Re-posted from May 22, 2011 – a vote for Obama is a vote for Marxism.
The answer appears to be “yes”.
The recent “battle in the Badger State” between public sector unions and Governor Scott Walker has once again brought the roles of unions to the forefront. It also put union Marxist ideology and the hypocrisy of the Democrats and the mainstream media on full display.
Walker’s battle, the subsequent defection of Wisconsin Democratic legislators to neighboring states, the protests and the “sit-in” of the union members at the capitol in Madison were covered wall to wall for weeks on end. The narrative was built around the meme of “powerful, nasty Republicans out to break the lovable union that protects the poor teachers”. Democrats of all flavors jumped to the defense of the Wisconsin unioneers:
“Some of what I’ve heard coming out of Wisconsin, where they’re just making it harder for public employees to collectively bargain generally, seems like more of an assault on unions,” Obama told a Milwaukee television reporter on Thursday.
Ranking Member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., wasted no time.
“It is shameful to play politics with American workers and their families,” he said. Cummings cautioned Walker that lawmakers shouldn’t “attack” public employees, urging him to instead embrace them as the “engine and author of the American recovery.”
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, accused Walker of refusing to meet with union officials and demanded to know how requiring unions to hold annual membership votes would save Wisconsin any money. Walker acknowledged it wouldn’t have a direct affect on the state budget, but said it was part of the bigger picture: making sure employees are fully informed about how they will or won’t benefit if they opt for union representation.
Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said of Walker’s plan, “It appears very much to me – and to others – to be ideologically and politically motivated.”
After all the initial melodrama created by the unions and the media dissipated and Walker’s measures were passed, the Democrats and union bosses moved to strategies that they adopt when the will of the people doesn’t match their objectives – the judiciary:
The battle over Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s bill curbing bargaining rights for public-employee unions has moved to the state Supreme Court—on both legal and political fronts.
The legal case in front of the seven-member body will determine whether the Republican-controlled legislature violated open-meeting laws when it passed a bill that curtailed most collective-bargaining rights for public employees.
We now wait to hear the outcome from the Wisconsin Supreme Court; the hearing is set for June 6th.
The court asked both sides of a lawsuit challenging the bill to submit arguments by May 18 explaining why the justices should take the case and, at the same time, why it should either undo or uphold the lower court’s action. Oral arguments were set for June 6.
The hypocrisy in all of this is that liberal strongholds like Massachusetts have enacted measures similar to the Wisconsin laws. Governor Deval Patrick of Massachusetts actually was a key speaker at a Wisconsin Democratic Party event on April 30th, the announcement of which contained this jewel:
“The featured speaker will be Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick who, unlike Walker, has used negotiation and compromise as a way to solve his state’s budget challenges, without putting education, health and infrastructure at risk.’’
The vote tally in the Democrat heavy Massachusetts House? It was 113 to 42 to allow the Commonwealth’s Cities and Towns to change co-pays and deductibles on Union contracts in order to avoid layoffs.
Beyond today’s “gotcha” culture and biased media, there is a bigger question that must be asked is this – are unions relevant in today’s economy?
The question has been asked about the public sector unions. My opinion is like that of the liberal icon, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Roosevelt was a strong proponent of unions in the private sector but his position on public sector unions was quite different. In 1937, FDR was quoted as saying:
“Meticulous attention should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.”
“[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”
Without question, it is an intolerable situation to have two entities, government and unions, negotiating over compensation provided by a third party, the taxpayer. I agree with FDR in that there is no possible way to translate collective bargaining into the public sphere but with the incursion of government into the private sphere, is that also true with private sector union negotiation in general?
The role of a union is ostensibly to “protect” the worker, to utilize the combined power of the workforce to the betterment of all; however, with the marriage of liberal politicians and union leadership, the result has been a very effective long term process of enshrining union philosophies and interests in federal and state labor laws. Things like the minimum wage, universal health care (the Affordable Care Act) and participation in business decisions (NLRB ruling on Boeing’s new South Carolina facility) are examples of union positions that are now enshrined as either law or governmental agency policy.
The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) handles large disputes, we have a Department of Labor that sets working standards, Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) promulgates workplace safety requirements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) monitors workplace compliance to anti-discriminatory regulations in both private and public sector employment. There are currently 30 separate agencies, boards, bureaus and offices in the US Department of Labor alone, with innumerable committees and interrelated other joint rule making bodies. Federal labor law is enshrined in Title 29 of the US Code and runs for 31 chapters and thousands of pages.
Due to the success of the union movement integrating itself into the Democratic Party, its legislative success has actually eliminated much of its direct role in “protecting” the worker.
So what is the purpose of today’s union movement?
Today’s union organizations are incubators for socialist and Marxist ideology. Far from the “protection” of workers, the new unionist agenda is that of political activism and working to take control over the businesses and governments where they exist. The power play in Wisconsin is illustrative of this. The list of co-protesters in Madison reads like a “Who’s Who” of socialist activism – Maoist Revolutionary Communist Party, the Communist Party USA, Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party and the Democratic Socialists of America, the Midwest Academy, Moving Wisconsin Forward, Citizen Action of Wisconsin, Veterans for Peace, the AFL-CIO, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the Workers World Party. These groups all are tied to names like Marx, Saul Alinsky, Heather Booth and John Sweeney.
