THIS IS WHY WHEN LABOR AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATIONS AROUND THE WORLD ARE SHOUTING TO GET RID OF NEO-LIBERALISM AND SENDING THOSE POLS PACKING---IN THE US LABOR AND JUSTICE ORGANIZATION LEADERS SUPPORT CLINTON NEO-LIBERALS AND DO NOT EDUCATE THEIR MEMBERSHIP ON PUBLIC POLICY AND CIVICS.
Some areas of the US have strong union organization fighting corporate Democrats these days---but not enough to get rid of a Congress and statehouse made full of them with 20 election cycles of union support for Clinton neo-liberals.
What we see in the news every day now is Democrats fighting for unions-----union leaders are telling members that Republicans are trying to kill us ALL THE WHILE OBAMA AND CLINTON ARE WORKING WITH BUSH NEO-CONS TO WRITE AND PUSH TPP.
The 'Democrats' in Congress are almost entirely Clinton neo-liberals that killed US unions and every progressive liberal gain over decades. They are not fighting for unions....they KILLED UNIONS. So, when national labor union leaders allow these headlines it is a bunch of bull. Do you really think the National Labor Board will exist if Trans Pacific Trade pact is installed? Who is trying to Fast Track TPP? Clinton and Obama neo-liberals.
I have labor friends that tell me they are against Federal programs they see as give-aways so they may think ending Federal programs like War on Poverty was fine----until their plush labor union health plans were attacked and are to be dismantled by Clinton and Obama neo-liberal health reform----now those US labor union members will be pushed to a gutted Medicaid for All with the rest of Americans. All of these policies are Republican and they all are designed to maximize wealth for the few and almost no one will escape the downward slide into third world poverty. Both national labor and justice organization leaders knew this was where Clinton and Obama neo-liberals were going.
SO WAKE UP LABOR UNION MEMBERS AND ALL LABOR----YOU MUST DISMANTLE THE INTERNATIONAL STRUCTURES OF LABOR UNIONS THAT OPERATE JUST AS A GLOBAL CORPORATION AND NOT IN THE INTEREST OF ITS LABOR MEMBERSHIP. WE NEED LABOR UNIONS----BUT THEY MUST BE LOCAL. GET RID OF CLINTON WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE NEO-LIBERALS----THEY ARE LESS THAN 20% OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY.
Below you see a Republican slant on unions fighting to basically take away all of the organizing rights that give unions power. Clinton neo-liberals broke the unions with free trade and now this tag team are neutralizing unions to the point of having no strength. This is the condition of US unions going into a possible Trans Pacific Trade Pact and it will be the same structure unions will be allowed if they organize in China.
Unions as partners with corporations.
We can win labor union rights back but to do so we need to get rid of the Clinton neo-liberals working just as hard as Republicans in neutralizing unions.
Democrats Fighting for Unions and Against the Economy
March 4, 2015 at 5:47 pm By Leon H. Wolf (Diary) from Leon H. Wolf (Diary)
Across the country, state governments have righted the ship from the brink of numerous fiscal disasters by decreasing the power of unions to coercively force members to join and to collectively bargain on non-salary issues (and thus hide budgetary costs). Within the private sector, the evidence continues to mount that unions are bad for the economy, bad for good employees, and bad for all workers in that they reduce the pool of available jobs.
Whatever the usefulness of unions in days past, in present day America they serve three purposes: 1) enriching union heads, 2) protecting lazy/bad employees, and 3) forcibly confiscating workers’ pay and using it to elect Democrats. Thus it is no surprise that at a time when union membership and popularity is at an all time low, Democrats are doing everything in their power to help unions, with the aid of the force of law, to coerce workers into joining unions and paying dues. As my #BATF colleague F. Bill McMorris notes:
House Republicans are moving to block President Obama’s top labor arbiter from implementing new union election rules that would give labor groups an advantage in unionization campaigns.
Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-AL)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Bradley ByrneHouse Republican AverageSee Full Scorecard63% (R., Ala.) told the House Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions on Tuesday that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) would “radically alter” the labor landscape through regulation rather than legislation. Byrne and congressional Republicans are employing the Congressional Review Act to attempt to block the NLRB from implementing changes they say are contrary to the law passed by Congress.
“The Board’s real goal is to dramatically tilt the outcome of elections in favor of union leaders by ambushing employers and workers without allowing them to fully understand their decision. The American people are on the losing end of the Board’s extreme culture of union favoritism,” he said.
* * *
Unions can spend months and even years wooing employees to sign petitions for election. Employers can encounter accusations of interference if they attempt to sway the process during this time. The existing process gives them time to present workers with the potential downsides of unionization. A speedier election limits a company’s ability to make the case against organization.
Byrne said in his opening remarks that the NLRB’s actions follow a trend of executive overreach from the White House.
“The Board’s rule eviscerates the right of employers to speak freely to employees during an organizing campaign,” he said in his prepared statement. “Congress amended the National Labor Relations Act to ensure employers have an opportunity to communicate with employees about union representation. Congress took this action not only to promote the voices of employers, but also to protect employee choice through a robust debate of important issues. The Board is overturning, by executive fiat, what Congress has expressly permitted by law.”
At the end of the day, Congress’ action is probably going to end up getting vetoed by the President. And even though, yet again, this executive action clearly exceeds the NLRB’s authority under the law, Democrats will doubtless vote to uphold Obama’s veto because we do not have a functioning Congress that can act in any way towards Obama other than that of a cringing, servile dog.
Nevertheless, it is useful for the American people to know exactly whose side the Democrats are on. And it’s not on the side of prosperity, workers, the economy, or the rule of law. It’s on the side of union thugs and their confiscation of hard earned worker money to line Democrat campaign coffers.
The post Democrats Fighting for Unions and Against the Economy appeared first on RedState
As part of progressive posing Obama and Clinton neo-liberals in Congress told all their neo-liberal organizations like NAACP, NOW, and state lawmakers to push the next fake progressive issue-----EQUAL PAY FOR WOMEN. This is straight from Hillary Clinton as she pretends to work for American women. The Federal civil rights laws enacted during Kennedy and that are being ignored because Clinton and Obama embraced the Federalism Act-----ARE ALREADY ON THE BOOKS AND SIMPLY NEED OBAMA AND THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO ENFORCE THEM. There was never any need to make new laws---what we saw were some states put this Federal law on their state books. Think what Trans Pacific Trade Pact and neo-liberalism does----it allows global corporations to come to the US to operate as they do overseas. Who are the workers exploited the most? Women. Think again at who will be the women at the top of the income ladder of skilled workers earning good incomes in the US----women from all over the world----not just US citizens.
Here in Maryland we had all the groups shouting for this at the same time NEVER MENTIONING THAT THE FEDERAL LAW ALREADY EXISTS. THIS HAPPENS BECAUSE NEO-LIBERALS DO NOT RECOGNIZE FEDERAL LAWS REGARDING EQUAL PROTECTION, CIVIL, WOMEN, LABOR RIGHTS. Since Maryland does not have Rule of Law or public justice -----no DLLR that oversees labor rights and laws----NONE OF THIS WILL BE ENFORCED....but O'Malley will campaign as a champion of women's rights.
Federal law: Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Main articles: Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
One year after passing the Equal Pay Act, Congress passed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Title VII of this act makes it unlawful to discriminate based on a person’s race, religion, color, or sex. Title VII attacks sex discrimination more broadly than the Equal Pay Act extending not only to wages but to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment. Thus with the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, an employer cannot deny women equal pay for equal work; deny women transfers, promotions, or wage increases; manipulate job evaluations to relegate women’s pay; or intentionally segregate men and women into jobs according to their gender.
Legislation passed by the Federal Government of the United States in 1963 made it illegal to pay men and women different wage rates for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions
As you see below it is women of color that are victim to this discrimination the most and it is the NAACP and Obama that lead in making sure neo-liberal policies of ignoring Federal Equal Protection laws are not enforced! IT IS RIDICULOUS!
