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I thought I would repost this from yesterday since it fits well here—great article

See Listen Liberal by Thomas Frank.
Probably the main reason why the US, is so different from the Western European democracies

If the Democratic Party wasn’t bleeding support from white working-class voters in its old labor strongholds, it would dominate our national politics. Understandably, Democratic partisans often blame their powerlessness on such voters — and the regressive racial views that led them out of Team Blue’s tent. But as unions have declined across the Midwest, Democrats haven’t just been losing white, working-class voters to revanchist Republicans — they’ve also been losing them to quiet evenings at home. The NBER study cited by McElwee found that right-to-work laws reduce voter turnout in presidential elections by 2 to 3 percent.

Further, the notion that grassroots organizing cannot make a non-woke white man prioritize his class interests over his racial resentments — and thus, that the Democratic Party’s refusal to bolster the union organizing was irrelevant to its failure to fend off Trump — is unsupportable. In 2008, labor invested a quarter-billion dollars into Barack Obama’s election, allocating the bulk of those funds into burnishing the candidate’s support among union voters in the Midwest. That year, unionized white men backed Obama by an 18 percent margin; while nonunionized ones went for John McCain by 18.

If right-to-work laws alone cost Democrats roughly 3.5 percent of a given state’s vote share, how many votes has the party lost since 1978 by refusing to prioritize progressive labor reforms?


AFL-CIO responding to your linked story:


Organized Labor’s Growing Class Divide

Why have high-profile organizing campaigns succeeded for white-collar workers and failed for blue-collar workers?

Of course, white-collar workers still risk losing their jobs if a union forms—that’s what seems to have happened to 115 employees of DNAinfo and Gothamist, two websites owned by Joe Ricketts, a billionaire who founded TD Ameritrade, after 25 New York staff members voted to join the Writers Guild of America, East. But many of those employees have since found other jobs, and Peterson told me that the people who lost their jobs didn’t regret organizing. Heins told me that’s how he feels. “If forced into the same situation, I would do the same thing again,” he said. Heins said he and others knew the risks when they organized, especially when Ricketts, who is vocally anti-union, purchased Gothamist.

In contrast to Heins’ ability to find work after losing his job, many blue-collar workers can’t afford to risk such a change. They are more likely to be living paycheck to paycheck, and tend to have less savings because their salaries are lower in the first place. “People were really terrified that they were going to lose their job,” Robert Hathorn, a pro-union worker at Nissan in Mississippi, told the website Labor Notes in the aftermath of the UAW’s organizing loss in August.

But this was encouraging to read:

Today, 45 percent of Millennials think labor unions have a positive impact on the country, up from 32 percent in 2010, according to the Pew Research Center. That’s partly because Millennials are much more progressive than previous generations.


How the Labor Movement Is Thinking Ahead to a Post-Trump World

The American labor movement, over the past four decades, has had two golden opportunities to shift the balance of power between workers and bosses — first in 1978, with unified Democratic control of Washington, and again in 2009. Both times, the unions came close and fell short, leading, in no small part, to the precarious situation labor finds itself in today.

Just over 10 percent of workers are unionized, down from 35 percent in the mid 1950s. Potentially, though, a wave of Democratic victories in 2018 and 2020 could give labor groups one last chance to turn things around. With an eye toward that moment, labor’s leading strategists are coming together to build a program that avoids the mistakes of the last two rounds.

One consequence of failing to pass anything major on the federal level was a shift to state and local labor organizing — turning to city councils, legislatures, and ballot initiatives. The Fight for $15, for example, took off in 2012 and over the next five years, led to a wave of successful efforts to raise the minimum wage, pass fair scheduling bills, paid sick days, and paid family leave.

A lot of us looked at the Fight for $15 in the beginning and thought they were out of their minds,” said Jacobs. “But they ended up changing the whole debate, in part by going out with clear, bold demands everyone could understand.”

Larry Cohen, Our Revolution board chair and former president of the Communications Workers of America, said labor should aim higher, since no Republican would vote for any of the Better Deal ideas anyway.

I agree with Larry.

The lesson [from EFCA] is you don’t wait until the wave hits, you begin to work when times look tough,” added Bill Samuel, director of government affairs at AFL-CIO. “So we’ll begin drafting and introducing legislation, which we’ve done in terms of the WAGE Act, and we’re going to work on getting support from members and candidates.”

Unions should precondition endorsements for candidates on a commitment to support the WAGE Act, he added. “The lesson is get to work, regardless of the political environment you’re in, build support, awareness, and be ready.”

