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"Anti-union sentiment is sweeping historically pro-union bastions"

Hope and change to believe in:

The idea of a deep transformational political change in the Democratic rust belt was introduced to me by progressive columnist Harold Meyerson. Speaking before the 2010 election, he explained with some sorrow that there was a "triangle area" in the Midwest that was no longer captive to the unions:

From Pennsylvania up to Wisconsin and down to Missouri you have what's now the post-industrial Midwest, which also is the post-unionized Midwest.

The loss had a major effect on the ability of unions to communicate with their members. And as factories closed down, so too did unions:

The unions served as a vehicle of communication, in a more progressive direction. You still have the folks there, but neither the factories nor the unions are there anymore.

The  union communication wasn't just an occasional email or flyer. It was daily contact to propagandize, persuade, and sometimes to apply a little pressure or even intimidation. It was a cultural connection. More than a dozen years have passed since many Midwesterners have lived in the union petri dish, and since then they've been living in the real world. Now they feel as if government union workers are picking their pocket.

U.S. News & World Report columnist Peter Roff illustrates the Wisconsin taxpayer antipathy towards their fellow unionized public sector worker: by astounding margins ranging from 66% to 79%, vast majorities believe unionized government workers must pay more for their health insurance and contribute more for their pension plans, and limited pay raises should be tied to the inflation rate.

But there is another underlying reason why Democrats have been losing the battle for hearts and minds in the Midwest. Simply put, they have contempt for blue-collar workers. Shortly around the time of Al Gore's presidential candidacy, Democratic elites began to write off working class Americans who lived in the "flyover states." They did not fit into the cultural vision of party activists who were enthusiastic about pacifism, environmentalism, or racial and gender issues.

A telling piece worth an entire read and giving hope to the notion that this country might yet overcome the election of 2008.


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Comments (9)

For what it's worth, the un... (Below threshold)

For what it's worth, the unions had a place at one time and were decidedly needed. But now? It's as if the race-baiting poverty pimps woke up one morning and found everyone was just about the same shade of green.

Instead of going "Our work here is done!" they'd cast about to see if any shades of green had any slightly better living conditions or work conditions, and then try really hard to stir up the old animosities again so they'd have power, control, and (most importantly) a pack of idiots who'd gladly send them money to 'fix' the problems they identify.

The union bosses are pretty much the same. Out at the plant I work at there was a strike vote - the unions were pushing for more bennies, but the rank and file voted by about 60% to NOT strike.

As it is, the union folks get a $2500 bonus, guaranteed 2.5% raises over the next three years, and the company pays 85% of their health care.

And that's so bad that the union wanted them to strike?

Like I said - the unions had a place and a time. But that time and place are past, they can either adapt (like a good parasite - survival of the host is important) or dissolve. If needed, they can be recreated - we'll know how. But the fiction that they're vitally important to the American Worker at this time just doesn't fly...

Perhaps community organizin... (Below threshold)

Perhaps community organizing isn't all its crooked up to be.

What JLawson said. They are... (Below threshold)

What JLawson said. They are not needed anymore especially for the public sector which involves my money. ww

Public Sector unions were N... (Below threshold)

Public Sector unions were NEVER needed, ever.
They were allowed for political purposes and once they over-reached as badly as they have, people have noticed and the gig is up.

Locally, Teacher unions bemoan the low pay raises they receive, averaging about 4% a year. What they fail to disclose are the COLA's and step increases they usually get.

I would have loved 4% pay i... (Below threshold)

I would have loved 4% pay increases over the years. I also would love to make my old salary again, but have to deal with half of it after 9 months of Funemployment.

These public workers are about to get a taste of Barry's Hope & Change that have left millions of private sector workers bitter and broke.

Public workers should NEVER be able to bribe corrupt politicians for increased pay, benefits and unsustainable pensions on the taxpayers dime.

I have a solution.... (Below threshold)

I have a solution.

Tired of all the finger pointing and ugly division between the private and public sectors?

Simple- treat them equally.

Allow Public Sector Unions, but disallow the agencies they work for to collect money from taxpayers unless it is voluntary.

Are you a schoolteacher and confidant you are worth your salary and benefits? Simply convince the taxpayers of that, and they will fork over their money. But you can't force them... you have to ask them. And if they agree your service is worth it, they will pay you.

Unions destroy every indust... (Below threshold)
Caesar Augustus:

Unions destroy every industry with which they come into contact: steel, automotive, manufacturing, etc. The rust belt has been hit especially hard.

1 + 1 = 2.

Unions used to be purposefu... (Below threshold)

Unions used to be purposeful when they tried to help protect the poor employees. Nowadays, unions seem to desire the only thing – their own profit. It is no longer about protecting people or providing benefits for them. Let’s hope most of them dissolve soon.

If ever a wrong move was ma... (Below threshold)
Don L:

If ever a wrong move was made at the wrong time, it was the left's in-your-face show of union force in Wisconsin. Empathy and solidarity turned quickly into hatred and loathing. Like virginity -it will be impossible for public unions to regain any positive status thay may have held due to public ignorance. It's on!






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