146 Comments
Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"abandon bread and roses for the rising tide of trickle-down"

2 marks!

But I'm equally (easily) amused by The Voice staff being repped by Teamsters. Assuming the staff was mostly writers* should not y'all been repped by the Reamsters?

*(OK maybe a few truck drivers to deliver it)

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Well the workers at Antioch were represented by the UE.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Sing Ho! For the workers of Antioch

On this, their worky day!

Subsisting so long on manioc

Now they eat whatever they may!

The brethren and sistern of UE

Upstanding, faithful and true

At the drop of a hat would sue ye

If you fail to give them their due

Cast ye not aspersions on Teamsters

No matter what else ye pursue

Even Roy has his card from the Memesters

And I wish that I had a card too

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

For a time, in the early days of the pandemic, I was part of a group of volunteers sewing cloth face masks (forgive us, we knew not what we were doing.) Naturally, this being pro-labor librul Madison, we called ourselves the Seamsters Union.

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But of course.

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AFSCME Local 1989 sez: Hell ya!

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

OE3 (was) here. If I'd stayed, then surely by now I'd have that blinged-out bass boat...

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I’m still a pretty new member and not sucking on any golden teats or anything, but the health plan is the best I’ve ever had and was recently aggressively defended down in Springfield. It’s damn good to have a strong union!

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

My mom was a school secretary, never a member of AFSCME, but the pension fund that still reliably sends her a monthly check, Illinois Municipal Retirees Fund, is VERY aggressively defended by AFSCME because so many of their members are in it. For a time she even joined an AFSCME retirees local to go to Springfield and protest against proposed changes in the fund (which were defeated.)

Unions have benefits even for people who aren't in unions.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"Unions have benefits even for people who aren't in unions."

This is a very significant point. Many workers of all stripes don't realize this.

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Yup. (AFGE here, retired but still member.) We call it "bargaining-unit position" which means even if you aren't in a union your *job description* makes you eligible for coverage.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I'm not much of a one for signs and portents, but a 100 year old tree falling on Ron DeSantis's house, hippie-cosplaying wealthy techbros getting flooded out at Burning Man, and MTG screaming that Joe Biden has created too many well-paying jobs in her state may mean the universe is on our side here.

I come from a union household -- UAW. We had a framed photo of Walter Reuther hanging up in our apartment. As the saying goes, "the boss needs you, you don't need him."

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The arc of the Universe is long, but it bends toward heat death, aka Reality.

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Despite all her protestations to the contrary, Kari Lake is not the Governor of Arizona. I like to keep that in mind.

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I'm just stymied tryin' to rhyme Reuther...

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With Truther just sitting there? Or Boofer, in honor of Justice Kavanagh.

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Or Martin Luther, John Wilkes Booth or, your sweet tooth, or...

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Thought it was pronounced "royther"...?

If not, then botha yinz gets 2 marks.

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My dad belonged to two unions, the Musicians and the California Teachers Association. That's how he and my mom were able to bring up 4 kids (& send me to college) on an elementary school music teacher's salary. My sister is a Teamster (retired now) and as I've mentioned before, they helped her get her G.E.D. and buy a house after her worthless ex left her with two kids and no child support. Solidarity forever!

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Former IBEW Local 1313 member here. That was the union at WPIX-TV New York. Best-paying job I ever had, though one that was ultimately deadly for most of the employees.

Reagan firing the controllers really triggered something strange among Americans. Before PATCO, someone might look at their union-member neighbor and think "Wow! He's got an excellent paycheck, full healthcare, a pension, and weeks of paid vacation. I should have those things! Maybe I'll join a union."

After PATCO, that was turned on its head. Someone would look at their union-member neighbor and think "Wow! He's got an excellent paycheck, full healthcare, a pension, and weeks of paid vacation. I don't have those things! And neither should he!"

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Morning in America, my ass.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Oh yeah, Wisconsin fell for this shit HARD.

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There'll be a OOF Heard Round the World when Wisconsin finally lands...

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I have a special hatred for that fucker Reagan, the Union Boss who made it his life's work to crush Unionism.

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Take that hatred and double it, and you might approach how I feel about Scott Walker.

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The little shit thought he was ready to work his special charisma on a national level. That fizzled with a satisfying whimper. He'll continue to cause harm, working for various wingnut welfare groups. Sadly he won't starve in a gutter. But at least enjoy the knowledge that every time old Scott hears "Hail To The Chief," a little piece of his soul will die.