Also on the table is a bill called the Workplace Action for a Growing Economy Act, backed by the labor federation AFL-CIO. The WAGE Act would make it easier for workers to organize, stiffen penalties against employers who violate labor law, and give workers the right to file discrimination lawsuits if they’re punished for union activity

I’ve been hearing too much, “Vote us Dems in and then we’ll work on effecting positive change”, but I don’t think we have the time to wait that long. It makes sense to prepare now so that when the chance arrives we’re ready.

Not to mention that it would help get Dems voted in if they were shouting about the need for change NOW! Telling voters details of what they will do once they are in office to work for the people. Give them something tangible to vote for.

Now that Doug Jones in AL is 4 for 4 in voting with Republicans, for example, many voters will not be swayed merely with the Dem candidate saying he’s better than the Repub.

This is from a right-wing website:

So Far, Doug Jones Has Been a Reliable Republican Vote

(And I do not buy the argument that a Dem in a red state has to vote with Republicans to keep their job. If they’re just going to vote with Republicans, I don’t want them to keep their jobs anyway.)


“(And I do not buy the argument that a Dem in a red state has to vote with Republicans to keep their job. If they’re just going to vote with Republicans, I don’t want them to keep their jobs anyway.)”

No kidding. Just illuminates their vast disrespect for populist Dems. Like we believe a D after a name makes things better, even though they vote just like an R.


Hi mags! 🙂
Hope you having a peaceful Sunday am. I like the idea that you all are doing weekend posts on particular subjects. You labor, bebimbob science, etc. I get my news off blogs, now. The boob tube stuff isn’t worth watching. Anywho, thanks! T and R to the usual TPW suspects!!


Whoops! Sorry @la58, this was your post, not @mags’. Old age strikes again! Still, what I said about the weekend O/Ts highlighting particular topics, stands. 🙂


Thanks, la58! A big piece of the inequity problem.


lala, this article touches on a short discussion mags and I had a while ago, about how we need to raise all boats–don’t make anyone work in pesticide laden fields, pay a fair wage to immigrants and “natives” alike for work like child care, construction, cleaning, etc.

The Ties that Divide: How Bipartisan Identitarianism Works for the Boss and Against Citizen and Non-Citizen Workers
Bipartisan acceptance of skewed and dishonest terms of debate over immigration, trade, and labor dynamics lends itself to unbridgeable divides…

To acknowledge that undocumented and documented workers have a negative impact on the working conditions in the fields, killing-floors, and factories in which they are employed is to neither vilify nor scapegoat immigrants. To the contrary, for employers, the appeal of undocumented and documented workers respectively is little different from the foundations for slavery and Jim Crow. Undocumented workers are—much like slaves—workers without rights. Documented workers are—much like sharecroppers during the Jim Crow era—workers with titular rights that have been crafted via a “democratic process” that denies the workers themselves input. Consequently, the legal status of low-skilled documented workers in particular comes down to ensuring a ready supply of cheap, tractable labor. In other words, because documented workers are not covered by the same labor laws as American citizens, low-skilled documented workers—like black workers in the Jim Crow South—have no rights that matter.

So, while the refrain that immigrants “do the jobs that Americans don’t want” has served as the reflexive defense of documented and undocumented workers, this is a misleading claim. Immigrants aren’t doing jobs that Americans will not do. Undocumented and many documented laborers are, often enough, doing jobs that Americans are already doing, but refuse to do under the conditions that immigrant laborers are subjected to.

This reality is not a case for mass deportation. In fact, the obvious fix (even just from a logistical standpoint) for people who are already in the United States would be to fast track citizenship, since the extent to which undocumented and documented immigrants depress wages and working conditions in the lines of work in which they are employed is largely owed to the fact that they are not citizens—they are not covered by the same labor laws as the rest of us.

The absence of the reality that I describe above from liberal immigration discourse has helped to fuel two problems that we are living through right now.

First, Democratic reluctance to cop to the fact that undocumented and documented immigrant labor often depress the wages of American workers stokes the flames of resentment among some for whom lived experience—like those who work in residential construction—has left little doubt about non-citizen workers’ negative impact on wages and working conditions. Indeed, Democratic politicians would sooner accuse those Americans who are forced to compete with undocumented and documented labor of racism and xenophobia than to forthrightly state that the problem isn’t the immigrant workers, but it’s the employers who hire non-citizens to circumvent labor and safety laws. For some who are in the throes of an industry-specific race to the bottom, the Democratic reflex sounds callus, while President Trump’s racist, xenophobic, faux populist message sounds sympathetic. …