“Let’s not just reorganize, let’s re-brand, dammit.”

I’d like to go refreshingly off-topic for a moment and point you all to an excellent column by political strategist Dan Carol, “Rebuilding Labor.” Written as an open letter to national SEIU President Andy Stern, Dan shows once again why he is one of the most creative strategic minds in progressive politics.

Dan isn’t just talking about rebuilding labor. He wants to re-brand it.

No, I am not weighing in with any thoughts on the internal “future of the labor movement” debate roiling on in Vegas next week. You think I am crazy? That’s not my gig.

But I did want to flag some emerging, massive opportunities that SEIU, and all unions, can capture in areas that aren’t traditionally the province of labor.

I’m talking about building the union halls, community centers and even the malls of the 21st century.

Because right now, as you well know, Wal-Mart is winning.

Dan delivers the bad news (at least to unions) that with a growing “freelance economy” of some 10 million independent workers and 25 million part-timers, the workplace is no longer a central gathering place. He warns that unions will continue to shrink in size and influence, unless they stretch beyond their traditional vision of workplace organizing and better benefits.

Dan argues that labor needs to reach out to “non-traditional” audiences and start talking about more than just the need for workers to organize, but about education and child care and other pressing issues. How?

I’m talking about the appeal of Apple’s iPod stores.

I’m talking about creating places for mixing together

Comments

  1. 1

    chardonnay spews:

    “”We offer a hand out to new parents, from L.A. to Louisiana, with support services. And then grow a trusted relationship with thankful parents from there. We can’t rush these conversations until they’re ripe.””
    RIPE? Rush the Manipulations you mean? You people are scary. Leave innocent people alone you vultures. Ya, go ahead and hit up Costco, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Oprah Inc. See how far you get. There is a reason why these successful companies play democrats. We pretend we are liberal, the dems leave us alone. In other words, a little campaign contribution goes a very long way, until now.

  2. 2

    Mark spews:

    Re-Branding Labor?

    Yeah. That’s about all that would be different — the name. All they’re talking about is the same old strikes and boycotts of non-union shops, but cloaked in a much more warm and fuzzy rationale and handled in the back room. Strong-arm tactics to support a system of patronage vs. performance & meritocracy.

  3. 4

    swatter spews:

    Too idealistic!! Too much of build up the unions for unions’ sake instead of the people.

    Speaking of people, this is a Planet Earth economic war we are in and if these people continue to take the myopic view of the world- i.e. protect the union- the United States of America loses.

  4. 5

    Mark spews:

    People who benefit from unions: the “bosses,” the friends & relatives of the bosses, the politicians the bosses want elected, workers who prefer to “work to rule” instead of do their best

    People who suffer from unions: workers whose abilities and determination exceeds their seniority; the companies who hire workers in the first place and keep the economy going; consumers who have to pay for inefficiencies resulting from the union labor system; AND… union workers who will continue to see their jobs shipped overseas because of shortsighted, greedy and power-mad union bosses.

  5. 6

    Don spews:

    It appears you guys want to live in a world where 95% of the people have to work for whatever pay and working conditions the other 5% feel like giving them. How do you justify that? More to that point, without organized labor to balance management’s power, what will keep workers from getting fed up and overthrowing the capitalist system, as nearly happened in the 1930s? Unions not only provide a fairer and safer workplace, and better standard of living, for workers but also protect capitalism from its own excesses.

  6. 7

    chardonnay spews:

    I went to the brand new beautiful WalMart in Covington where they employ 300+ people. As I was walking in I noticed an old jalopy car pull in with a Kerry/Edwards bumper sticker with “teamsters support” written on it. Now here this poor guy works for a union and obvioulsy can’t afford a decent car all the while voting blindly for the a couple of the two richest democrats in the country. One a fake onestitch hero the other an adulterous trial snake. This is where the unions take you? The lavish life of the Union job? Now that is an incentive.

  7. 8

    Mark spews:

    Don, what is your favorite Kool-Aid flavor?

    The reason the unions are having to switch tactics is that they are becoming less and less relevant and are, in fact, detrimental to the operation of a small business. But do they care about that? No. They’d rather force some guy with a 35-person company to keep an overpaid slacker on salary because it is easier and cheaper than going up against union lawyers and striking thugs.

    From the US Dept. of Labor: “According to the 1997 report of the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation’s 17 million small, non-farm businesses constituted 99.7 per cent of all employers, employed 52 percent of private workforce and accounted for 51 percent of the nation’s sales. Small business-dominated industries provided 11.1 million new jobs between 1994 and 1998, virtually all of the new jobs created during that time period. Small businesses are most likely to generate jobs for young workers, older workers and women, provide 67 percent of first jobs and produce 55 percent of innovations.”

    Hmmm… I seem to recall that unions use that last line as a selling point, but it seems that small, NON-UNION businesses do a better job of it.

  8. 9

    Mark spews:

    Correction to the last line of my post @ 8. Unions want nothing to do with innovation. Sorry for the misrepresentation.

  9. 10

    John spews:

    chard @ 7

    I went to the brand new beautiful WalMart in Covington

    [cue music]

    Yes, chard I love the sight of a full Walmart parking lot in the morning.

    Today I think I’ll quit my union job and put in my application there. If they hire me and offer to pay 8 and a half per hour I’ll say oh that’s too much – it’s a privilege to work at “heaven on earth” for half the rate.

    Every morning I’ll sing the company song and greet my customers with a smile, the huge shelves stocked with the latest imports from China, paid for with money we borrowed from China. When I drive home from work through downtown Covington and see yet another downtown merchant having a “business closing” sale, I’ll grin to myself and think: “We sure got ya. It was just a matter of time.”

    Yes, chard, it will indeed be morning in America.

  10. 11

    marks spews:

    Mark @ 5

    Completely agree with your characterizations. I would not be the senior engineer at my firm now if I had to wait for the two other higher-tenure engineers to die…

  11. 12

    Goldy spews:

    Okay, righties, I get it… you hate unions. Fine, this post ain’t for you.

    This is about creative, market-driven ways for progressive organizations to share their vision and achieve their agenda. It’s about process.

  12. 13

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 12

    “This is about creative, market-driven ways for progressive organizations to share their vision and achieve their agenda. It’s about process.”

    Does that mean you’ll be treating us to an essay on Goebbels in the near future? ;)

  13. 14

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 12

    BTW, I think I finally know how you Lefties feel about the Right taking the word “liberal” and making it a bad thing. You’ve done the same thing to the formerly-wonderful word “progressive.”

  14. 15

    JCH spews:

    Don: Union hack “guvment” idiot. Your post #6 has to be your all time idiot low. [The only reason YOU are ina union in the public sector is to ensure your job security. No one can EVER get rid of Don!!]

  15. 16

    dumdum spews:

    none of you know much about unions, is all we’ve been shown here.
    and char, that story was funny the first 25 times you posted it on other sites.