DO YOU SEE HOW SIMPLY KNOWING THESE BASIC POLICIES AND KNOWING THE POLTICAL STANCES ALLOWS EVERYONE TO MAKE INFORMED DECISIONS IN VOTING? DO YOU SEE WHY MARYLAND AND ESPECIALLY BALTIMORE IS DEVOID OF ANY TALK ON PUBLIC POLICY?
A breakthrough in women's quest for equal pay After decades of advocacy, an equal pay bill is expected to pass later this month.Beverly Cooper Neufeld April 14, 2015 1:00 p.m. Crain's New York Business.
In commemoration of National Equal Pay Day April 14, New Yorkers once again are standing together in cities across the state calling for action to close the gender wage and opportunity gap. This year will be different, with the anticipated passage later this month of a state equal-pay bill, a plank of the Women's Equality Act. After decades of advocacy, and more than two years of political wrangling, unprecedented bipartisan support will carry this much-needed reform to the governor to be signed into law.
Why now? Elected officials are responding to the overwhelming public call—across race, gender, economic-status and political-party lines—for legislative measures to ensure equal pay for equal work. The equal-pay bill will be a powerful tool toward that end by guaranteeing workers the right to share salary information without penalty, clarifying and closing loopholes in current law, and discouraging employers from unfair pay practices by increasing potential damages.
This legislation targets pay discrimination, which results in a wage gap that deprives women and their families of much-needed financial resources and long-term security. The statewide wage gap of 86% is smaller than the national average of 78%, but it costs the average full-time female worker in our state $8,250 annually. That translates into more than a year of groceries, eight months of rent or three years of family health insurance.
The penalty is much greater for New York's African-American women and Latinas, who earn 66% and 55% as much as men, respectively. And, in regions such as Western New York and parts of New York City, women earn closer to 78% of what men do. The loss of revenue adds up to more than $23 billion for New York state's economy.
Working families are especially harmed by the gender wage gap. Women head more than 1 million households in New York, and more than 63% of working mothers in the state are primary breadwinners or co-breadwinners. Paying women their fair share will boost the growth of the middle class and reduce the unacceptable rate of 29% of women-headed households below the poverty level.
Pay-confidentiality policies make it impossible for workers to determine if they are receiving equal pay for equal work, and the "fear of retaliation is the leading reason why people stay silent instead of voicing their concerns about bias and discrimination," according to the Supreme Court. With more than 60% of private-sector employees reporting that they are discouraged or prohibited from discussing wage and salary information, workers need protection from retaliation if they discuss pay. The new legislation will provide wage transparency.
The bill reflects a welcome shift in the conversation about pay equity from "why" to "how." Legislative measures, historically unpopular with business, are one important approach. What's missing is significant action from the business community to find solutions. Smart companies have already caught on to the fact that diverse workforces offer stronger returns, and that retention of female workers is better than the high turnover rates caused by workplace policies—including inequitable compensation—that do not support the needs of employees and their families.
This Equal Pay Day, we call on companies to step up or pay up—to take the lead by committing to a self-audit and a plan of action. Doing so will address not only employees' potential wage gaps, but their confidence gap as well.
Beverly Cooper Neufeld is the founder of the PowHer NY Equal Pay Campaign and president of BCN Consulting Group.
Correction: An equal pay bill is expected to pass later this month. This fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article's summary, published online April 14, 2015.
I have posted this before but as Cornel West is one of only a few shouting out about Clinton neo-liberalism and Obama as a neo-liberal----he does this probably because he is a tenured professor---see why Clinton made his first policy corporatization of universities and making adjuncts of tenured professors?