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“Please clap”

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No matter how little the piece, given the size of the original, it won't take the band long to finish the job.

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Setting worker against worker! As Marx would say “No class!” (In the imperative sense)

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AAUP here: even "public" universities are profit-grubbing sunsovbisshes these days, so we stand union-strong here.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Carry On, Carry On!

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In SD, the state legislature decided that, as state employees, we could not have a union anymore

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I was IBEW for 30 years - I got one thing to say -

https://youtu.be/G2-J-nFFtSg?si=FQm1yz2yOuDz4K__

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Bumper stickers will be issued...?

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Not to be pedantic with a college man, but you spelled 'eschewed' incorrectly.

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College girl, thank u -- but hehe

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I knew that. I'm dense.

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Great article Roy. Grover, we hardly knew ye.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I never had the privilege of working in a union job. Though there were positions where I wished we could start one; I could tell my PMC colleagues wouldn't go for it. Not trying to persuade anyway is my bad, but I already had a reputation as a troublemaker, and I had a family to support. I'll always remember recruiting a woman who insisted she wouldn't take a job if it was covered under the bargaining unit adjacent to us. She was from Mississippi not coincidentally, but harbored some resentments because of competing for positions or arbitrating against AFSCME. Workplace disputes are intense, and not because the stakes are low.

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I never did enough acting to got into Actor's Equity, but the folks who did were very up on it.

Dad was a member of the Rural Letter Carrier's Union: hardly a union, they can't strike, and very rarely endorse: but in the runup to '20, Postmaster Gen. DeJoy had pissed enough people off for even many of the MAGA types to vote against him, if not tRump. They also exposed the problems DeJoy was imposing on the mail.

Among my earliest memories is the news from Chattanooga TN full of Jimmy Hoffa's racketeering and jury tampering trial. Chattanooga was a manufacturing hub, steel, appliances, chemicals (Dupont gunpowder, and Atlas explosives) and the Ochs Schuleberger Chattanooga Times had lead the anti union crowd since the '30s. It was a most antiunion town, violently historically. Hoffa didn't stand a chance even if he was guilty as sin.

When Volkswagen opened it's plant there they wanted, being good Germans, to have the sort of labor councils that ran well in Deutschland: one engineer I talked to just didn't get the animus of the locals.

The attempt to unionize was closer than I would have expected: and a time will come when it happens.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I'm always surprised and dismayed at the hostility so many workers have toward unions. One of my father's friends was a retired Newark, NJ firefighter. Union job that let him retire early with full pay and benefits. And that guy hated unions and thought they should be abolished.

A former friend of mine spiraled from being solidly middle-class to being weeks away from homeless. He was offered a job that paid more than anything he'd ever done before, and it was within walking distance of the Section 8 room he was living in. But he refused the job because it was a union shop, and he'd rather live in the bushes than have to pay union dues. Last I heard, he'd gotten his wish.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Oof/shrug

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

This guy was not the sharpest knife in the chandelier. Right after 9-11, he began "researching" Islamic extremists by surfing to every jihadi site he could find. When the FBI finally came to visit him (since he'd managed to flag himself through his efforts), he was flattered that the agents thought to ask him about it because they obviously thought he was now some kind of expert.

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If you've lost touch with him, look for him in the crowd at Trump rallies. I hear they like to do their own research too, lol.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I think a lot of the hostility is based to some extent on mob involvement and just general corruption by higher-ups. Wherever you have some money and power floating around, you're going to find corruption -- it's human nature. But people would rather be ripped off by the bosses -- who they KNOW aren't really in their corner -- than by people who claim to be on their side with their best interests at heart. They have long memories for that kind of betrayal. Again, human nature. And when all the propaganda from President Sunny Outlook is solidly anti-union that's going to erode confidence as well.

But I think (hope) that era of mistrust is slowly fading from memory, as the new resurgence of union popularity seems to indicate.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I once heard that "mob influence" argument when I was organizing for the teachers union. Yes, the TEACHERS union. Timmy better do his homework, or he'll be sleepin' with the fishes.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Support the NEA. It's an offer you can't refuse.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Whenever I get into a the "corrupt unions became too powerful" part of the discussion I pivot to my favorite response.

"I wish my union was MORE corrupt. One severed horse's head, well placed, would expedite the negotiation process toward a favorable outcome."