  16. 17

    Mark spews:

    Dumdum @ 16

    “none of you know much about unions”

    I presume you’re talking about the pro-union lefties. My info comes from hard statistics (see #8) or from people I know who have been in unions.

    If you disagree, why don’t you enlighten us all about the benefits of Big Labor’s 5 Year Plan?

    It is amazing how everyone totally misses the fact that the proposals referenced in the original post sound a lot like a modern-day kolhoz — where the noble workers of the world can meet in fellowship and bask in the benevolence of the powerful defenders of the proletariat.

  17. 18

    chardonnay spews:

    ya ya ya, i had a union job years ago. we had the typical old hag that stirred up trouble with the management. Pitting employees against management, going around telling us not to work so fast or hard. I ignored the old woman and worked harder. The others in her court called in sick constantly, worked as slow as possible just to piss of management. How mature!
    The unions create a false impression of the management. Not all managers are bad, DON. You are constantly putting everyone into one group. I have worked in the private sector all my life. There are differences in the way people work. If you worked hard in school and furthered your education you will be able to get a better paying job than perhaps the guy who skipped and failed tests and dropped out of high school.

    So, Don, what you are saying then is this: you are an attorney and make $xx/hr, should the paralegal also make $xx/hr? After all you are much more superior to a mear paralegal right? The fact is even in Govn’t there are pay scales and supervisors, managers bla bla bla. But because you are union it is different than a privately owned company that is non-union?
    The union really protects you from what, in the AGO you think no one was discriminated against or passed up for a deserved promotion? Where you work now, do you think someone is not treated differently by arrogant attorneys? I think we all know the answer.

    and dumdum, I see you don’t post anything of substance on this site either. where are your links-a-plenty?

  18. 19

    dpk spews:

    You work 8 hours a day – thank the Labor movement

    You get paid overtime – thank the Labor movement

    You get paid vacation and holidays off – the Labor movement

    You have benefits at work – thank the Labor movement

    You still have a job to come back to if you get hurt or sick – thank the Labor movement.

    I do think the unions and organized labor needs to reform to the demands and realities of the new economy, but if you work today, you owe the labor movement a debt of gratitude for the decent, safe, and healthy working condition you enjoy and take for granted.

  19. 20

    spews:

    Dan’s insight — that there needs to be a new populist/progressive civic infrastructure — is a good one. But I don’t think there’s any chance that Labor can or will be the agent to fulfill this vision. I strongly suspect that this has to be a new movement that will build its own institutions.

  20. 21

    JCH spews:

    DPK….Sorry……No union signs my check. Never has, and never will. I’m paid because I’m valuable. You are paid because you are union. Get the difference?

  21. 22

    g-love spews:

    This SEIU guy is trying to re-envision what a relevant organization of people working in common cause for mutual benefit would look like. Hey wingers, OK, we get it. unions aren’t working for people right now. Why do you think this guy wrote the fucking article? Do you boot-strappers really think the guy in the beat up car would do better outside a union? If he was working for you, you’d probably pay him shit and then fire his ass for not figuring out how to get himself into a better car.

    The thing that is so fucked up about your point of view is that you don’t give a damn about the people with no boots straps to pull on, you know? You absolutely couldn’t give a flying fuck about them. And you sit there is your comfy house or slacking off at your job (hypocrites) and poke away on your PCs and spew bile all day. We’ll here’s a little back at you. You hate weakness. You hate the poor. You hate all the things and people that try to help the weak and the poor. And then, the kicker, the cherry on top of the fucking hypocrisy pie, you parade around in your god-damned Christian born-again self-righteousness and pretend that God said you deserved it because you were able to fuck over God-knows-who to get what you’ve got.

    Well, fuck you. What goes around comes around. You people are on top now, but it’s not going to last, and when we pull the fucking pendulum back in our direction, you will get what you truly deserve.

  22. 23

    Mark spews:

    dpk @ 19

    We are SO past the Industrial Revolution. Big Labor needs to quit resting on those laurels. They’ve been squashed flat.

    The theory of a labor union is not what they really are. Labor unions are now just another big business trying to line up additional revenue streams and political influence for their leadership. Just to back up my thoughts, I did a few quick Google searches. What did I find? Local union bosses making a quarter-million dollars a year. Hmmm… can you say exec salary?? Even your brethren, the Socialists, say that workers should unite independent of the union bosses.

    Unions don’t create jobs (besides the guy that leans on the mop or the mandatory “supervisor” on every project). ENTREPRENEURS create jobs. People that stick their own necks out (without your aforementioned benefits) and try to make something.

    Unions are perfect for those who hated the smart kids in school because they shifted the grade curve.

  23. 24

    Mark spews:

    g-love @ 22

    The guy wrote the article because the “business” of unions isn’t working and, like any other corporation, they need to find new revenue streams (via membership) or they’ll have to start cutting those precious executive jobs.

    As for us “boot-strappers” slacking off, I need to explain a major difference between us and union workers. We get paid for a job to be done, not how many hours are on our punch cards.

  24. 25

    Goldy spews:

    Jon @20,

    I somewhat agree, in that I’m not confident that labor can be the agent of such change, but they are the ones with the infrastructure and capital that could do it most easily. But I thought Dan’s column would be of interest to the progressive community as a whole.

  25. 27

    G Davis spews:

    Gosh…quite a display in here. :(

    I don’t agree with the delivery, but I agree with g-love’s sentiment about the extreme displays I see here a lot. It’s really counterproductive to paint everything in such black and white starkness. There are many grades of grey in society that simply don’t fit in one or the other molds you know.

    To the subject, I liked the article Goldy referenced. It gives me hope that labor folks are maybe beginning to think out side their past thought processes.

    I am not a union fan. At least the old style, big labor unions. I do however believe that the workforce needs some sort of advocacy method as many of it’s needs are simply going by the wayside in the current big corporate wave.

    The idea of opening worker centers where folks can find safe, affordable daycare for their children, real world job training for themselves sounds like a fine idea to me. The good old boy WASP corporate network certainly isn’t going to provide those things for workers.

    You extreme folks in this room need to remember there is the professional workforce but there’s also the grunt labor workforce. All the trades are somehow forgotten in this white collar rush to glory. Who’s going to answer their needs?

    It would benefit all of us greatly if some of you would open your tiny little worlds a tad and see what other factions of the populace have to say. Disagree, debate, great! But geesh Louise the correct answer for your life is not going to fit handily for everyone else’s life.

    There is a huge portion of our populace who don’t have health care, don’t have the resources to retrain themselves, don’t own million dollar buildings and a house, can’t afford another car besides the beat up old one that someone else plastered with bumper stickers.

    You insist on ignoring that sector of society and the rapid rate at which it’s growing and it may come back to bite you.

    A healthy, unworried about where their children are workforce is good for all of us. It might do for all of us to throw out the old perceptions and brainstorm some new solutions to the same old problems.

