Tuesday, July 26

US labor

+ I was really interested in NPR's report on the split in the AFL-CIO yesterday. What is the place of unions in today's world? They had the Andy Stern, president of the SEIU, on and he advocated a return to a GM-type economy. But GM is sucking wind and trying to get out of their health care. He said workers should be able to bridge to the middle class, and I agree with that. He said now executives get most of the money. That's partially true, but, really, the whole thing is driven by the price on Wall Street. We've cut back on pay and benefits and funnelled everything into the stock market where the rich get richer. He said used to be the largest employer (GM) took care of people and a family could do well on one income. Now, the largest employer (Wal-Mart) has made a lot of money for a lot of people, especially Waltons and other stock holders, but not for employees. It'd take three or four Wal-Mart incomes for a family to do well (he said). I agree with a lot of that stuff. On the other hand, I'm a Barnettian and that includes globalization and isn't the modern stock market and its machinations part of that?

Can you tell I haven't thought myself clear on this one yet? I would really value your input.

For my part, I think the new organization is a good idea (of course, I always like new stuff). I imagine the AFL-CIO is institutionalized and too slow to move.

What do you think?
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