Neo-liberals like to say racism is gone ----no need to address racial inequity----just as a Republican does. The neo-liberal think tank Brookings Institution says this all the time. The reason they say that is a very few people in India, China, Malaysia, Nigeria, South Africa, Mexico, and Brazil have been made rich and powerful and all these nations are people of color. All those nations have the same wealth inequity with 5% of citizens having most of the wealth as any third world nation does. These people are the ones running US corporate sweat shops in the developing world. Now, with Obama's Executive Order on Immigration and Congress' change of citizenship for immigrants to buying citizenship for large amounts of money----we are seeing those made rich exploiting their nation's people coming to the US to set up shop to do the same here. Johns Hopkins has an entire industry of human trafficing of workers around the world. This will kill all US workers but people of color and women are always hurt the most. So, the NAACP and Historically Black College grads who are working with Clinton and Obama to do this may be the new middle-class now, but the goal will have them wiped out as this new round of world's rich people of color come to the US----with Trans Pacific Trade Pact allowing them to operate those same sweat shops here in the US.
All immigrants do not have this goal and most immigrants would like to come to a US having Rule of Law and Constitutional rights and not simply the same third world society from which they came. It is the goal of Clinton neo-liberal and Bush neo-con policy regarding TPP and immigrants that is bad.
If the goal of neo-liberalism is to allow only a small subset of people----5% or so----have money these people will come to the US from all over the world----not good odds for US citizens and people of color and women.
This article is very long ---please glance through to the last article!
“He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit”
By Cornel West
August 25, 2014
Cornel West is a professor at Union Theological Seminary and one of my favorite public intellectuals, a man who deals in penetrating analyses of current events, expressed in a pithy and highly quotable way.
I first met him nearly six years ago, while the financial crisis and the presidential election were both under way, and I was much impressed by what he had to say. I got back in touch with him last week, to see how he assesses the nation’s progress since then.
The conversation ranged from Washington, D.C., to Ferguson, Missouri, and although the picture of the nation was sometimes bleak, our talk ended on a surprising note.
Last time we talked it was almost six years ago. It was a panel discussion The New Yorker magazine had set up, it was in the fall of 2008, so it was while the financial crisis was happening, while it was actually in progress. The economy was crumbling and everybody was panicking. I remember you speaking about the financial crisis in a way that I thought made sense. There was a lot of confusion at the time. People didn’t know where to turn or what was going on.
I also remember, and this is just me I’m talking about, being impressed by Barack Obama who was running for president at the time. I don’t know if you and I talked about him on that occasion. But at the time, I sometimes thought that he looked like he had what this country needed.
So that’s my first question, it’s a lot of ground to cover but how do you feel things have worked out since then, both with the economy and with this president? That was a huge turning point, that moment in 2008, and my own feeling is that we didn’t turn.
No, the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life. You would think that we needed somebody—a Lincoln-like figure who could revive some democratic spirit and democratic possibility.
That’s exactly what everyone was saying at the time.
That’s right. That’s true. It was like, “We finally got somebody who can help us turn the corner.” And he posed as if he was a kind of Lincoln.
Yeah. That’s what everyone was saying.
And we ended up with a brown-faced Clinton. Another opportunist. Another neoliberal opportunist. It’s like, “Oh, no, don’t tell me that!” I tell you this, because I got hit hard years ago, but everywhere I go now, it’s “Brother West, I see what you were saying. Brother West, you were right. Your language was harsh and it was difficult to take, but you turned out to be absolutely right.” And, of course with Ferguson, you get it reconfirmed even among the people within his own circle now, you see. It’s a sad thing. It’s like you’re looking for John Coltrane and you get Kenny G in brown skin.
When you say you got hit hard, are you talking about the personal confrontation you had with him?
I’m just thinking about the vicious attacks of the Obama cheerleaders.
The personal confrontation you had with him is kind of famous. He got angry at you because you were saying he wasn’t progressive enough.
I just looked at him like “C’mon, man. Let the facts speak for themselves. I’m not into this rhetorical exchange.”
Is there anybody who thinks he’s progressive enough today?
Nobody I know. Not even among the progressive liberals. Nobody I know. Part of this, as you can imagine, is that early on there was a strong private-public distinction. People would come to me and say privately, “We see what you’re saying. We think you’re too harsh in how you say it but we agree very much with what you’re saying in private.” In public, no comment. Now, more and more of it spills over in public.
There’s a lot of disillusionment now. My liberal friends included. The phrase that I have heard from more than one person in the last year is they feel like they got played.