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Well sure, but that horse's head woulda been a wire-mesh, papier mache´ prop from the school's theater closet, so would not pass if stuffed under the sheets...

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"We have découpage and WE'RE NOT AFRAID TO USE IT."

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A confluence of events work to delegitimize and damage unionism: Taft-Hartley, the red scare, race relations, 60s cultural disruption, mob corruption, Reagan/Thatcher anti-unionism, computers changing productivity outputs, etc. A lot of this stuff has started to fade into history, and with the gross inequalities in todays economy become more and more stark, hopefully we’ll see unionism become more common, giving workers some level of power and leverage against the C-suite. Fingers crossed at least (if voting changed anything it’d be… etc. )

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These days I think it is more that most unions are perceived as supporting Democrats

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Resentment, conscious or subconscious, of it being perceived and said he didn't do it on his own and by his own merits, that he ran with the pack and only by belonging to a union got what he got, that could be the psychology of his resentment and hate, and ultimately, self-loathing displaced. I don't want to make too much of this on such slim information but that being said, it is a truth undeniable that strong emotional reactions running contrary to the social and material context can only be accounted for in terms of personality conflicts and internal struggles unresolved.

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The guy was an all-around dick and one of the most unpleasant people to be around I've ever met. So you may be on to something!

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I'll leave it to you, doctor, who were closer to the clinical assessment. I assume he's dead. One less person to hold the rest of us back?

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I honestly don't know his status, but I would like to think he's still alive and finding better ways to live.

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The Chattanooga News-Free Press was a right-wing local rag (we called it the "News-Free") that was so poorly printed there were ink smears in it on multiple occasions. Yet they bought out and merged with the Times.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Happy Labor Day Roy, and to your family.

Unfortunately, today we live in the gig economy and with AI technology, it will only get worse. The days of unions are long gone; at least Unions as we know it. Globalization, whether you consider it a blessing or a curse, has changed the business dynamics for all global industries.

Yet, for those who think globalization is bad, think again. Corporations outsource to create less expensive goods and society at large benefits because more consumers can afford what we’re previously deemed luxury items. And by reducing overall production and manufacturing costs, companies actually save more jobs in times of recession, because they are manufacturing a portion of their products overseas and can withstand a recession more effectively.

Additionally, global outsourcing and trade deals also contributes to tens of millions of jobs; NAFTA alone created tens of millions and that trade deal only affected three nations: Canada, Mexico and the United States.

And protectionism is a double edge sword. Tariffs by Trump on China, to protect 5k steel workers, cost tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs that rely on steel as a major manufacturing component and resource. Not to mention, 3,500 of those steel jobs were lost anyway; within two years because the US steel manufacturers still couldn’t compete globally.

In addition, China retaliated and destroyed our $42 billion agricultural export industry, which required a $42 billion federal bailout that we are still paying for. The second largest bailout in US history after the financial industry bailout.

So while I sympathize with union workers, and workers in general who need several jobs just to make ends meat, the issues are far more complex than we understand.

In the immortal words of HL Mencken:

“Complex problems have simple, easy to understand, wrong answers!”

I’ll leave it at that. Happy Labor Day everyone and have a wonderful week!...:)

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Look at the big picture here: The share of revenue claimed by American workers was steady at about two-thirds, then declined starting in the 80's to hit a little more than 50% around 2012. Thankfully, it's been rising again.

And that one statistics underlies so much: Labor share at 66% meant working-class people had things relatively good, work life was less stressful and demanding, you could support a family on one income, and two parents working two jobs each was unheard of. Labor share around 50% means... well, we can all see what that means.

And it's an indicator of the relative balance of power between workers and bosses. So many things happened to shift that balance, you mention some of them: Globalization is a big one, the destruction of labor unions begun under Carter and continued under Reagan, the growth in automation.

Anyway, labor's share went down and we could make it come back up, and that seems to be happening now. A tight labor market helps, but increases in unionization help, as do an increased willingness of unions to strike.

Unions may also be helped in the long run by the shift in jobs from manufacturing to service, because service jobs can't be shipped overseas. The labor movement of the 50's and 60's had a vulnerability in that it was overly concentrated in manufacturing, jobs that could be more easily exported, rather than spread broadly across the whole economy. We won't make that mistake again.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

One data point from a small factory during the great off-shoring movement, an alt version of the steel story:

Small US steel shops outcompeted the furriners on quality so well that it made up for the added up-front price.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

And as we all saw with the pandemic, having your suppliers five thousand miles away may not be such a smart thing to do.

