Please write and send praise, critique, interesting links or random musings to

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The American People & Public Sector Unions

March 1st, 2011

by F. Grey Parker

John Vecchione still has a byline at FrumForum in spite of mounting evidence that not only are his theses poorly constructed, but his very premises are delusional. This morning, he published a piece capitalizing on the move to impose far-right corporatism in Wisconsin titled Public Sector Unions: Dragging The Dems Down. In it he writes:

"Republicans may allude to union thugs but the average person thinks Norma Rae.  So unions have provided votes, money and cultural good guy status to the Democrats.  The Democrats lost some of this with cultural liberalism.  This was in the shrinking private sector unions.  The public sector unions are fully on board with the cultural rot — I mean progressivism — of the Democrats."

Got it? In Vecchione's view, the decline of private sector labor organization was not a product of calculated Reaganomic fear-mongering against a frightened electorate; an electorate that it's worth noting was suffering through higher real unemployment and hunger than we have faced in this recession so far. It was not because of the powerful early 1980s “have-not” meme that convinced disorganized labor to resent those with better middle class security, compensation and benefits rather than aspire to demand the same for themselves. 

Rather, Vecchione would have us believe it was because of feminist bra burning. Or something. 

What's more, Vecchione seems not have noticed that Americans en masse are turning away from big business' carefully crafted "union-thug" boogeyman mystique and back to the Norma Rae mythology for the simple reason that what they are seeing on the ground in Wisconsin and beyond disproves the former and affirms the latter. 

He continues:

"A political movement’s success is not determined by raw numbers in an opinion poll.  It draws strength from cultural, financial and “intensity” resources to actually produce votes.  Unions have provided all three for Democrats.  They have done this without being a constituency that inflames independents.  Now that has changed. "

Here's where he seems to be reading an alternate world's tea leaves altogether. Pardon me for immediately turning to this morning's NY Times poll, but it might have done Vecchione some good to at least consider it's findings specifically because of the following revelation:

"But the nationwide poll found that embattled public employee unions have the support of most Americans – and most independents - as they fight the efforts of newly elected Republican governors in Wisconsin and Ohio to weaken their bargaining powers, and the attempts of governors from both parties to cut pay or benefits.

Americans oppose weakening the bargaining rights of public employee unions by a margin of nearly two to one: 60 percent to 33 percent. While a slim majority of Republicans favored taking away some bargaining rights, 

they were outnumbered by large majorities of Democrats and independents who said they opposed weakening them.

Those surveyed said they opposed, 56 percent to 37 percent, cutting the pay or benefits of public employees to reduce deficits, breaking down along party lines." EMPHASIS OURS

It was the very effective lie that unions were a danger to the interests of workers which served to diminish the average American's respect for organized labor 30 years ago. It was not, as he smugly submits, labor's embrace of "cultural rot." The American people have begun shifting perceptibly back to the view that they are under assault from corporatist greed. The public sector union debate in our country is serving to illustrate the stakes more clearly than they have been in some time. John Vecchione would be wise to acknowledge the fact, as the Tea Party folks demonstrated only months ago, that when a demographic has the general perception of it's core values coming under assault it tends to inspire support for whomever might be an effective defender. Now, Gov. Walker of Wisconsin is the face of the assault and the union the only thing that stands between him... and them.

No comments:

Post a Comment