That’s true. That’s exactly right. What I hear is that, “He pimped us.” I heard that a zillion times. “He pimped us, brother West.” That’s another way of saying “we got played.”
You remember that enthusiasm in 2008. I’m from Kansas City. He came and spoke in Kansas City and 75,000 people came to see him.
Oh yeah. Well we know there were moments in Portland, Oregon, there were moments in Seattle. He had the country in the palm of his hand in terms of progressive possibilities.
What on earth ails the man? Why can’t he fight the Republicans? Why does he need to seek a grand bargain?
I think Obama, his modus operandi going all the way back to when he was head of the [Harvard] Law Review, first editor of the Law Review and didn’t have a piece in the Law Review. He was chosen because he always occupied the middle ground. He doesn’t realize that a great leader, a statesperson, doesn’t just occupy middle ground. They occupy higher ground or the moral ground or even sometimes the holy ground. But the middle ground is not the place to go if you’re going to show courage and vision. And I think that’s his modus operandi. He always moves to the middle ground. It turned out that historically, this was not a moment for a middle-ground politician. We needed a high-ground statesperson and it’s clear now he’s not the one.
And so what did he do? Every time you’re headed toward middle ground what do you do? You go straight to the establishment and reassure them that you’re not too radical, and try to convince them that you are very much one of them so you end up with a John Brennan, architect of torture [as CIA Director]. Torturers go free but they’re real patriots so we can let them go free. The rule of law doesn’t mean anything.
The rule of law, oh my God. There’s one law for us and another law if you work on Wall Street.
That’s exactly right. Even with [Attorney General] Eric Holder. Eric Holder won’t touch the Wall Street executives; they’re his friends. He might charge them some money. They want to celebrate. This money is just a tax write-off for these people. There’s no accountability. No answerability. No responsibility that these people have to take at all. The same is true with the Robert Rubin crowd. Obama comes in, he’s got all this populist rhetoric which is wonderful, progressive populist rhetoric which we needed badly. What does he do, goes straight to the Robert Rubin crowd and here comes Larry Summers, here comes Tim Geithner, we can go on and on and on, and he allows them to run things. You see it in the Suskind book, The Confidence Men. These guys are running things, and these are neoliberal, deregulating free marketeers—and poverty is not even an afterthought for them.
They’re the same ones who screwed it up before.
That was the worst moment [when he brought in the Rubin protégés].
We tried to point that out as soon as he became part of the Rubin stable, part of the Rubin group, and people didn’t want to hear it for the most part. They didn’t want to hear it.
Now it’s six years later and the search for the Grand Bargain has been fruitless. Why does he persist? I shouldn’t be asking you to psychologize him…
I think part of it is just temperament. That his success has been predicated on finding that middle ground. “We’re not black. We’re not white. We’re not rich. We’re not poor. There’s no classes in America. We are all Americans. We’re the American family.” He invoked the American family last week. It’s a lie, brother. You’ve got to be able to tell the truth to the American people. We’re not a family. We’re a people. We’re a nation. And a nation always has divisions. You have to be able to speak to those divisions in such a way that, like FDR, like Lincoln, you’re able to somehow pull out the best of who we are, given the divisions. You don’t try to act as if we have no divisions and we’re just an American family, with the poor getting treated in disgraceful ways and the rich walking off sipping tea, with no accountability at all, and your foreign policy is running amok with Israelis committing war crimes against precious Palestinians and you won’t say a mumbling word about the Palestinian children. What is history going to say about you? Counterfeit! That’s what they’ll say, counterfeit. Not the real thing.
Let’s talk about Ferguson. All I know about it is what I’ve been reading in the newspapers; I haven’t been out there. But I feel like there’s a lot more going on there than this one tragic killing.
