to the "D" and try to take a a building permit the experience might just give you an ephiphany.  No question in my mind that Detroit's growth is impeded by NWA, and I ain't talking about the rap group.

Look, I was against capital punishment until I moved here...And gun control, hell are you crazy, no one who lives in the hood is without some heat.  Like I said, if only real world intellectual growth and maturation fit in tidy boxes; it just doesn't.  And IMO this is a huge reason American can't solve its problems.

Let me repeat, this is just pure revenge of the Red Necks because the Demos tried to enshrine unionism into the Constitution of the State of Michigan, they overreached and now they are paying the price for it.  It ain't about LIKING the politics, it's about understanding them.

Addendum

It is also important to put this into context:  No sage person in the intellectual, charitable, non-proft,  political, governmental or business community anticipates sea changes, most anticipate business as usual. 

To it's credit, Detroit and the State of Michigan, has ensconsed union values into it's social and political fabric.  Only those obsessed with pure folly believe unions will pass away here overnight.  The effort to enshrine collective bargaining in the Mich. Constitution was amazingly close when you consider the anti-union climate in America.

42% to 58% is a pretty damn good effort.

But I personally don't believe in tinkering with Constitutions  be they state or Federal.  Which is why I described the attempt as over-reaching.   People put to much damn faith in paper and forget the process.

To remove collective bargaining and pro-union sentiment and political clout in Detroit, you'd have to remove the population; that ain't happening..so the reality is business as usual. 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/07/michigan-proposal-2-results-2012_n_2080767.html 

Speaking of collective power of humanity, i.e. "unions," I have a modest pro-union proposal.  You can do it w/o leaving the comfort of the sofa or Iphone:

1.  Transfer all of your bank accounts to a credit union and or a mutual insurance entity, entities where your investment constitutes some ownership and the Bd. of Directors look like us?  Live in our communities.

What if on the day of the Inaugration Americans transferred $1 Billion let alone $10 or more to credit unions or State owned Banks like N. Dakota, AND their insurance policies to mutual companies?

I recall a European Soccer star suggesting the Europeans "vote" with their money/bank accounts? 

The 1% and Financiers transferred, who knows? $300 Trillion since 2008?  With a few more Trillion in play with swap and derivative liablities?  Can't we the People move at least $1 Billion to send a message?  I tell you what, much better time and much less energy spent than worrying about the end of unions and collective bargaining in Detroit and Michigan.

I'll end my pro-union message with this:  the primary union we need to be concerned with is how we use our financial resources, clout, collaboration and wherewithal in the manner that disinvestment strategies against rogue nations are employed. 

We can't even vote with the simplest, easily accessible, and most potent tool at our disposal our own money, what little we have of it:  We dismiss how we collectively spend our money or "vote" with it via boycotts or socially conscious (dis)/investing.    We're all content to rant on blogs, me included, but not orchestrate a strategy of strategic spending.

Unless there is a "union" to break cut-throat, consolidated, political king capitalism, we're all just whistfully pontificating.

Yet, something we can do, something as simple as a million persons moving a collective total of $500 Million by the Inaguration with a message attached.... we can't even do that.

If we can't execise voluntary and informed consumer choices to break up the monopolies that imprison us, than I don't know.  And if we fail to promote small businesses and each other, than we need to zip it.  Talking RTW means nothing, consolidated capitalism will ultimately prevail if we exercise financial choices that aid and abet the consolidation.  The small, family-friendly shops that need our dollars close because we'd rather spend 45 minutes in a major chain to spend $10.  And "injury" is that we did it all for "convenience." 

Look, even Jethro Bodine can figure out my math.

A lot of this other talk is gibberish w/o some progressive articulation of a strategy of using OUR wealth, consumer choices and ability to vote with our dollars...

Otherwise, we stuck on FB talking smack and raging against the machine while doing downloads from WalmartDotCom.  Where are the financial wits to deleverage us from the "system."  Organizing, investing in, joining, utilizing credit unions or chartering State Banks could easily become a paradign shift (yall tell me how much $$ moves out of the oligarchs hands and into a sytem of commerce that benefits us??   I got a D in Econ, but I'm good at concepts)... you get the picture?

Motto for 2013 should be stop the shit talking and let's move some capital, let's give the 1 percenters a taste of their own medicine.  They are making our lives a crap shoot.  And I say, following the example of the Michigan Right Wingers reacting to the over reaching unions, let's make them pay.  (sarcasm).

 

 

2nd Addendum

The problem with so many movements and trends is that while we identify the culprit--cut-throat, neo-liberal, mercantile-like capitalism-- we fatally elect to address it using out-dated methods.  We are using methods of political protest  now that ignore the ease with which capital is moved, transfered or pledged, collaterlized, leveraged...you name it..with the push of a button.

Long ago, we neither recognized the power of consolidated capital accumulation/business consolidation in our enculturation, socialization and political processes nor found it problematic.  That was then, this is now.  And we've never articulated an easily adaptable construct of commerce vs. capitalism capable of implementation.

Every thinking African American would admit that the NAACP lost it's relevancy by failing to tackle economics-- jobs, fair procurement, micro-enterprise, community and business development i.e. Nation Building if you will.

The educational lessons cognizant-- but lost-- then, are the same ones shimmering on the surface but lost now. 