  26. 28

    dan spews:

    G love at 27.
    Beautifully spoken. but as usual these righties can not see the forest from the trees. they look at their world, and say if I can make it EVERYONE can make it. Pretty Black and White. They trash people for doing the Labor on which they built the fortunes, and rely on everyday to keep it. yet when it comes to paying taxes to have this life, they scream so loud about why me? I pay more than the guy at WalMart, and he lives in this town too. No wonder these guys love Tim Eyman, all he has to do is say less taxes and they jump on, not knowing or caring what or who might be affected. They do not understand that there are unfortunate people in this world, and the sign of a great soceity is to take care of those who can not take care of themselves. The saddest thing about it is that if you help bring up the poor, it would make their lives better as well. Less Crime, Higher wages to fuel the economy, better education, a healthy soceity for the cycle to continue….but no…it’s all about me with these folks.

  27. 29

    g-love spews:

    G Davis, I’m sorry if that was a bit harsh. We’ve been civil, and then been attacked with such virulent personal hatred that’s kind of hard to fathom (see JCH @15 for just a taste ). So we can sit idly by and look for grey areas while the wingers bluster and bray their way towards the destruction of American liberal democracy, or we can call them on their bullshit. These guys are calling for the death of liberals. Tune into KVI sometime and listen up. They don’t respect us. They think we are weak. They would like nothing better than to kick us when we are down. They think they can steal this governor’s race by being loud and obnoxious. They respect only winning and power. They are sore losers. They don’t know how to put together a cogent argument, and don’t care. They are actually quite bitter and small and afraid, and they are just trying to cover it up with all the noise. If they weren’t so fucking hostile, one might actually take pity on them. But for now, fuck ‘em. They can have it with both barrels. I’m not going down without a fight.

  28. 30

    dan spews:

    sorry that was for G davis.
    But JCH Lt Dan @ 21 I left you a special post in a previous Blog.

  29. 32

    dumdum spews:

    Washington is among the 28 states that have no “Right-to-Work” law.

    These laws ban collectively bargained union-security agreements that require workers to pay for union representation. In other words, in “Right-to-Work” states, workers cannot negotiate contract provisions insisting all employees covered under that contract join the union (referred to as a “union shop.”)

    According to a 1977 U.S. Supreme Court decision: “A union shop arrangement has been thought to distribute fairly the cost of these (representative) activities among those who benefit, and it counteracts the incentive that employees might otherwise have to become ‘free riders’ — to refuse to contribute to the union while obtaining benefits of union representation that necessarily accrue to all employees.”

    The idea is that everyone benefits from the contract and its protections, so everyone should pay their fair share of the costs of union representation.

    LABOR’S POSITION — Proponents of right-to-work laws say no one should be “forced” to join a union and that they are defending workers’ rights to get a job. As with all other parts of a contract, union security agreements must be approved by the workers and employer. If the majority of workers don’t want a “union shop,” they won’t ask for it.

    Right-to-work is plain-and-simple union-busting. It is designed to encourage “free riders,” and to weaken or destroy unions. And that’s exactly what it has accomplished in the states that have these laws. Worst of all, it has translated into lower wages and benefits, a diminished standard of living and substandard legal protections for workers in right-to-work states.

    But proponents of right-to-work don’t care about that, their goal is to harm unions. For example, the Building Industry Association of Washington has threatened to file a right-to-work initiative in 2005 and freely admits it would be in retaliation for labor’s advocacy on an unrelated workers’ compensation issue. This would be an initiative clearly motivated by anti-union sentiment and not concern for worker rights.

    The labor movement in Washington state will aggressively fight any attempt to pass right-to-work in this state. If the BIAW follows through with its threat, this state will witness an unprecedented mobilization of working people who understand and oppose right-to-work.

    We are living in an era of little or no job security, relatively stagnant wages, diminishing benefits, and a startling increase in temporary, low-wage and no-benefit jobs. We should be strengthening workers’ ability to organize unions, not discouraging and busting them.

    None of the 22 right-to-work states have an average annual pay level above the national average. When wages fall, state tax revenues fall — that means less funding for education, transportation and other vital programs. That’s why right-to-work is bad not just for union members, but for everyone.

  30. 33

    Mark spews:

    Dumdum @ 32

    Typical Kool-Aid swilling, talking points-spewing union flunky. If you’re going to post, at least don’t resort to PLAGIARISM. You posted a Big Labor article VERBATIM without even hinting at the author. But, then again, you likely collect a paycheck that is more the result of others’ labor than your own, too.

    Have an original thought, will you?

  31. 35

    G Davis spews:

    LOL..I guess the overall point got lost in all the backbiting.

    What I see when I come to rooms like this is right and wrong. A bright line drawn over which neither side will drift.

    That’s part of the appeal for rooms like this, forums that collect like minds and call for bans of anyone who doesn’t preach to/with the choir. It’s something we all crave…having a place where everyone knows our name, where we’re safe to spill our fears and loathings.

    But the biggest drawback of these sorts of perpetuations is that NO ONE on the other side of the bright line has anything worthy of consideration. It’s helping to cement an already polarized nation into our own respective corners.

    It is my ever so humble opinion that we seriously need to make every effort possible to restart conversation with each other. Forget all the leaders of all the respective interests and get back to finding some sort of common ground from which to rebuild what I see as a crumbling nation.

    I don’t mean to be a downer or dive way to far into the deep end of seriousness. I take great delight in ripping folks new ones on occassion simply to relieve aggression… ;) I particularly like coming to this room as Goldy does present himself with his tongue firmly implanted cheekwise while not backing down from his heartfelt truth. He also doesn’t ban, even though some seriously warrant it. Different voices are desperately needed if the conversation is to produce any sort of real fruit.

    I also don’t want to lecture. But last night after spending the day hanging ceiling sheetrock, I was tired and cranky. The dear daughter was giving me crap. I had visited a couple other rooms I read and saw all make of bitter partisan vitriol, then come in here to find purely nonsensical pissing matches.

    It gets old.

    I feel better this morning. ;) I’d also propose that if someone posts complete nonsense, ignore them and engage those of opposite views in real conversation. The couple of true trolls from both sides will soon get bored and either drop the shtick or move on.

    Labor is fundamental to the US no matter if it’s organized or not. All the professionals would find themselves in a pretty pickle if there was no one to make their widgets, fix their car, unplug their drains, mow their lawns, care for their children, clear their restraunt tables, park their cars, hang their freakin’ sheetrock.

    It is incumbent on the professional workforce to acknowledge and work with labor to ensure their safety, health and well being. To ignore that is to guarantee the labor force with eventually organize themselves and start demanding same. Then we’re back where we are now with two completely disfunctional, noncommunicative sides batting heads.

    It’s so simple it’s hard.

    So how about that day care, health care, real life job training center for the mass of workers that are being unceremoniously cut out of the system we have today? Got any ideas how it could work? ;)

  32. 36

    Goldy spews:

    Dumdum @32, Mark @33,

    Mark… get ahold of yourself. It wasn’t “plagiarism”, he was clearly posting a statement from some union organization. Try being a little more polite to first time offenders.

