But he still thinks that it’s time to drop the class struggle unionism (where’s that, anyway?) and enter into partnerships with employers—employers who want to see unions disappear. What a sad and silly man.
In the ’30s, people didn’t want us to exist. We had to do sit-down strikes and various other things. We had socialist and communist tendencies. We grew up, to speak in Marxist terms, in a world with a lot more class struggle. And there still obviously are differences between people, but it’s not viewed through that light anymore. There’s a difference between saying corporations can be greedy and Citizens United is a bad decision and real class struggle. We have this anti-employer, they’re going to kill us we need to kill them first, mentality. We’ve done a very bad job, for instance, making alliances with small businesses.
We need an ideology based around working with employers to build skills in our workers, to train them for success. That message and approach can attract different people than the “we need to stand up for the working class!” approach. That approach is about conflict, and a lot of people don’t want more conflict. I remember that the first contract I ever negotiated with the state of Pennsylvania, I said, “no contract, no work.” That’s what I thought you did. And now I wonder, what was that about? I was just copying an older culture.