Incentivize labor leaders’ pay

Paging through the salary listings for top labor leaders reminded me of an idea that Liza Featherstone and I came up with a while back: tie their pay to performance. It’s a scandal that these characters, who’ve presided over years of shrinkage in membership and political power, are nonetheless paid well into the six figures (putting them securely in the 1%, in other words). To take one egregious example, the president of the Laborers Union is paid almost $600,000 even though membership is down almost 30% over the last decade. So why… Read More

Wisconsin follow-up

Follow-up to yesterday’s post on the Wisconsin recall (“Walker’s victory, un-sugar-coated”). I’ve been amazed at some of the tendentious misreadings of the piece that have made the rounds, mainly from left labor people. My favorite is that I just wasn’t aware of all the door-knocking and retail campaigning that union forces were doing over the last few months. Two points about that. One, months isn’t enough. I’m talking about years of education, organization, occupying. Face-to-face talk, direct action, all manner of things. And two, all that actually existing door-knocking was subsumed to… Read More

Walker’s victory, un-sugar-coated

Democrats and labor types are coming up with a lot of excuses for Scott Walker’s victory in Wisconsin. Not all are worthless. But the excuse-making impulse should be beaten down with heavy sticks. Yes, money mattered. Enormous amounts of cash poured in, mainly from right-wing tycoons, to support Walker’s effort to snuff public employee unions. While these sorts of tycoons—outside the Wall Street/Fortune 500 establishment—have long been the funding base for right-wing politics, they seem to have grown in wealth, number, consciousness, and mobilization since their days funding the John Birch Society… Read More

New radio product

Just posted to my radio archive: August 27, 2011 Mark Brenner, director of Labor Notes, reflects on the state of labor as Labor Day approaches • Alexander Cockburn, occasional Nation columnist and co-editor of Counterpunch, on the media and the media criticism racket

More bad news for the Koch-heads

A Gallup/USA Today national poll also shows strong support for collective bargaining rights for public sector workers: 61% of respondents would oppose a law in their state similar to the one proposed by Gov. Walker.  Who knew?

Wisconsin poll: encouraging

Ok, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is a Democratic firm, and they did the poll for the AFL-CIO, but still, they’re reputable and smart and their findings are a pleasant surprise: 41% of Wisconsin voters approve of Gov. Scott Walker, and 51% disapprove, a gap of –10. Strongly approve less strongly disapprove is even worse for Walker, at –12. Walker’s net favorable of –10 is exactly reversed for the legislature’s Dems, who are 10 points in the positive column. Unions are even better liked: 53% favorable, 31% unfavorable, for a net of +22. The Tea… Read More

I want to live on their planet

This just in from the right-wing PR machine (quirky capitalization and word breaks in original): “President Obama has done more favors, more often, for organized labor than any other president, outpacing even FDR and Harry Truman in the lightning speed with which he has rushed to fulfill the union agenda. Calling Obama pro-union is putting it mildly.” Fred Barnes starts off his latest article in the weekly standard with that scorching comment. Despite not being able to convince Congress to rob workers of their right to a secret ballot, Obama continues to force… Read More

Demented press release of the day

This just in. Gosh, sometimes I wish I lived in their fantasy world… Plenty to be Thankful for… if you’re Big Labor Doug, Who has more for which to be thankful this year, small businesses or Big Labor? The failure of Big Labor to move it’s job-killing Employee ‘Forced’ Choice Act through Congress despite naming it a top agenda item is certainly on businesses’ list. Still, small businesses and workers are struggling to make ends meet as labor bosses continue to work to force unionization on workers to pocket union dues and… Read More

Strike wave!

There are many ways to measure the death of organized labor as a social force in the U.S. Here’s what might be the most objective one: the virtual disappearance of labor’s ultimate weapon, the strike. The graph above shows the annual number of major strikes, as tallied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (The front page for all their strike/lockout stats is here: Work Stoppages Home Page.) The figure for 2010 annualizes what we’ve experienced so far this year. The little uptick, from a total of 5 in 2009 to 20 in 2010,… Read More