    That said… Dumdum… please provide a link to what you just quoted, and in the future, selectively blockquote, and provide a link to the original article. I do not want these threads to become cluttered with by people embedding entire news articles into their comments. I need to keep the same rules for both sides of the aisle.

  33. 37

    dan spews:

    G davis @ 35

    This is the second time, that I have enjoyed your post, I hope you stay here with your thoughtfulness and reason. But you need to take a look at the posts, and notice who always starts out with..”Jane you ignorant slut”..recourse. it is not us who are trying to make our point..but the Trolls. However I did get so fed up last night I went after LT. JCH Dan…and it felt pretty good….we keep saying we are above, but it’s getting harder everyday.
    Thanks again for your posts.

  34. 38

    G Davis spews:

    Dan I don’t disagree with you. But don’t you find yourself like I do continually forwarding my ideals and shutting out others?

    I think we all need to start listening as well as advocating. And as the enlightened side (just kidding you righties) we should take the higher road and get the ball rolling, don’t ya think?

    I’m off my soapbox now… ;0 … who wants a new one ripped??

  35. 39

    swatter spews:

    Don, I don’t know how in high heaven you can take a statement that says the unions aren’t currently doing any good for their workers and say I am “anti-union”.

    What, pray tell, have the unions ever done recently to justify their huge dues? Initially, they were good, but until they reinvent themselves, they are dinosaurs (as compared to Dino-saurs)

  36. 40

    Mark spews:

    Goldy @ 36

    Hmmmmph. Awwriiight, dad. I won’t be so mean next time. ;) But, but, but… by strict definition, it was plagiarism — to use another’s words without crediting the source. And it isn’t like dumdum is a blog virgin or shrinking violet.

  37. 41

    chardonnay spews:

    The guy in the beat up car would make more money working for me because I would teach him how to advance him/herself. If he were an excellent worker, I would pay him well and promote him.
    We do care about people, very much. Several Private organizations help the downtrodden. Please understand that so many people just refuse to improve their lives. By merely looking at a person walking down the street, you cannot tell whether that person is a millionaire or poor. I have known several “rich” people that live very modestly and did not get rich by owning a big corp. or any business. They saved their money from their post office job or union job or spent wisely. I knew a guy that bought 1 house from the airport, moved it on his small lot, rented it out. He did it a second time. He is in his 90’s now and is a millionaire. The guy was tight with his money. Get that “HIS” money.
    the dues you pay each month goes to the big union exec paycheck and to politicians campaigns.
    Microsoft is not union & they have how many millionaires? If working at Wal-Mart does not work for you, go work somewhere else. Take a computer class, take a basic office skills class. It is very possible to start @ entry level and be promoted, and promoted and promoted. It really does happen everyday.
    No one claims to be more superior to anyone else. I got where I am thru my own hard work and employers that recognized that. I had better offers from other companies and I jumped at the opportunities. Could I have done that in a union job? Not when you pit employees against management.

  38. 42

    G Davis spews:

    Swatter @ 39, chardonnay @ 41…do you not get that the article Goldy posted was about labor taking a long look at itself and understanding that it needs to do it’s part as well?

    It gives me hope that some at least in the labor environs are taking the first steps. I would think folks like y’all would encourage that rather than shrug it off.

    And chardonnay, you are correct…hard work does can get rewarded…it can also get taken for granted. There are many out there who are good, hard working souls stuck in systems that don’t allow for advancement. Until you recognize that what happened to you is one example and that many others exist contrary to your experience, you’ll remain locked in your own myopic world with little appreciation for what’s happening to others.

    Let me ask you this…do you have children? Is anyone sick in your household? Anyone make any bad decisions at any point in their lives that caused legal trouble or addiction?

    For every one of your friends who bought a house and built on it, there’s a family where the kids are forced to work at a young age to help support the core family. For every one of your old buddies fortunes there are tales of misfortunes out of folks personal control.

    It’s a wild wooly world out there. Bad things happen to good people. People get held down for reasons beyond their control.

    And take it from an oldster…it was a hell of a lot easier to do what your friend did back when he did it than it is now. Good for him. Let’s see if we can open avenues of real life job/life experience to others so they can go after their own personal gold ring, ok?

  39. 43

    Don spews:

    swatter @ 39

    You ask me what modern unions are good for. I know the answer to this because my wife is a shop steward, and being a lawyer, I’ve often helped her draft grievance filings. She spends her time as a shop steward defending her co-workers against racial discrimination in hiring, promotion, and layoffs; against lying supervisors trying to blame their mistakes on subordinates; against greedy managements denying the workers raises so they can give themselves bigger raises (no, this is not a private business where they’ve taken risks with their own money, this is a public agency and it’s taxpayer money the greedy managers are lining their own pockets with); and so on.

    I believe in unions because they created the middle class in this country. Sure, there have been excesses — crooked union bosses, undemocratically run unions, abuse of union members, etc. But there sure as hell have been abuses on the management side, too — crooked CEOs, lying CFOs, abuse of employees and shareholders, etc. Without unions, there would be no balance of power between management and labor, and then managements would run amok even worse than they already do.

    Most unions do a decent, if not better, job of representing their members in grievance disputes and securing for them middle-class pay and benefits (like health insurance, which right-wingers like to consider as optional). Most union members work pretty damned hard and do a pretty damned good job for their employers. Nobody likes to go on strike, but when management “tests” employees to see how much management can get away with, what other option do the workers have? And how many times have managements deliberately provoked strikes simply because they wanted an excuse to shut down the factory or maybe just had a bee up their ass?

    Union labor built America. Unions created America’s middle class. Unions made workplaces safer and fairer. If you don’t want to belong to a union, go work for Wal-Mart for 8 1/2 dollars per hour and no health benefits.

    char @ 41

    Was that guy in the Wal-Mart parking lot Sam Walton in his beat-up pickup truck? (Actually, Sam wasn’t such a bad guy, the problem is he’s dead, and his kids are jerks.)

  40. 44

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    Don–
    Hey, the union got you 60% of your average HIGHEST consecutive 24 months salary….per month for the rest of your miserable, pathetic life at OUR EXPENSE>
    Don, you claimed in a prior post that 100% of your pension benefits under PERS1 were from withholding from your paycheck. That is a flatout LIE!!!! The State also contributed handsomely and you know it!! You are a liar who can rationalize your rip-off of the taxpayers….AND YOU WANT MORE!!
    I know all about PERS1 DON. You are a misleading liar!!

  41. 45

    Aaron spews:

    Don’t bother with the computer class and the application to MS unless you’ve got a graduate degree from “off shore” and are prepared to compete with peers that are living here for a short while before returning to a far less expensive economy. This means you’ll probably live in a cramped apartment with a bunch of other “residents”.

    Seriously, MS is not making many people rich these days, that boat has left the shore. There’s still some reasonable gigs to be had, but it sure does come in a mixed bag these days.