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More aptly having all your eggs in one basket. China is the issue, not supply chain logistics.

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In our case, quality was the issue. Did not care where the materials came from as long as they were the best we could afford. The crap steel that we rejected came from France...

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None of these developments explains why unions cannot exist, except that they represent incredibly large corporate profits that the bosses do not wish to share, which is even more reason to have them.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

The french fries, depleted, can never be reheated

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I remember the serious people saying the decline in manufacturing meant the natural death of unions, because the service economy, being relatively low in union membership, would ALWAYS be low in union membership (well, except for the teachers, and the truck drivers, and the mail carriers...) Guess the Starbucks workers didn't get that memo.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

There’s a difference between public sector unions and private industry unions. Politicians rely heavily on public sector unions for money and votes. Private industries fund anti-union politicians and have far more money and experts (paid hatchet men) willing to take up their cause....:)

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I look at it like the voter-suppression trickery that Republicans use, they have lots of money and the best lawyers money can buy, and lots of times it works, but it doesn't always work and it can be simply overwhelmed by sufficient voter turnout (as we've seen in Georgia.) Same is true with union elections, and that's why the shift in workers attitudes about unions that Roy notes is so important. Tesla could become a union shop, all that's needed is for a sufficient number of its workers to decide that they want it and aren't going to listen to the boss any more. Maybe not tomorrow, but some day, and there's no long-term economic or technological trends rendering it impossible. With union elections, management needs to win every time, we only need to win once.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Musk, would close up shop and move the jobs overseas or to a confederate state more amenable to screwing their employees with low minimum wage and few benefits. Think Texas or my state of Florida...:)

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

And what prevents the workers in those confederate states from voting "yes" in a union election? True, a sufficient number have not yet, but there's no long-term economic or technological trend that makes this impossible, it's just a matter of attitudes, and those can change - and are changing right now.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I didn’t say they shouldn’t exist. But progress creates change; and there are always winners and losers. How many industries did the smart phone destroy? Flashlights, calculators, the music industry as we know it with the IPod and companies like Spotify? The internet affected newspapers and journalism, and has revolutionized the industry; perhaps not necessarily for the better; Coupled with social media, and you have a perfect storm for the media industry. And we’re currently seeing how streaming companies have effected the movie, acting and writers guilds.

My point is the type of jobs with pension guarantees, tenure and certain benefits are disappearing regardless of corporate greed. And progress in robotics and AI will increase corporate reliance on these technologies. Capitalism is cut throat, and corporations that are slow to adapt will disappear, because they won’t be able to compete effectively or efficiently in today’s global markets.

I agree with you that it’s unfair, and perhaps we can find a equilibrium between labor, management and technology. I just don’t think labor leaders will accept the types of changes necessary to keep the unions afloat.

What exactly would you suggest as a reasonable solution? I just think we can’t comprehend or adjust politically to technological advances and improvements fast enough, to keep up with labor demands.

We’re always one major recession away from industries and sectors, completely disappearing for good. It’s sad, but true.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Doesn't the precarity of modern jobs point to an opening for even greater union membership? Few people have work as precarious as actors, that's why their union is so important, it provides stability and even a pension plan. Who tracks all your work on hundreds of projects to accrue your time towards a pension? The union does.

I think you have a view of union membership that equates it with "Work 40 years for the same company, get a gold watch." And it's true for a time that for many people those two things coincided. But gig workers can organize too, and have a greater need to.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Also, I've been hearing this talk all my life, that new technologies and shifts in the economy will lead to mass unemployment, tens of millions of surplus humans, because business won't need us as workers any more. And look at where we are today, one of the tightest labor markets in history, businesses putting up a constant stream of complaints about how they can't get workers. Guess they still needed us after all? And for all the talk of how tech is going to obsolete us mere humans, how many movies are getting made right now?

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I’ll address both posts in this reply. It’s harder for unions to materialize in the private service sectors, outside of the hotel industry. Most service workers are either part-time or it’s a transitional job; they’re in college, retired and need the work, etc....

And how many 40 year old companies exist today? The Auto industry almost collapsed in 2008. Texas Instruments and US steel disappeared. Many other major industries and companies consolidated over the years in order to stay competitive. Even companies like Verizon Communications will be changing their business models very soon.

