Beleaguered Corporate America Needs Your Help to Fight the Growing Power of Big Labor!

Comments

1
I'll take union bosses over corporate overlords any day.
2
*sigh* like "freedom" the word "prosperity" is all right wing code now
3
The radical right is waging a war of extermination against labor. It is not hyperbole to say that, they mean to deprive us all of the means of supporting ourselves. Established unions need to quit playing defense in response. How different might the conversation here in WA be if, instead of being complacent in the face of Boeing's bald-faced theft from the state and the workers, the government instead claimed eminent domain over the Everett factory and sold it to the IAM wholesale for a barleycorn initial payment and a zero-interest long-term repayment?
4
Isn't that a bit ironic considering where the BIAW was getting their money?
5
"Current law gives them power to take money from workers and spend it on their big-government agenda with almost no accountability at all. It has to stop."

It's been many, many years since I've heard right-wing propaganda which isn't just pure Freudian projection. They never accuse others of doing anything unless they're doing it themselves.
6
@4 are you aware that BIAW gets most of its money from operating a retrospective rating workman's comp pool? It is an obscure feature of workman's comp in WA. Non-profits such as BIAW form a pool. Employers in high risk industries like construction join this pool. A big chunk of every dollar not spent on claims gets refunded to the employers and the pool operator takes a slice. The participating employers sign agreements that include clauses where they give up the right to manage their own accident claims. The pool does every underhanded thing it can think of to close claims.

On the one hand these pools have been big a factor in the increased focus on workplace safety over the last couple of decades. The reality is that most employers just keep doing what they do, put on a little safety whitewash and screw the injured workers hard. Why do you think the first thing they do after an accident is drug test everybody. Smoked pot in the last month? Its your fault. The things that I have seen their claims managers do is disgusting. The first thing they do is visit accident victims in the hospital and get them to sign a bunch of paperwork against their interest.
7
Actually its funny that they complain about taking money from workers because in WA a portion of the workman's comp premium is deducted from the employees net pay. The employees don't get this retrospective rating refund, the employers and the pool does. Some employers give a small portion of it as a "safety bonus" but these are usually arranged to create peer pressure to not report accidents.
8
McCabe is simply butt-hurt that he wasn't born in the 1100's, when property owners were considered absolute monarchs and could treat anyone living or working on their land as vassals.

Of course, McCabe probably imagines himself as being one of the feudal lords (or at the very least in the inner circle) of this system, whereas the reality is that he'd simply be treated as another serf; a useful, toadying, sycophant to be sure, but still a serf.

In other words, exactly what he is today...
10
Now that we had Democrats and Republicans doing the bidding of Boeing, pressuring the Machinists to take a contract ridding themselves of pensions, I think they'll be coming after state employees next. And honestly, I don't know how lawmakers can stand up now for a principalleosition when they've already sold out their constituency.

It's been a great ride, this middle class thing, but I guess its time to start taste testing the kitty kibble for my retirement.
11
@ 9, that's technically correct, but the fact is that when union members, who are far more numerous than executive or individually wealthy investors with large stakes in big companies, do well, society does well. So even if union bosses are acting only in the interests of union members, it actually benefits us all. That was proven by the rise of the middle class during the heyday of the unions, and has largely been proven in reverse by the shrinkage of the same since the 80s.
12
@9 The interests of working people are inherently a public good. "Union bosses" is mealy-mouthed bullshit. Horizontal and industrial unions like the IWW are, of course, better, but there's no comparing union administration to thieving industrialists and capitalists.
13
The pot calling the kettle black.
14
@9: Corporations exist to advance the interests of their shareholders, not to serve the public good. Unions, at least, represent the people who are most likely to be screwed over by bad business practices.
16
@15 so fucking what? Remember when rampant, barely-regulated, naked greed in Banking destroyed our economy five years ago, setting us back 40 years?

So what was your point, again?
17
@9: "Don't get me wrong, I'm not against unions in principal [sic]".

No, we don't get you wrong. And no to both your claims in @15.
18
@15 The decline of the American auto industry is linked inextricably to the UAW becoming a friendly corporate partner of the Big Three instead of a union. As for "teachers' unions", more idiotic right-wing talking points.
20
@15 No and no. Detroit got clobbered because they offered your choice of a really big shitty car, a kinda big shitty car, or a small REALLY shitty car. Their design and engineering choices in the mid-70s were horrible, and they were very slow to change that. Ever drive a Mustang II? Blortch!
21
@19: Just because you type something does not make it true.

Please provide evidence for your assertion that unionized workers are all unimaginative and lazy slobs who just want to run out the clock and drink beer.
22
@19 - oh please. Seattle is known as one of the best places in the world to have a heart attack. Why? Because unionized firefighters decided to be innovative and get into the EMS business. They're constantly thinking of new ways to more effectively do their job, and are quite successful at it.