    Most businesses have the unions they deserve. More are heading towards deserving a union than away from that these days…

  42. 46

    chardonnay spews:

    unions didn’t do crap for my dad when he had his accident on the job and couldn’t work due to a skull fracture. the union did nothing when he tried to just retire and collect his pension. My father had to hire himself an attorney to get his full pension he worked all his life for, thru teamsters. He finally got it but had to pay the attorney a ton of money. where wee the teamsters attorney’s fighting for him on his behalf? after -40- years of paying Union dues. can’t trust em.

    and g davis @ 42-
    I am a single mom, made my own way with help from no one, bought my own house, my own car, raised my 3 kids all by myself, working all the while, paying expensive day care every month, going to court for child support which took 2 years to get. the jerk who still does not pay & owes me 25k. when I had to have surgery and i was out for weeks, I was paid full salary. not all corps are evil & people can make it on their own without liberals & socialism.

  43. 47

    chardonnay spews:

    G Davis @ 42
    have you ever helped a single mom with kids get back on her feet? Have you ever personally paid her daycare bill for a month or her rent? have any of you arrogant egotistical liberals ever shown a single mom how to move up the corporate ladder or actually helped her get promoted to a higher paying position?or offered to teach someone so lowly, in your spare time, how to use excel or word as to further her career?
    I doubt it. and Don, especially you, i can only imagine you are the biggest jerk to work for with your hot temper and foul mouth.
    get off your asses and get out in the real world instead of just spouting off about it.
    I took a woman and her 5 kids in my house I picked her up at a seatac motel where they were living and the mom was working as a housekeeper. the father left them high and dry. they were all the sweatest people I have ever met.
    Not everyone needs a liberal to solve their problems.

    I am a single mom. I made my own way with no help from a liberal or the govn’t. I worked my ass off to get where I am. I paid attention, learned, went above and beyond the call of duty and found better jobs and positions. I relied on ME!

    I raised 3 kids, bought myself a big house, a nice car and
    paid high daycare bills and fought for child support by myself. I’d still like to see the $25k support enforcement should be collecting on behalf of my children. I never take a day off or a vacation. although I have those benefits I just don’t really use them. when I had surgery the company paid me full salary, for weeks on end.
    this is why I say your socialism is a disaster for our society.

  44. 49

    marks spews:

    G davis @ 35

    From the Right here, I agree with your post. Certain individuals from either side of the aisle who comment here irritate me. I try not to look for pissing matches but I am all too human when the irritation gets to me. As much as I try, sometimes I don’t delete the personal attack, and that reflects poorly upon me.

    However, I am ready to oblige anyone who wants a new one ripped! ;)

  45. 50

    g-love spews:

    Well. After rereading my post from last night, I sort of dropped an f-bomb in the middle of this thread. My apologies for not deleting the rant. I’ll try to keep it in check next time. However, I think that lefties need to realize who the enemy is here. The wingers think that we are the enemy, and they have no interest in starting a dialog with us. Just look at what is happening to Arlen Spector today. He’s in deep with the GOP now because he gave ‘aid and comfort to the enemy’–Democrats. The GOP want us to go away. They do not want to talk. Look at Mr. Cynical up there shouting ‘LIAR’ like a seven year old. Sometimes the truth is too ugly to face. These people want us dead or at least politically dead. How do you start a conversation with someone who like that?

  46. 51

    Mark spews:

    G @ 50

    C’mere… lemme give you a hug. ;)

    Not all of us anti-union folks stick fingers in our ears and go La-La-La (though it often feels like union members know little except the party line). In fact, I’m not entirely against the “perfect world” concept of a union. But Big Labor has done to unions what Big Religion has done to faith — corrupted it for the benefit of a few at the top and with little regard for the world around us.

  47. 52

    G Davis spews:

    g-love…how do you start a conversation with the more zealous? You don’t…you try to find middle ground with the more moderate.

    chardonnay, good for you. I applaud your efforts, grit and determination.

    To your questions about have I helped? I feel very comfortable saying I have helped many in my life after I pulled myself up…all ages, genders. I volunteer countless hours tutoring and coaching in addition. I love my life, I feel very good about myself and see the fruits tenfold when my child now takes similar steps in her own way.

    I don’t understand the loathing you appear to hold to others. it only wastes your own precious inner resources in my ever so humble opinon. You should be proud and feel great about being so strong. I imagine others envy you that.

    To all of you, I didn’t mean to pass judgement on anyone in here. That isn’t my place. I did think it might be refreshing to talk to each other a tad rather than the slam fest that some seem bent on, though.

    I’m off my soapbox and I hear rumor has it that Goldy has looked into scheduling a *rip a new one* main ring event between marks and myself! ;0

    And how about that day care, health clinic, real life job training center? Any plans made yet? ;0

  48. 53

    chardonnay spews:

    G Davis @ 42
    you assume to many things about me and others. you also refuse, in a poitically biased way, to accept that some people refuse to change their work ethics & habits. what you assume about the average workplace and abused workers is simply not true. I have never, ever seen anything of the sort. I have worked in many, many different industries and I can tell you first hand, some people just cannot function as well as others. Just as in any industry, some are better than others, doctors, lawyers cpa’s (trust me on this one) and managers. It doesn’t mean you need a NEW program to monitor every single employer/employee relationship.
    to answer your other question, YES, I am a single mother of 3, lazy ass ex owes me 25K & growing, took him to court myself. I started from the bottom, practically, no assets, paycheck to paycheck. But I did it, despite huge daycare expenses i bought a big house. i worked for an industrial engineer (now I am just as anal retentive-yikes) that was an arrogant prick but he was good to me. I learned alot from him and after a few years i searched for something better. I like to call it networking. when you want something better, you need to go look for it, opportunity, it is out there. but one does need to be able to adapt to and accept change and new ideas.

  49. 54

    chardonnay spews:

    loathing is not what I do, i call it like I see it. don’t tell me loathing is exclusive to one side of the loving political spectrum and not the other. I am just saying unions are a waste of everyones time these days when the state is the number one babysitter and there are attorney’s on every street corner. some people will always be victims because they want to be. it satisfies an itch they have.

  50. 55

    G Davis spews:

    Chardonnay, I’m not assuming anything about anyone here or anywhere else. I’m going on the words I see written on these pages by each of us.

    You present yourself as a bleeding heart liberal that wants to start a new program for each societal ill, that’s how folks that visit this room will look at you.

    Likewise, you present yourself as a narrow, myopic self righteous I’ve got mine type, that’s how folks will perceive you in this room.

    I’m sure many think many things about me from my writings…not the least of which is that I like to hear myself talk… ;0

    It’s all we have to go on in these places…what each of us types that is.

    And again, I applaud your strength and determination. I disagree with you that many today couldn’t give a rip about improving their personal plight in life. For those folks, there’s not much any of us can do. We’ve raised a couple of generations of welfare families and breaking that mold will be next to impossible if it can be done at all.

    But I know there are many hardworking folks who have life situations that were not of their own making and they have an incredibly difficult time turning that around. I think ideas like the center that would offer (no matter who paid for it) good quality daycare, health clinics and real life job training would be a fabulous way to start turning some of those folks around. Give them the tools to help themselves…

    I can’t think of a better way for labor to remake itself. I would also think business would heartily support such self help centers especially if folks got real life job training not the ninny stuff the government offers now.