Sweeney is known as the most significant leader of the AFL-CIO but as activist and author Joel Kotkin, a fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, observed how Sweeney brought communists into his union leadership.
“The public-sector unions have pushed the entire labor movement to the left,” he said. “The [SEIU] has embraced organizations with a New Left origin, such as ACORN and Cleveland’s Nine to Five, and has even set up its own gay and lesbian caucus. … The rise of these unions led to the elevation of SEIU’s boss, John Sweeney, to head of the labor federation.
“No George Meaney-style bread-and-butter unionist, Sweeney is an advocate of European-style democratic socialism,” said Kotkin. “He has opened the AFL-CIO to participation by delegates openly linked to the Communist Party, which enthusiastically backed his ascent. The U.S. Communist Party [CPUSA] says it is now ‘in complete accord’ with the AFL-CIO’s program. ‘The radical shift in both leadership and policy is a very positive, even historic change,’ wrote CPUSA National Chairman Gus Hall in 1996 after the AFL-CIO convention.”
As far as business control, take GM and Chrysler as the jewels in the union crown. According to the New York Times in June of 2009:
With the union’s health fund set to own 17.5 percent of G.M.’s shares and 55 percent of Chrysler’s, the U.A.W. will both represent workers and be an owner, a novel dual role.
Between the US federal government and the UAW, their ownership stake accounted to 89% of GM – the government was mandated to sell off their shares, the UAW wasn’t.
Another example of a private industry takeover that got little press was the takeover of the student loan business from SallieMae. SallieMae is a private company who saw their business ended as part of the health care “reform” bill. 700 jobs were lost immediately following the passage of the bill in Lynn Haven, a city adjoining my former location of Panama City, Florida. Who benefitted from this government takeover? The largest, fastest growing public sector union, the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).
The NLRB is looking for the union label as well. In a decision ripped from the pages of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, they just found against Boeing in an unbelievably biased ruling that provides naked and outright support for unions:
In 2009 Boeing announced plans to build a new plant to meet demand for its new 787 Dreamliner. Though its union contract didn’t require it, Boeing executives negotiated with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers to build the plane at its existing plant in Washington state. The talks broke down because the union wanted, among other things, a seat on Boeing’s board and a promise that Boeing would build all future airplanes in Puget Sound.
So Boeing management did what it judged to be best for its shareholders and customers and looked elsewhere. In October 2009, the company settled on South Carolina, which, like the 21 other right-to-work states, has friendlier labor laws than Washington. As Boeing chief Jim McNerney noted on a conference call at the time, the company couldn’t have “strikes happening every three to four years.” The union has shut down Boeing’s commercial aircraft production line four times since 1989, and a 58-day strike in 2008 cost the company $1.8 billion.
This reasonable business decision created more than 1,000 jobs and has brought around $2 billion of investment to South Carolina. The aerospace workers in Puget Sound remain among the best paid in America, but the union nonetheless asked the NLRB to stop Boeing’s plans before the company starts to assemble planes in North Charleston this July.
The NLRB obliged with its complaint yesterday asking an administrative law judge to stop Boeing’s South Carolina production because its executives had cited the risk of strikes as a reason for the move. Boeing acted out of “anti-union animus,” says the complaint by acting general counsel Lafe Solomon, and its decision to move had the effect of “discouraging membership in a labor organization” and thus violates federal law.
When they aren’t colluding with their friends in government to take over businesses, they are organizing political support and issuing threats for Democrats to toe the socialist line.
AFL-CIO union boss Richard Trumka issued a threat to Democrats nationwide at the National Press Club on Friday, calling on them to support his and other unions or face losing their support.
“We will spend the summer holding elected leaders in Congress as well as the states accountable on one measure: Are they improving or degrading life for working families? We are looking hard at how we work in the nation’s political arena,” Trumka said, according to prepared remarks. “We have listened hard, and what workers want is an independent labor movement that builds the power of working people – in the workplace and in political life.”
Trumka went even further than just saying he’ll hold elected leaders accountable. He said Democrats may be “controlling the wrecking ball” that’s crippling unions, too, and that he plans to stand up to either party.
“It doesn’t matter if candidates and parties are controlling the wrecking ball or simply standing aside – the outcome is the same either way,” Trumka said. “If leaders aren’t blocking the wrecking ball and advancing working families’ interests, working people will not support them. This is where our focus will be – now, in 2012 and beyond.”
Unions have become nothing but wings of an overall Marxist movement. They are the modern incubators for socialism, Marxism and communism, one cloaked in the legitimate historical role that they once played. They are not organized for the benefit of the American worker in a free enterprise system; they are political organizations seeking the end of free enterprise via socialism and Marxism.