Or look at Boeing, whose unionized engineers designed the best planes in the world that were coincidentally built by unionized machinists. When did the company start to go to shit? When "the brains" as you describe them decided that sticking $ out of the company and crushing unions was preferable to building the best product in the world.

Unions are like anything else. There's good people and bad people involved in then. But their core value is looking out for their members, or maximizing people over profits. I'll take that any day over maximizing profit over people.

As an aside, when is the Stranger going to get off its ass and become a union shop?
23
My New Year's resolution? Strike a blow against the power of big business executives.

Or maybe a couple. And hard.

These business executives have rigged our politics. Current law gives them power to take money from workers and spend it on their big-business agenda with almost no accountability at all. It has to stop.

There is no path to more freedom and prosperity in Washington State that doesn't include reducing the power of big business executives.
24
@15,

The UAW gave concession after concession after concession to American automakers to try to get them to stay here; you know, like you *demanded* of Boeing machinists? Automakers still moved operations to other countries. And how are unionized German automakers doing?
25
McCabe might do well to take a look at California where anti-union nuts have been trying for *years* to take away unions' ability to use member dues on lobbying. Year after year, the voters strike those initiatives down, but they just keep coming back for more.

Typically 75 percent of non-union voters support those initiatives, while 75 percent of union voters do not. Seems like union members are pretty happy to see their dues being spent on lobbying. Perhaps McCabe should butt out.
26
@15 - I'd personally put most of the blame for the 70s Detroit crash on the OPEC embargo, which had nothing to do with either the bosses or the unions, really.

And, to chime in on the union/anti-union debate: sure, when unions were powerful, some labor leaders acted badly, the same way that the leaders of any powerful corporate body tend to act badly, but union leaders haven't really been powerful since the 70s. Since then, it's been business leaders that have had all the power, and have been acting against the public good with complete impunity. One of the best way to check the power of business, and thus reduce some of the bad behavior of business leaders, is to empower unions, so that's clearly what we need here and now. It's all about context.
28
Goldy - nice use of the word 'execrable' when describing the BIAW. Very apt, concise with just a touch of humor to lighten the jab.
29
9, I think you're extremely naive in the lengths in which corporate bosses will go to create despicable living conditions for everyone else but them. Unions have been strong in the past, but they never, ever have been "in control." What do we see about us? A vast gulf between the super-wealthy & everyone else. Global climate crisis, which is created by the huge profit made off of burning fossil fuels, and the suppression of alternative energy sources which threaten those profits.

Also, you childishly offer the false dichotomy of unions vs. corporations. Unions aren't the ultimate answer, but they're a good step in the right direction. Adequately funded schools are the ultimate answer, nor are environmental regulations, but they're steps in the right direction against the real threat: the monumental greed of a few. The sort of greed and careless disregard for humanity that dwarfs any genocide you'd care to mention.
30
Union bosses?! What is this, 1930? There are no union bosses, you have eliminated, intimidated, or neutered unions for the last 30 years.
32
@ 15, absolutely not. Detroit declined because they didn't know how to handle the energy crisis. Japanese automakers did. Similar to why they almost went bankrupt in the most recent decade.
33
@31 I see your point here, but shouldn't we be trying to actively make wind and solar work better, rather than trying to stop investment in these technologies--technologies that must develop if we're going to be able to mitigate any of the damage we're doing to the planet. Even if you don't believe global warming is happening due to oil and coal consumption, at some point oil and coal are gonna run out. Business is addicted to oil and coal because it is unrealistically cheap (who pays for the externalities of oil and coal? Not the businesses using them), and all modern business cares about is profit in the short-term. If business put any stock in long-term sustainability, there would be investment in clean energy programs to rival the investment in oil and coal and definite plans to reduce and eliminate reliance on oil and coal in the mid and long-term.

To say that business isn't greedy and short-sighted and reliant on short-term profit and ROI to the detriment of all else (environment, employee well-being, local communities and economies, etc.) is to ignore the lessons of the last 5 years. Thank god there are unions to at least look out for the rights of workers.
34
@22: McDonnell Douglas bought out Boeing with Boeing's own money, or so the joke goes.

Translation: Boeing bought McDonnell Douglas, but it was McDonnell Douglas's culture that took over.

It's left as an exercise to the reader just what kind of skullfucking sell-your-mother-for-a-dollar culture that was and is, but don't ever forget it.
35
@31 There is no private corporate incentive to manufacture products that allow us to harvest free energy rather than perpetually buy it from them. Unless we were to auction off sunlight and wind resource rights to private energy companies and then charge users for their use of the newly privatized resources...
36
This is a little off-topic, but I say that instead of giving Boeing the biggest state tax break in US history, the Washington legislature should have formally invited Airbus to set up shop here and take advantage of the best trained, most experienced, most productive plane-building workforce in the world.
37
@15: The decline of the Big Three in the 70s was because they kept building crappy cars while the Japanese carmakers were eating their lunch.
38
@3. YES