"It's the fungibility of the capital stupid."

It took Ghengis Khan , the Gilded Age, and Alexander the Great to do in 20 years each what it took the 1 percenters less than 4 years to do;  and their till continues moving upward.  Spam for thought.

p.s.  Taxing folks who make $250K as "rich" is a crock of shit.  $250K is upper middle class if you live in some major cities.  I would never live in NYC as single w/o making $175K min.  The Prez and First Lady didn't live where they lived in Chi-Town making less than $250K. I certainly don't make $250K, I'm just talking reality vs. myth.  Close off shore loopholes, stop HSBC drug money laundering with 1% fines, the BP well is still leaking despite the "record fines," : leave small biz owner making $250K the hell alone!

@Afric-1 We have to agree to somewhat disagree my friend

I'm not suggesting $250K is chump change, it isn't.  I'm simply saying it's not "rich."  "Pleasantly prosperous,"  fair enough.  What I'm really driving at is that number is arbitrary and pulled out of someone's behind.  It is also a propaganda ruse that IMO is designed to pit the successful small business class against the middle class.  If we close loopholes for REAL billionaires, millionaires, and their  corporate counter parts, we 'd have no need to put the burden on someone making a Quarter of a Mil who hires 5 to 15 persons at their small business.   The small biz person making that kind of money is different than a middle manager at Countrywide making that kind of money, and we should recognize that nuance.   Small businesses,  IMO, needs a tax break, Ford, GM and General Dynamics, or Google doesn't. 

Small biz creates most of US jobs, not the corporate giants.  If you leveraged your 401K and credit cards to build a business that earns you $250K a year and you've hired 40 to 50 persons over a five year span (for example) that's vastly different than using the "network of reciprocity" to get a gig paying the same where you probably don't do sh*t but engage in bad management practices.  For the record, I have a few friends who make that much or more and they don't mind being taxed.

NO INSULT OR ASSUMPTIONS INTENDED

I was not assuming that you were being reflectively anti-union. I have read your posts for a long time and I agree with your general analysis that everything is far more gray and nuanced when it comes to deciding who the enemy really is and what are real solutions to real problems. Having been a union member for most of my working life, I am aware of the shortcomings of organized labor. Organized labor is a micrococism of everything that is both right and wrong in the larger society in which it exists. I cannot speak specifically to the Detroit experience. I still believe that unions in spite of their history of racism and exclusionism and corruption did far more to create a prosperous middle class than did any "the harder you work for less, the richer you get" sloganeering from the mainstream society. Many in this society are very quick to call out union labor as greedy while celebrating the greater greed of corporations. Many who would be better off organizing themselves for a better deal would rather stand "with" their corporate masters and shout canned, prepackaged freemarket rhetoric as if the corporations are going to take care of them or their communities. I still believe that the decision to deindustrialize the states of the MidWest by the 1% had a lot more to do with the decline of cities like Detroit than did greedy unions or the actions and inactions of Black misleadership class. I agree that new strategies which reflect the global nature of multi-nationals need to be created and implemented. I do not see weakening collective bargaining rights as a solution. I do not see making the Midwest more like Texas or Florida as a solution either.

I agree with your general premises as well

I would never want to see or live in a society where labor was helpless insofar as organizing against management.  My folks were Miss. sharecroppers who were able to raise a family decently because of union wages and benefits, and are now able to retire comfortably because of same.

Detroit is very unique and I point it out because of what I've seen up close and personal.  And we can't talk about Black Misleadership on the one hand and pretend it doesn't exist in the real world on the other.  I was simply suggesting that unions are steriods or growth hormones is equally unhealthy as no unions at all.    There is no doubt that globalization has gutted the US manufacturing and thus hollowed out the Rust/Farm Belt, or that White Flight has hurt Detroit, but poor leadership hasn't helped Detroit either.  And in fact has lead to Black Flight.

http://www.topix.com/forum/detroit/TRGTUBI3IUBMIJQP7 

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Detroiters/message/50090?var=1 

http://www.mlive.com/news/detroit/index.ssf/2012/11/reader_poll_is_fbis_raid_of_de.html 

NO EASY WAY FORWARD

I've witnessed unions in the airline industry becoming businesses which are often only good at collecting dues, and passing on edicts from the bosses as if the unions themselves were nothing more than another layer of management, one  which workers pay for. That said, my mother, aunts and uncles have personal experiences as youngsters of being in a generation that made the transition from the deadend stoop labor of the cotton belt to good union jobs in the auto industry "up North". You and I have seen the extremes of the union experience and the extremes of the non/anti- union experience. Whenever I hear some genius state with real conviction that "we wouldn't need unions if everyone just worked hard," I know that I am listening to a fool who has no clue about the real history of this county, and naively believes that left alone, corporations "will always do the right thing," or, that they don't have to do "the right thing" because they are corporations. I wish that I could have that silly person dropped suddenly, and without any warning, straight into the sharecropper or peonage labor experience of my ancestors and left there to struggle until they proved their thesis, or until they spent decades of their lives trying to do so. I wish that there were easy answers to the problems of weak, dysfunctional unions, powerful, rapacious, multinational corporations, and a defeated workforce with no sense of solidarity and no understanding of  of the benefits of building solidarity. History may not repeat itself, but we may experience some disturbing flashbacks in the coming decades.



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