Labor intensity is becoming a thing of the past. Once we transition from fossil fuels, millions of those jobs will disappear as well.

We have a tight labor market because more and more people from the baby boomer generation are retiring at faster rates.

The Labor participation rate only includes those people working and those looking for work. It doesn’t include unemployed people who retire, or drop out of sight. And many dropped out after 2008 and didn’t come back because the pay and benefits was subpar, compared to pre Great Recession times.

Currently, we have about 11 million jobs available that are going unfulfilled. Half are labor intensive but low pay; agriculture, slaughterhouses, etc. The other half are high paying jobs but require a skill set most Americans are lacking...:)

As to all the new movies being made; most are low budget and the actors are getting work, but for low wages in order for the streaming companies to make the profit margins they need to keep investors happy.

Remember the term opportunity costs: it’s the difference between an investor putting his money into one investment vs another with the same risk profile, but a different rate of return. That’s what these streaming services are up against.

Wages across the board are falling, unless your in the executive suite or possess a skill set most don’t. It’s a fact of life; And here we are...:)

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"Most service workers are either part-time or it’s a transitional job; they’re in college, retired and need the work, etc...."

This can't possibly be true. I just googled "How many service sector workers in the US" and it came back with 107 million.

"And how many 40 year old companies exist today?"

Yes, we tend to association unionization with industries like autos and steel. That doesn't mean unionization can't happen elsewhere, and as I've said, precarious gig work (like acting!) is where unions can make a real difference.

Just stepping back to look at all of your comments, you seem to be associating union membership with a certain type of job (blue collar, industrial, does he carry a lunch bucket too?) and if you see those jobs going away, then unions must go away too. While ignoring all the other examples of union growth in areas that don't fit this stereotype.

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It doesn’t matter how many service workers there are, it matters how many are full time employees who intend on staying in that industry. And how many in the service industry are undocumented? Have you considered they can’t be unionized?

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023Author

"My point is the type of jobs with pension guarantees, tenure and certain benefits are disappearing regardless of corporate greed." The wildly *increased* size of the profits earned in the globalized economy suggests that "corporate greed," as you put it, is the reason why workers don't have these protections. It is not a law of nature that profits cannot be shared with workers if they came from overseas.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I agree. All workers should participate in profit sharing; it’s make for more loyal, happy and productive employees. But the corporate salaries alone wouldn’t fix much.

Investor profits are the problem. But it comes down to opportunity cost; the difference between an investor with limited investment resources to invest in one company vs another.

Would you invest in a company in a particular industry that offers profit sharing for workers, but offers its shareholders less of a return, or a similar company in the same industry that doesn’t offer profit sharing, but provides a greater EPS for its investors?

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Who buys stock in Mercedes or Porsche or Volkswagen or General Motors or Ford or Boeing or Raytheon or Northrop-Grumman? Lots of unionized companies listed on the stock exchange, and SOMEBODY must be buying their stock?

And just look at the amount of consolidation in the companies I've listed there. Once the US had a hundred car companies, now there are three. The UAW is still here. Once we had a hundred aircraft manufacturers, now just one commercial and a half-dozen miliary. The IAM represents them all.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Volkswagen employs 6,000 people in the US and accounts for only 6.5% of global automotive sales. BMW in the US is non-Union, and operates in SC, a right to work state.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"What exactly would you suggest as a reasonable solution? I just think we can’t comprehend or adjust politically to technological advances and improvements fast enough, to keep up with labor demands."

With all due respect, this reminds me of universal healthcare discussions years ago with all the hand-wringing arguments over whether or not universal health insurance can contain costs, how services might possibly be rationed since health care is a limited resource, how it would possibly manage the predisposition of people to demand health services even for minor complaints, etc. etc. As if the solution needed to be invented in a vacuum, when it exists in one form or another in every single country in the industrialized world.

tl;dr Germany (50% of all workers unionized), Norway (50%), Sweden (70%), Finland (75%), etc.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

I don’t disagree, but this is America. In those countries CEO’s can only make a certain percentage of a salad higher than the least paid worker in the company. They have nationalized healthcare and taxes are much higher.

I’m not disputing your premise or your rationale; we agree. Just try selling it to half this country who will call you a communist and socialist. End of story!

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We just have to sell it to the more-than-half who won't.