    A collaborative effort between two evils that might produce something good for all…is it possible?

  51. 56

    G Davis spews:

    >>I disagree with you that many today couldn’t give a rip about improving their personal plight in life.<<

    Yeesh that should have read I agree with you not disagree with you…

    Goldy, got an edit function here for us dumb old lameass typists?

  52. 57

    marks spews:

    Okay G Davis,

    I am ready. But I am not so sure you nor I need a new one ;)

    Truth be told, your posts have been the highlight of my night. I have been fading into irrelevancy on other threads…

    If labor can make itself relevant again, without exploiting the obvious drawbacks of big labor, I am all for it.

  53. 58

    G Davis spews:

    LOL…glad you’re up for it.

    I agree wholeheartedly with your last line. I doubt it will happen unless big business embraces a remake itself though.

    And I have no clue what I did in my post @56…it was supposed to be correcting disagree with agree in my post @55. Don’t want chardonnay thinking I’m disagreeable! ;0

  54. 59

    marks spews:

    G -

    Excuse the shorthand, I am a bit tired, but I can’t run from something I am committed to, now, can I?

    As for big business, I agree with swatter. Business is making money, preferably for all of us, but I am more inclined to hope it benefits me (selfish, I am sure, but those businesses employ lots of people, and how selfish is that?).

    If there is to be agreement between business and unions, it will be a framework encompassing the realm of workers rights and workplace rules. Always.

    If a union were to transcend this basic philosophy, by actually providing what they propose, then the worker must choose to accept or reject it.

    Unions are the epitome of democracy, meaning “majority rules” and if you do not agree, pack sand. Unions should accept that not everyone agrees with the rigidity of (for example) seniority. Better qualified individuals may be in the workforce.

    For the business that employs them, they may in fact recognize individual effort, as opposed to group acheivement.

    I am tired, so these are just rough ideas coming from ‘right’ field. If they actually mean anything, or if you disagree, I will have to take it up tomorrow.

    Thanks for indulging me…

  55. 60

    G Davis spews:

    **Thanks for indulging me**

    My pleasure.

    Unions may not be the correct term for what I’m talking about. As I said before, I am not a union fan.

    Workers will need advocates in that they don’t hold the overt power reins. Whether we call them unions or not, I would hope they aren’t fashioned on the big union days of Hoffa and ilk.

    Business has a row to hoe as well though. The idea that business needs to make profit is natural. But there has to be a balance between the bottom line and the workforce. You will also have a hard time convincing me that big business dollars get reinvested after a certain point. There’s plenty of money to go around if all parties (workers, management and shareholders) are actually interested in a fair exchange.

    I’m working tomorrow but will look forward to more exchanges at some point over the weekend.

  56. 61

    marks spews:

    I look forward to it (couldn’t sleep without checking!)…

    And I agree with:

    But there has to be a balance between the bottom line and the workforce.

    Without such, we devolve into chaos…

  57. 62

    Chee spews:

    The cutting edge award goes to Goldy for the best blog. The mainstream media sucks wind, gleans the meat out of truth and throws us the yellowed scraps that contain ONLY the buzzwords they want you to hear.

  58. 63

    dumdum spews:

    char @ 46
    not all corps are evil.
    you found one that took care of you. yet, you want to make sure that the ones that dont feel the need to treat employees fair, dont have to.
    isnt this a little hypocritical. you got yours, but to hell with the next guy. what if the next guy is doing all he can trying to make ends meet, trying to support a family, but cant find that golden goose employer?
    to hell with that guy right. he doesnt deserve the union giving him a little support. im sure you can see the irony here, youre quite intelligent. your dad worked for the teamsters for many years you say. what made him stay for so long if they were mistreating him. there are always ways to improve the unions. many people that are actually IN a union, still dont realize, the union is what they make it. if you cant take the time to spread the word around, and attend meetings, how can any changes be made?
    the union moves forward by the will of the members.lets face it, the reasons for unions coming to be, are all still present. corporations, and unscrupulous business managers, still try to take advantage of the workers. happens every day. when corporations are held in check somewhat by the workforce having a voice, the workplace becomes a more even playing field.

  59. 64

    chardonnay spews:

    dumdum, aka diggindude,
    I had a stay at home mom who took care of us. we had a modest up bringing, we had 2 healthy, functioning parents that taught us hard work and love of family. I think that is KEY! Set high standards for yourself and don’t settle. My mom was very grounded and a tradionalists. Create a new program to teach that.

    My dad worked for a local produce company for 30 years. He loved it & they loved him. That company was eaten by a bigger company that was eaten by an even bigger company. The new company stripped all his benefits and pay, all while he remained a teamster.

    where were the teamsters reps? He went from 4-6 weeks vacation to 1. He took a paycut, he was already about 50 something then, kids all grown. He figured he would stick it out a few more years and retire. It wasn’t so much about money, they had saved. The year before he was to retire, he had an accident that no one to this day knows the details of, not even him. Something hit him in the head, causing a skull fracture. where is the outrage by the union on his behalf? They hid. His private sector attorney got him his full pension, not the union. It cost him. Combine that with my own personal exp w/unions I formed my opinion that I don’t need anyone to take care of me except me.
    Because I have determination and drive and a clear vision of my future, I continue to succeed. Can we teach that instead of dependancy?

  60. 65

    Diggindude spews:

    so during this time your dad was being raped by corporate america, you somehow came to the conclusion it was the fault of the union. the same union you want to tear down so more corporate rape can ensue. I gotta tell ya, the teamsters have been a joke on the west coast for a while now, but they dont have to be. It takes members making the union strong enough to stand up to the rapists again. The biggest obstacle today, aside from people like yourself who erroneously attach all blame to the unions, is the fact that the rapists are now completely in charge of America.
    Its going to be a good long fight from this corner we’ve allowed bush and his ilk to crowd us into.
    C’mon char, make your Dad’s life work mean something. Help us make the unions strong again. Help us root corporate rapists out of our unions management.
    Help us make the union, something to have pride in again.

  61. 66

    G Davis spews:

    Diggindude or whatever name you choose, unions absolutely need to get themselves back to whence they came. They are as bad as big business in many respects and more often than not when faced with self preservation and preservation of workers rights will choose the former.

    That’s not to say labor doesn’t need an organized voice.

    That’s also not to say bug business doesn’t need to do some serious soul searching.

    But lockstep advocacy of unions for their own sake is just as myopic as corporate complete disregard for it’s customer and labor base.

    In my ever so humble opinion it’s companies like chardonnay’s fathers that get caught and drowned in the middle of those two completely self absorbed factions. Family grown businesses that are forced by labor to accept untenable contracts, forced by big business to compete with unfairly structured competitive disbalance.