Oh, absolutely. I mean, one, we know that this is a systemic thing. This thing has been going on—we can hardly get a word out of the administration in terms of the arbitrary police power. I’ll give you a good example: Carl Dix and I, three years ago, we went to jail over stop and frisk. We had a week-long trial and we were convicted, we were guilty. While the trial was going on, President Obama came into New York and said two things: He said that Michael Bloomberg was a terrific mayor even though he had stopped and frisked over four and a half million since 2002. Then he went onto say that Ed Koch was one of the greatest mayors in the last 50 years. This is right at a time when we’re dealing with stop and frisk, arbitrary police power, and Bloomberg is extending stop and frisk and proud of it. At least Bloomberg is honest about it. Bill De Blasio is just trying to walk a tightrope in this regard. At least Bloomberg was honest about it. He was glad that stop and frisk was in place. When we went to jail he said, “Y’all are wrong. If stop and frisk is stopped, then crime is going to go up…”
I just give you that as an example in terms of arbitrary police power because in Ferguson we’re talking about arbitrary police power, and this particular instance of it has been going on for a long time. The Obama administration has been silent. Completely silent. All of a sudden now, you get this uprising and what is the response? Well, as we know, you send out a statement on the death of brother Robin Williams before you sent out a statement on brother Michael Brown. The family asked for an autopsy at the Federal level, they hold back, so they [the family] have to go and get their own autopsy, and then the federal government finally responds. [Obama] sends Eric, Eric’s on the way out. Eric Holder’s going to be gone by December.
Oh, is he?
Yeah, he’s already said, this is it. He’s concerned about his legacy as if he’s somehow been swinging for black folk ever since he’s been in there. That’s a lie. He’s been silent, too. He’s been relatively silent. He’s made a couple of gestures in regards to the New Jim Crow and the prison-industrial complex, but that’s just lately, on his way out. He was there for six years and didn’t do nothing. See what I mean?
I see exactly what you mean, but I look at the pictures at Ferguson and it looks like it could be anywhere in America, you know.
Absolutely. It looks like it could be New York, Chicago, Atlanta, L.A. It’s like they’re lucky that it hasn’t hit New York, Chicago, L.A. yet, you know.
When they rolled out the militarized police, it frightened people. Something is going on here. It’s not breaking down the way it usually does. People are reacting to this in a different way.
That’s true. It’s a great moment, but let me tell you this though. Because what happens is you got Eric Holder going in trying to create the calm. But you also got Al Sharpton. And when you say the name Al Sharpton, the word integrity does not come to mind. So you got low-quality black leadership. Al Sharpton is who? He’s a cheerleader for Obama.
I haven’t followed him for years; I didn’t know that.
He meets with the president regularly.
I did not know that.
On his show on MSNBC…
I knew he had a show, I just…I guess I don’t watch it enough.
You gotta check that out, brother.
That’s the problem with me, I don’t watch enough TV.
It’s probably good for your soul but you still have to be informed about how decadent things are out here. But, no: MSNBC, state press, it’s all Obama propaganda, and Sharpton is the worst. Sharpton said explicitly, I will never say a critical word about the president under any condition. That’s why he can’t stand what I’m saying. He can’t stand what I do because, for him, it’s an act of racial traitorship to be critical of the president. There’s no prophetic integrity in his leadership.
I understand that. I think a lot of people feel that way. Not just in a racial sense but because Obama’s a Democrat. People feel that way in a partisan sense.
I think that’s true too. You have had some Democrats who’ve had some criticisms of the president. You’ve got some senator that has been critical about his violation of civil liberties and so forth, and rightly so. But Sharpton, and I mention Sharpton because Sharpton is the major black leader who is called on to deal with arbitrary police power. So, Trayvon Martin, what did he do? You got all this black rage down there calling for justice. Has there been justice for Trayvon Martin? Has the Department of Justice done anything for the Trayvon Martin case? None whatsoever. The same is true now with Ferguson. They call Sharpton down. He poses, he postures like he’s so radical. But he is a cheerleader for the Obama administration which means, he’s going to do what he can to filter that rage in neoliberal forms, rather than for truth and justice.
One last thing, where are we going from here? What comes next?