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023

In this country, we organize one workplace at a time. The only more-than-half we need to convince are the workers on the job. The shifts in attitudes that Roy is pointing out give me hope we'll have more success on that in the future.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

But we CERTAINLY can't learn anything from other countries, because something something American exceptionalism.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

One of the differences is that rich people in America are just more ideologically driven. Rich people in Europe are happy to get rich owning and running an unionized company. Could they get a little richer by busting the union? Maybe, but why take the risk on killing the goose when it's laying such pretty gold eggs?

Meanwhile, here in the USA, there's incredible ideological* hostility towards unions that can't be explained simply by the somewhat higher costs associated with a union. Costs for all sorts of inputs rise all the time. businesses adjust, they don't fly into a rage and threaten to burn the place down unless the input is "labor."

*Merely pointing out here that people who own and run large corporations are not calculating machines, they are human beings with biases and prejudices who make decisions that are warped by their biases and prejudices.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

"Only when the last union is crushed and the last public school is de-funded, will the true Golden Age Of Plenty arrive."

Way too many folks at the lower end of the food chain believe this hogwash. I gotta give credit where credit is due to the boys in Marketing.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Kurt Andersen did some very good work in his book Evil Geniuses. He balances the historical and the personal in a very compelling way. There can be no doubt that right-wing business interests since the 1970s have worked consistently to unwind the New Deal and organized labor both in policy and law (legislated, enforced, interpreted in court rulings) and in public relations.

The fact that right now, today, the GOP and business leaders call out Democrats as socialists and commies is a testament to how very uncomplicated these things are.

In a world in which people were looking at the subtleties you have outlined above, people would laugh when someone tried to red bait their opponents, but instead we find it working.

Nixon on HUAC and Joe McCarthy with his lists of card carriers would find regular seats on Fox, and a ready audience in 2023.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

My mother, who always voted Republican, nevertheless proudly claimed that her older brother helped found the bakers' union in Newark in the 1920s; and my dad was represented by the IBEW, which is how my siblings and I got a start into the middle class.

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Sep 4, 2023·edited Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

A story about my Dad: He was an air traffic controller, not a tower controller, but an "en-route" controller, the guy who gets the hand-off as the plane departs the controlled airspace around an airport and helps it get to the next airport. He and his co-workers weren't unionized, so they went to PATCO (anybody remember PATCO?) to say they wanted to set up a local. "Oh no", said PATCO, "For you are merely en-route controllers, not fit to share a union with exalted tower controllers such as us!" (shades of the old craft unionism in that, I think.) Anyway, they left PATCO behind and formed their own local - with the Teamsters.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

And this was in the day when the Teamsters were a force to be reckoned with. When the time came to negotiate their first contract, the company he worked for was based in Chicago, where did the negotiations take place? At Teamsters headquarters in Washington D.C., of course.

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When PATCO was on strike, TIME magazine found an airline pilot to quote. He said the controllers seemed to have enough time for idle chatter on the frequencies.

After all, the pilots are irreplaceable professionals, and would never wind up in the corporate crosshairs...

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

35 year member of the APWU here. Now comfortably retired. The Service no longer calls it a "pension", it's an annuity. Somehow the p-word became a dirty word? Of course, Labor Day should be celebrated on May 1 but that's not how things work here in 'Murica. Cheers and blessings to all.

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I cannot believe that anyone would not join a union if one were available. I was a member of the NTEU and I am enjoying tangible benefits in my retirement. I was in the New York Region of the FDIC. Union support was strong in New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore (my office), not in places like Harrisburg. They were freeloading assholes. Taking benefits w/o paying dues. They were also the type to complain about welfare queens.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

Sam Alito hates unions as much as John Roberts hates voting rights.

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Sep 4, 2023Liked by Roy Edroso

CWA Local NYC, UFT District 17, IATSE 52(?) here.

I don't think the working class imbeciles of the 70's and 80's bought into trickle-down as much as they already owned a complete set of racist shibboleths adorned with a complete ignorance of How Things Really Work. Many of my blue-collar colleagues lacked any awareness that unions accorded POWER over their lives that capitalism denied. Thus, in a stupid betrayal of self-interest, they were easy pickings to get sucked into the right-wing Limbaugh anti-union (anti-working class, anti-liberal, etc.) vortex to the point where, even as fucking union members, they still supported Reagan. I've lost touch, but I have no doubt the older ones moved on to support Trump.

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