    Those sorts of small companies are what carried this nation to it’s greatness. They are also becoming scarce as hen’s teeth. The days of knowing your employees name, personal circumstances and caring enough about same to help them are apparently behind us.

    Or not if one is a glass half fuller. Because of outsourcing, mega corporate, conglomerate labor folks are being forced into innovation again. That may not be all bad if we can all learn from past mistakes, taking the best from all entities to evolve ourselves into a healthier hybrid.

    Strong conversation and introspection can only help forward that lofty goal.

  62. 67

    marks spews:

    G Davis -

    I can’t find anything wrong with what you wrote. If it is not identical to my own beliefs, it sure is close.

    My firm is a subsidiary of a mid-size corporation which is headquartered out of Chicago. After 9/11 we got hit pretty bad in the sales chart, and it was nearly every month that another round of layoffs hit. It was not pleasant, and it sure did contribute to my hypertension. I had too many friends get the pink slip, and that is no fun at all.

    How can we strike a balance between the excesses of corporate greed and the union excesses?

    Some more background may glean insight:
    I have only worked for two entities in the last two decades: US Navy and the afore mentioned corporation. The military is quite a bit different from private/corporate enterprize. The military has rigidity of the work and such, the constant state of change from one operational mode to another, troop rotation, and other mundane details.

    On the corporate side, things were a bit different when I first was hired. I had one job. I had to complete that job in a timely fashion. Somebody else had a different job. I could not do that job despite my ability and training making me entirely capable of doing it.

    The layoffs hit, and suddenly, there was no one to do the job the laid-off individual used to do. Guess who now does that job, in addition the the old job?

    The above is actually a success story. Had our corporation been held hostage by union rules, we would have ceased being a firm and just been dissolved by corporate, and the intellectual properties sold to our competitor (that happened with the first unit I was part of at this corporation).

    So, unions – or whatever derivation their reinvention calls itself – will need to concentrate less on rules and classifications for particular types of jobs, and more on a workers ability to thrive in an environment of change, with the corporation held liable for keeping their greatest assets working. I do not know how that can be done, but you might have some ideas?…

  63. 68

    Diggindude spews:

    There are at least 2 very different types of union shops today.
    The type I work in, a person does his job well, or is replaced.
    We have a collective voice to “BARGAIN” for wages and benefits.
    We dont demand anything, nor do we force companies out of business.
    We have taken benefit cuts, and lost members, as companies try to hire cheap labor and cut costs through squeezing employees.
    The biggest problems today as I see them, are open borders, outsourcing, and the union crawling in bed with corporate america.
    Most repubs. cant understand how beneficial it is to have many decent wage employees paying taxes.
    There are too many people that believe it more beneficial to have ceo’s the only people making a decent living.
    They think the rest of us should be happy with $8/hr.
    I can only speak for myself, but after 25 years in this business, I should be able to make a decent wage.
    I spent many years in non union companies that shorted me hours, underpaid me when they could, and I still have a company in wyoming that owes me $5000 from 1982 that I will never see.
    I have seen several people get killed over shoddy safety practices, and when a person brings it up to management they were fired.
    We need unions alright, if for nothing else than a deterent to the few companies that are ready and willing to take advantage of the worker.
    I look at it this way, you buy equipment, it costs x dollars. you may negotiate a better price from time to time, but once agreed upon, the price is what it is. The same goes with labor. It costs x dollars. Our contract is negotiated from time to time, but once agreed upon, it costs what it costs.
    Anyone that believes we need to go backwards in labor costs, is either not being honest, or has their head in the sand.
    You look at any company talking about cutting houly wages, or going overseas to cut labor costs to save the consumer money, and you always see the same thing. They cut labor costs alright, but the price on the shelf remains the same, and corporate pockets the rest.
    A good example is the pharmaceuticals. They contract to canada to produce cheaper drugs, so they can mark them up for americans to buy.
    Meanwhile, canada figures out, it can sell the drugs to america itself, and cut out the fat corporate middle man.
    Who has the biggest problem with this? Dubyadummy. Him and his cronies, are out there right now trying to shut those drug imports down so you’ll have to pay the double markup price in the us.
    Fat corporations getting fatter, when all the average guy here wants, is a decent wage to raise and feed his family on.
    I dont know about the rest of you, but I know what team I want to come out on top.

  64. 70

    Diggindude spews:

    Skid marks @ 69
    Are you insulting me? Is this some type of racial criticism?
    Im not sure how to respond.

  65. 71

    G Davis spews:

    LOL…I feel like I’m watching ping pong in this thread…staunch labor on one side and staunch business on the other.

    Marks brings up a good point about union *job description*. I’m not sure that’s still as stringent as it once was, and I’m also not sure it’s that far off from much of the military. I don’t think the practice is good for the mental stimulation of employees and I certainly would never advocate it in my business.

    Marks also asks ow can we strike a balance between the excesses of corporate greed and the union excesses? I’m not sure we can. I’m not sure that both entities as they exist/ed are going to be viable in the near future environment.

    Diggin brings up some very valid points about safety, accountability that workers absolutely need protection from in the workplace.

    Diggin’ also asks why anyone would think we can go backward with labor costs. To which I would say we already have. Maybe not in dollars, but certainly in health care costs, hours available for work, or more simplistically less jobs today.

    So we’re apparently at a stalemate….or are we? Can marks corporation exist without labor on the line to make their widgets? Possibly since he spoke of intellectual property.

    But could they operate without copier service folks? Admin assistant services? Telephone installers? Paper manufacturers? Janitorial services? Indoor plant maintenance services? Fish tank servicers? Cafeteria/deli treats? Starbucks on the corner? Building maintenance personell? Computer servicers? Window washers? On and on and on…?

    Virtually all of those typical labor postions could be filled by self employed folks. Micro businesses. Heck, marks could contract himself back to his company.

    So is it time to start thinking in those sorts of terms rather than the traditional, entrenched business -v- labor? Will we as a workforce be happier, healthier and more well paid if we chart our own destiny rather than have the big boys do it for us?

    I don’t think self employment is for everyone. It takes a certain amount of loose screws to take on the risk. But all those micro businesses need some sort of support/employee base. And those employees would be more often than not rewarded for their individual work/effort/innovation.

    We can attempt to remake the family grown business, but with improvements.

    If we can get over the traditional advesary of worker/employer relationships, modernize a system of health care coverage that allows all of us to pool together reducing rates, work with the local school districts to supplement students education with real life job experience that will create thinking, innovative employees/business owners we can make a serious start at telling both big business and big unions to take a flying leap.

    Neither of the *bigs* would survive without us. And if they won’t flex for us, to hell with ‘em. Start thinking outside the box and see if the opportunities aren’t boundless.

    But as long as we all rely on the tradional big boys to define our workplace, we are stuck with them. I don’t see any end in sight to big business worrying more about bottom line than the workforce. Goldy’s article is the first sign I’ve seent that unions might even consider revamping their approach.

    Is it possible to rework the big business/union relationship? I could sure use some ideas as I’m fresh out.