I think a post-Obama America is an America in post-traumatic depression. Because the levels of disillusionment are so deep. Thank God for the new wave of young and prophetic leadership, as with Rev. William Barber, Philip Agnew, and others. But look who’s around the presidential corner. Oh my God, here comes another neo-liberal opportunist par excellence. Hillary herself is coming around the corner. It’s much worse. And you say, “My God, we are an empire in decline.” A culture in decay with a political system that’s dysfunctional, youth who are yearning for something better but our system doesn’t provide them democratic venues, and so all we have are just voices in the wilderness and certain truth-tellers just trying to keep alive some memories of when we had some serious, serious movements and leaders.
One last thought, I was talking to a friend recently and we were saying, if things go the way they look like they’re going to go and Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee and then wins a second term, the next time there’ll be a chance for a liberal, progressive president is 2024.
It’d be about over then, brother. I think at that point—Hillary Clinton is an extension of Obama’s Wall Street presidency, drone presidency, national surveillance, national security presidency. She’d be more hawkish than he is, and yet she’s got that strange smile that somehow titillates liberals and neo-liberals and scares Republicans. But at that point it’s even too hard to contemplate.
I know, I always like to leave things on a pessimistic note. I’m sorry. It’s just my nature.
It’s not pessimistic, brother, because this is the blues. We are blues people. The blues aren’t pessimistic. We’re prisoners of hope but we tell the truth and the truth is dark. That’s different.
Thomas Frank is a Salon politics and culture columnist. His many books include “What’s The Matter With Kansas,” “Pity the Billionaire” and “One Market Under God.” He is the founding editor of The Baffler magazine.
This is a great article written by those socialists people love to hate. It shouts out exactly what I have been saying for SEVERAL YEARS! A well-positioned company----sounds like Wall Street doesn't it?
'Following the settlement, Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president in charge of relations with GM, issued a statement praising the deal. “The strategic process outlined today leaves room for our members to prosper, strong product investment for customers, and a healthy, well-positioned company,” she declared'.
Bringing the US automotive corporations like GM and Chrysler into bankruptcy was a plan that took the last decade to install with the UAW looking on. UAW is an International union that has embraced Clinton neo-liberals and won't let go! First automotive corporations were allowed to have financial arms like GMAC and then theose financial arms were allowed to implode themselves by buying subprime mortgage toxic loans and fell into bankruptcy when the 2008 crash hit. The automotive corporation did not fall into bankruptcy----the financial arm did. The solution was simply to recover the subprime mortgage fraud to GMAC and stabilize the corporation. UAW knew that -----everyone knew that. Obama was union-busting and instead of recovering the fraud ----he sent GM into bankruptcy shedding benefits, wages, jobs----THIS IS WHAT THE UAW LADY ABOVE DESCRIBES AS WELL-POSITIONED. Keep in mind this was all deliberate to bust the automotive union in the US. The UAW went along with it. Fast forward to today----the bond market is ready to collapse from FED policy that will kill US workers and public wealth and the FED's zero % interest financed these global corporate buy-backs that this UAW lady thinks is great. The UAW will get billions to support the downsized benefits....remember, the CADILLAC health plans for unions are going away with the Affordable Care Act supported by union leaders like the UAW. What this article doesn't say----is all of this corporate buy-back funded by FED's zero % interest is part of taking global corporations out of public listings and going private. So, any investments these workers have in their company will disappear and this profit-sharing may be it as Trans Pacific Trade Pact is waiting to be installed. The pension losses from the 2008 economic crash lost 1/2 their value to fraud and unions did not recover that fraud as they negotiated these benefits down. Flush pension funds and the same strong union benefits would have been the result had UAW demanded subprime mortgage loan fraud be recovered to stabilize GM.
GET RID OF THESE CLINTON NEO-LIBERAL LABOR LEADERS.
US auto union hails $5 billion GM stock buy-back
By Shannon Jones World Socialist Web Site
11 March 2015 The announcement by General Motors Monday that it will carry out a $5 billion stock buy-back and issue another $5 billion in dividend payments has evoked an enthusiastic response from the company’s wealthy investors. This includes the United Auto Workers union, which holds over $5 billion in GM stock through its retiree health benefit trust fund, making it the company’s largest single stockholder.
