Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Far-Left's Surprising Lack of Understanding on the Original Intent of Organized Labor

The original purpose of organized labor, folks, was as a vehicle to get employees at least a share of the profits that they were helping to create. Due to the fact that government doesn't create any profits, it didn't even dawn on the founders of the labor movement to target government workers. I mean, think about it here, the only way that government workers CAN negotiate is via additional tax money (an action that ultimately means that the voters themselves are stripped of their final ability to dictate public policy). These early unions, to their credit, recognized this and essentially felt that collective bargaining shouldn't have a place in government...............................................................................................Fasting forward here - the cat is majorly, MAJORLY, out of the bag. What do we do? Do we stuff it back in (as Governor Walker evidently wants to), or do we deal with it? My feeling continues to be that the Governor of Wisconsin SHOULD negotiate, and that he SHOULD compromise - if, for no other reason, folks, than to put this frigging thing to bed. Enough already. The only thing that I'm asking of my ultra-liberal brethren here is that they opt for a) a modicum of perspective (the fact that Walker is basically adhering to what FDR and George Meany advocated) and b) a little bit of human decency. Hitler, folks, did a lot of things - A LOT OF THINGS.

17 comments:

TRUTH 101 said...

Will my good friend. Public employees organized to protect their jobs from administration changes.

And do I need to explain work and safety rules to everyone? And managements rights?

Contract or not, management has whatever tools it needs to discipline and fire bad employees. It's n ot the fault of the union if management is too inept or lazy to enforce rules that are part of every contract and are not negotiable.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

When I was with the state, Truth, we had this worker who abused residents. Couldn't get rid of her (she faked some sort of mental health issue and basically got paid for sitting around - her real diagnosis; impudent asshole). And isn't OSHA for safety......Look, Truth, I'll admit it. This Wisconsin Governor guy seems like an absolute jerk. He should at the very least talk to the unions and try and settle this (I'm a pragmatist, you know that). But on a philosophical plane, I'm not entirely decided on this issue of public sector unions and collective bargaining. It's very much murky/debatable for me.

The Heathen Republican said...

Huzzah! You're the first person from the left to even acknowledge that public unions are different from other union organizations. I love the intellectually honest ones, even when we disagree on everything.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

HR, while I'm probably a lot more liberal (these labels are actually starting to drive me a little crazy) than you on a lot of topics, I hope that you'll find me a) open-minded, b) willing to compromise, and c) morally consistent (for instance, while I've defended Mr. Obama against Communism charges, I've also defended Mr. McCain when he was accused of being a North Vietnamese collaborator). Feel free to comment here any time.

w-dervish said...

I acknowledge there is a difference. The problem is the Republican anti-Union campaign has been so successful that the only stronghold Unions have left is the public sector.

Seeing as Unions support the Democratic Pary I'm not going to throw that "advantage" away... if you want to call it an advantage... we've got Unions, they've got big business (which outspends the unions, btw).

The Republicans fight dirty (this was a comment my father made to me yesterday in regards to this issue, and he considers himself a moderate Democrat)... so I'm not going to concede this point regardless of how FDR viewed public sector unions (and, btw, Unionization in both sectors was a lot higher when he was president).

The Republicans are trying to DESTROY the Democratic Party. Do you recall during the bush administration when Karl Rove envisoned a permanent Republican majority? Are those of us on the left supposed to HELP them achieve their goal?

In any case you are WRONG, public sector unions NEVER "essentially felt that collective bargaining shouldn't have a place in government". If that were the case public sector unions wouldn't have existed. There is no other purpose for forming a union.

Walker is NOT "basically adhering to what FDR advocated", unless you think FDR was in favor of destroying the Democratic party...

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

FDR (as was George Meany, as apparently was Jimmy Carter) was against collective bargaining for government workers. You can try to change the subject. But you simply cannot change the facts.......P.S. FDR had other ways to preserve the Democratic Party. They were called patronage and the IRS (using it like a hammer against his enemies).

The Heathen Republican said...

w-dervish, on the topic of union political contributions vs. business contributions, we probably can't agree on a metric, but let me offer a few pieces of data. I'm sure you'll tell me every source is tainted, so I'll assume my audience are people willing to listen to facts.

OpenSecrets.org lists the top 10 donors in the 2008 cycle. No public or private company made the top 10. There are two unions, five indian tribes, one professional organization (realtors), and two PACs (Link).

On their list of Heavy Hitters for all cycles between 1989 and 2010, there are 9 unions ($283.6 million), 3 companies ($107.7 million), 2 professional organizations ($71.8 million), and 1 PAC ($51 million) in the top 15 donors (Link). Can we put this to myth to rest now?

As for playing dirty and destroying parties... are you so blind that you don't realize BOTH parties do this? In 2009 (yes, 2009!) James Carville wrote a book lauding the permanent Democrat majority (Link).

w-dervish said...

FDR... was against collective bargaining for government workers... you simply cannot change the facts.

Your proof that this was the case is what?? The quote you posted? It's from a letter FDR wrote to Luther Steward, the president of the National Federation of Federal Employees... a letter in which he closes by saying, "I congratulate the National Federation of Federal Employees the twentieth anniversary of its founding...".

Why would he congratulate a public sector union on it's founding when he didn't believe it should exist? Collective bargaining is one of the primary reasons for forming a union. I don't know how YOU think YOU can change the facts.

It seems to be the case you're making is... liberal icon FDR was against collective barganing for gov workers (which you're completely wrong about, but for the sake of argument let's assume it's true) and so, because present day liberals are supporting the public sector union's right to collective bargaining, their beliefs are out of wack with FDR's... which equals a "surprising lack of understanding on the original intent of organized Labor".