  66. 72

    Diggindude spews:

    There will always be a need for big companies and unions.
    All the employee positions you mentioned, may be filled by individuals on their own, but infrastructure, which makes up for a huge piece of the federal and state budget, will not be built by 2 guys in a pickup truck with a handyman sign on it.
    Even if we were to move to smaller companies providing these services, they would need a huge pool of trained labor to pull off the actual construction.
    You’re right, we have already been squeezed on health care and benefits.
    It takes gov’t and tax money to build infrastructure. “ALL” small businesses rely on infrastructure, but many take for granted it is just “THERE”.
    All these costs associated with bringing lights, water, telecomm., roads, and transpotation, are directly benefitting the small business person.
    These type jobs, will always require more than a small business can provide.
    If we could rely on corporate america to have a concience, we wouldn’t need to have our own collective bargaining team. Thats the problem. You cant. So whats the alternative?
    More layers of regulation? or a version of what we have now?
    I think the ultimate goal, would be transparency, i just dont know how to achieve it.
    That again, would cure the fat “gov’t” perception also.
    If we could watch the dollars being collected, and applied in an economically responsible way, we would probably have less to critisize.
    We feel the same about the union. Maybe thats IS the answer. Clean house, and rebuild the chain of command.
    Be nice if we could trust gov’t and corporate america.

  67. 73

    G Davis spews:

    Diggin, you are correct there are projects that would require the bigs to accomplish it.

    My contention is, though, that many of us can rid ourselves of the shackles of the bigs. And the decreased number of workers in the pool the bigs can draw from, the better for the remaining firms and workers.

    Transparency should be the ultimate goal in all our dealings with each other, no matter the level of *big*. That is, however, one of the hardest things to achieve at any level.

    Greed does strange things to all makes.

    Marks…got any ideas how to make big business more transparent to it’s users?

  68. 74

    Diggindude spews:

    The rub, is, the fine line between treating an employee fairly, and taking advantage of them for the sake of profit.
    There are many excellent employees, that will never strike out on their own. They will always need a place to work, and will endure quite a bit of adversity, before they give up their loyalty to an employer. Good people, that will be abused. Im not saying all companies will abuse this person, but some will.
    Where do you draw the line on the limits of poverty?
    Are we to allow the economy to be completely market driven without concern for where that leads in terms of standards of living?
    I hope not. Profit regardless the human cost, is, or should be a crime. Why cant we get together in support of a standard of humanity? Why cant we define a “bottom” we can mutually respect?(im not talking about pamela anderson)
    I look at this idea as such:
    Bose corporation, has been making “average” sounding speakers (IMO), for many years, yet the refuse to compete with retail prices.
    They keep the price of their loud speakers artificially higher than other manufacturures, even though this closes some markets to their product. Why do you suppose they do this? It isnt economically sound you wouldnt think, yet they have done this for many years.
    Why isnt a human being worth at least $x?
    Im not saying every human being should just get high pay regardless their performance, so please dont attack me with that. Ive said before, in what I do, If you cant perform, you are replaced quickly. The job market itself weeds out the slackers, as do peers. I know when I have to carry a guy, I show him once or twice whats expected, then If he is not up to the task, I will suggest replacing him. I expect the same treatment for myself.
    Big business being transparent, is going to be limited in how transparent it can be for competitive reasons, so I dont see much happening there.
    As far as reducing the “pool” inhabitants, I agree, demand makes costs easier to swallow.
    It seems so obvious to me, where money needs to be spent, but more obviously, where it should not be spent. The %$@$#^ monorail for example. How does this monster, fit the big picture? Are there not a dozen better ways to spend this money?
    Look at what is happening right now. The money being wasted on junk science to save the salmon. The money being wasted on a couple owls. The money being wasted on trying to find new ways to waste money.
    The state is headed into a very dry year. What about getting some of these water projects going?
    What about the bio fuels research, that could be worth billions to the state?
    Oil seed crops, could spawn a whole industrial, and farming boom in the northwest, that would last for decades.
    Murray has been pushing a little bit for alternative fuels research and development, but nowhere near enough.
    There are ideas out there, here we are listening to gw scaring everyone about s.s. going bust, when he could be lighting a fire on these alternative fuels development, and really doing something about americas future.
    What is bigger in americas future, than water and energy?
    Plenty of money to be made by corporate, and labor, if we make the right choices.

  69. 75

    chardonnay spews:

    diggindude @ 65
    you know me, I know you and I think we respect each other, we have a history lets say.
    I understand you are a die-hard union guy. I am sorry, I am not into unions. When they stop taking high salaries for themselves, out of your union dues, then maybe I could respect them. In my view they are no different than the city mayor or city attorney that needs to raise taxes so they can have a pay raise. IT IS WRONG!
    when I had a union job, working for a department store, our rep, ellen, was a sneeky coniving bitch. she knew our office was closing 2 weeks before we did. why didn’t she tell us?
    I do not believe all corporations are evil empires. That is a label the left uses to scare people. There are many greedy people in the world, yes! Martha Stewart, a democrat, to name one. Although she is my idol. I can put her politics aside because she sets out to teach perfection. something lacking in our society. If your union is so wonderful and working so well for you……..full time job. I don’t rat out my friends. only govn’t crooks.

  70. 76

    marks spews:

    Diggindude

    Please accept an apology from Skid marks. :( One thing is certain, I need some Spray&Wash for the length of the skid…

    I did not mean to imply some sort of racist connotation. The many times I have been to Philly, either in the service or for my present company, have not been pleasant. New York and New Jersey have been only slightly better destinations, actually. I, in my own myopic view, believe this to be an institutionalized issue for many union towns, and it’s embodiment is readily apparent in Philly.

    Even with the above explanation, I had no right to allow my irritation at your post slamming Bush and his ‘cronies’ to transcend basic etiquette by altering your handle. I am sorry.

  71. 77

    marks spews:

    Diggindude @74

    Great post, and it is quite a bit different in tone from some of your previous ones. That implies G Davis has gotten to you too. :)

    G Davis,

    You must handle your daughter pretty well. I keep getting schooled in the art of people interaction.

    Big business and transparency is much like the two-way mirrors used in interrogation rooms. Unfortunately, much of the stuff beyond the mirror is SEC sanctioned secrecy. A publicly traded business keeps it’s dirty laundry hidden behind it because disclosure would cause market variations. If there were a way to divorce the requirements for such secrecy and the need for disclosure of EMPLOYEE Pertinent information (layoffs, reorganizations), I would be happy with that.

    chardonnay @75

    “when I had a union job, working for a department store, our rep, ellen, was a sneeky coniving bitch. she knew our office was closing 2 weeks before we did. why didn’t she tell us?”

    I have a solution for this situation. The Department of Labor has a rule for closing or sale of business units employing 50 or more people. A 60-day notice is required to all employees affected. Why can’t they effect a similar rule to layoffs involving any number of employees, whether 1 or 10,000? Frankly, I would just be happy with 2 weeks notice, since that is what they want me to give them when I move to a new company.