The move by GM is part of a deal with former Obama auto task force member Harry Wilson, who represented a group of hedge funds seeking a share of GM’s cash hoard of some $25 billion. Wilson had initially sought an $8 billion stock buy-back, but the huge payout offered by GM satisfied Wilson, who said he would drop his bid for a seat on the company’s board of directors.
Following the settlement, Cindy Estrada, UAW vice president in charge of relations with GM, issued a statement praising the deal. “The strategic process outlined today leaves room for our members to prosper, strong product investment for customers, and a healthy, well-positioned company,” she declared.
These remarks, spoken in the language of a corporate executive, sum up the anti-worker character of the UAW. Stock buy-backs are a form of financial parasitism, aimed at siphoning off profits extracted from the labor of workers and funneling them into the pockets of investors by driving up stock prices.
The UAW itself stands to profit handsomely from this operation. When Wilson first initiated talk of a buy-back, GM shares shot up by some 4 percent, translating into a $200 million gain in the UAW’s equity stake.
The growing phenomenon of stock buy-backs is an indication of the moribund character of US and global capitalism. Instead of using profits to expand production, invest in research and development, increase employment or raise wages, companies are with increasing frequency spending billions to pad the bank accounts of executives and wealthy investors by artificially driving up the price of their stock.
The funding of payouts to investors through stock buy-backs has reached manic proportions. According to a report in the Harvard Business Review, the 449 companies in the S&P 500 index paid out 54 percent of their earnings, a total of $2.4 trillion, to buy back their own stock between 2003 and 2012. Dividend payments accounted for another 37 percent, leaving almost nothing for productive investment.
The fact that the UAW lends its support to this process is indicative of what it has become. It functions not as a workers’ organization, but as a business entity whose financial model is based on obtaining a share of the profits sweated out of the workers in return for suppressing the class struggle and helping the corporations impose layoffs, cuts in wages and benefits, and speedup.
A small army of hundreds of full-time union officials each taking in more than $100,000 per year presides over an organization whose membership continues to dwindle. In an attempt to offset its declining dues revenue stream, the UAW relies increasingly on its direct holdings of company stock, giving it an even greater incentive to help push up profits at the expense of the workers.
The announcement of the stock buyback is particularly provocative given that the UAW is set to start talks later this year with GM and the other Detroit-based automakers on a new labor agreement. Senior autoworkers have had their wages frozen since 2007, while new-hires are working at a much lower starting wage, little more than half of standard base pay and barely above poverty level.
Among autoworkers there exists a strong sentiment to eliminate the two-tier wage system and secure a real wage increase and restored cost-of-living. Sentiment is also strong to eliminate the Alternative Work Schedule, which requires ten-hour shifts without the payment of overtime, and restore overtime pay after eight hours.
By its actions, the UAW is signaling in advance of the talks that it will place no significant demands on the auto companies, which are flush with profits based on the massive concessions wrung from autoworkers. Instead, the UAW will act as a “responsible” business partner by negotiating an agreement that allows the automaker to continue enriching stockholders.
The UAW’s deep hostility to the working class is epitomized by its friendly relations with corporate restructuring specialist Harry Wilson, who, in the 2009 bankruptcy and restructuring of GM, pushed for deep cuts in workers’ pay. Wilson epitomizes the further domination of Wall Street over the auto industry that was a central goal of the Obama administration’s restructuring scheme.
Wilson was also deeply involved in talks over the Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association, or VEBA, which was set up in 2007 to handle payment of retiree health benefits. He pushed for the VEBA, controlled by the UAW, to be funded by GM stock. The deal, a payoff to the UAW, gave the union a direct incentive to hold wages and benefits down in order to keep profits high.
Other unions also value Wilson’s services. The Teamsters recently appointed Wilson to be their representative on the board of directors of trucking company YRC Worldwide. In 2011, Wilson helped the Teamsters round up investors for the near-bankrupt company in exchange for labor concessions. Wilson reportedly pocketed millions from the deal.