Well guess what? Another liberal icon, JFK, didn't agree with what YOU SAY were FDR's views on the matter. In 1962 President Kennedy signed an executive order giving public employee unions the right to collectively bargain with federal government agencies.

I'll go with Kennedy on this. Certainly you can't misinterpret the meaning behind JFK's executive order (not the way you've misinterpreted FDR's letter to Luther Steward).

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

"All government employees should realize that the process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, CANNOT BE TRANSPLANTED INTO THE PUBLIC SERVICE. IT HAS DISTINCT AND INSURMOUNTABLE LIMITATIONS when applied to public service management. The very nature and purposes of government make it impossible for administrative officials to represent fully or to bind the employer in mutual discussions with government employee organizations.".......I don't know how much more crystal clear that this could be....You know, it wouldn't kill you to concede a point every once in a while.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Thanks for the link, HR. I'll definitely check it out.

w-dervish said...

Why should I concede a point that I'm not wrong on? As pointed out by the Daily Kos, "FDR did not oppose public employee unions. He opposed strikes by federal public employee unions".

FDR opposed strikes because "Federal [employees have an] obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of government activities".

Aside from being opposed to public employees striking, FDR believed "organizations of government employees have a logical place in government affairs", and that "organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical".

I don't know how much more crystal clear you can get than THAT.

As for the Heathen Republican's claim that I'd say his two sources are tainted -- he is incorrect. They aren't tainted, but they also are not the full picture. There's donations, and then there is money spent independently.

According to the 2/17/2011 broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show, "In 2010, post-Citizens United, seven of the 10 top outside spending groups in the election were all right wing. The Chamber of Commerce, both the Karl Rove groups, the American Future Fund, Americans for Job Security -- all of these right-wing groups. The only non-conservative groups that cracked the top 10 were the public employees union, the SEIU, and the teachers union. That's it".

The Heathen Republican said...

derv, looks like your comment hasn't made it out of the spam folder yet, so here's my prebuttal:

Okay, I guess I responded to your statement incorrectly -- you did say "outspend" which I interpreted as "political contributions." I've lost interest, so I won't go digging up any more data. But I will advise you not to rely on Rachel Maddow -- she only has credibility with progressives, so you'll never convince anyone who doesn't already agree with you.

Personally, I think businesses and unions and individuals should be free to spend any amount they want to elect government officials.

w-dervish said...

Why should I concede a point that I'm not wrong on? As pointed out by the Daily Kos, "FDR did not oppose public employee unions. He opposed strikes by federal public employee unions". FDR opposed strikes because "Federal [employees have an] obligation to serve the whole people, whose interests and welfare require orderliness and continuity in the conduct of government activities".

Aside from being opposed to public employees striking, FDR believed "organizations of government employees have a logical place in government affairs", and that "organization on their part to present their views on such matters is both natural and logical". I don't know how much more crystal clear you can get than THAT.

TRUTH 101 said...

Strikes were illegal by public unions till the late 70's.

The real point behind this was that it was thought unions had an advantage with arbitrators. So they said make em strike instead.

"They" were correct. I'd much rather arbitrate.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

CANNOT BE TRANSPLANTED INTO THE PUBLIC SERVICE!!!!! I never said that FDR was against public sector unions, only that he was opposed to collective bargaining by them. He saw the inherent conflict of interest - as apparently did Jimmy Carter and the Dem. congress when they passed a law limiting the collective bargaining powers of Federal workers. My frigging God!

w-dervish said...

You already capped that section... but, since you added the exclamation points (five of 'em!) let's say you win the argument. Anyway, times change, so, even if FDR believed what you say he believed -- that doesn't mean he'd hold the same opinion today.

Also, as I pointed out earlier -- JFK supported collective bargaining rights for public sector employees. Did JFK have a surprising lack of understanding on the original intent of organized labor?

Regarding the Heathen Republican's claim that I'd say his two sources are tainted -- he is incorrect. They aren't tainted, but they also are not the full picture. There's donations, and then there is money spent independently.

According to the 2/17/2011 broadcast of the Rachel Maddow Show, "In 2010, post-Citizens United, seven of the 10 top outside spending groups in the election were all right wing. The Chamber of Commerce, both the Karl Rove groups, the American Future Fund, Americans for Job Security -- all of these right-wing groups. The only non-conservative groups that cracked the top 10 were the public employees union, the SEIU, and the teachers union. That's it".

What I wrote above is a re-post. Heathen Republican saw it, obviously, since he responded to it... and then it went in the Spam folder.

OK, Rachel Maddow lies (the implication), so I'll provide a second source which states that spending on the Republican side outpaces spending on the Democratic side.

The Sunlight Foundation says that in 2010 "the big change... is that independent groups are now spending more money on influencing the election than political parties", pointing out that "the outside groups are supplanting traditional party spending largely on the Republican side of the aisle. There are currently eight outside groups that have each spent at least $2 million exclusively on aiding Republican candidates. These groups are American Crossroads, American Crossroads GPS, American Future Fund, The 60 Plus Association, Americans for Job Security, Club for Growth Action Fund, Club for Growth and Tea Party Express".

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

I'm for public funding of elections (how's THAT for a progressive position? - one that would probably get me laughed off of a conservative thread), wd......I love JFK (a top 5 President, easily, in my opinion). But on this one, I agree with Jimmy Carter/what he and the Democratic Congress did in 1978.