Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News Editorials & Other Articles General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search

Omaha Steve

(101,058 posts)
Sat Jun 15, 2024, 09:55 AM Jun 15

Those Who Hate Public Sector Unions Also Hate Democracy. It's Not a Coincidence.


A huge union win in the Fairfax County schools could be the first of many.

Hamilton Nolan June 12, 2024



https://inthesetimes.com/article/fairfax-virginia-teachers-public-sector-union-labor

There is perhaps no odder sight in American politics than Republicans who owe their careers to the celebration of cronyism suddenly becoming good government defenders who criticize public sector unions as protection rackets. In fact, the longstanding Republican practice of treating public unions as Public Enemies has a simple explanation: In red states, those unions are often the strongest interest groups backing the Democratic Party, and sometimes the only interest groups capable of pushing for policies that benefit the working class.

When Republican governors take control of a state, they tend to view public unions as the last stubborn opponents standing in the way of transforming that state into a Koch Brothers fever dream. GOP Govs. Scott Walker in Wisconsin, Chris Christie in New Jersey, and others understood that breaking the unions was key to their goal of sapping Democratic power in closely divided states. They typically divide and conquer, exempting the police and firefighter unions from their crackdowns while accusing the teachers and other public employee unions of any outrage they can think of. This process is playing out today in Florida, where Gov. Ron DeSantis passed a raft of burdensome requirements that have already succeeded in causing more than 50,000 public employees there to lose their unions. The end goal, always, is to clear away a serious obstacle to making their state less democratic, more corporate-friendly and more right wing. The destruction that is done to all of the teachers and municipal workers and their families — and to the functioning of the public systems that those workers take pride in — is considered mere collateral damage in the Holy War of Lower Income Tax for Boat Owners.

For this reason, the task of building up public sector unions, especially in red states, has a political importance that equals its importance to the workers themselves. Red state teachers unions are vital for teachers to earn a decent living, yes, but they are also vital as a firewall against the erosion of the public school system, and against the broader right-wing project of gerrymandering and voter suppression and rewriting of rules to marginalize Democratic power permanently. (The Supreme Court gave that project a big assist with the 2018 Janus v. AFSCME ruling, which rendered the entire public sector ​“right to work.”) People who signed up to be bus drivers or school janitors or teachers may not have known that they were also going to be on the hook for saving democracy in their states, but, for better or worse, that’s where we are.

So any significant new organizing in the public sector in red or purple states is reason to sit up and take notice. This week brought a huge one: The successful unionization of more than 27,0000 public school employees in Fairfax County, VA. The teachers’ ​“yes” vote for the union was 97%. It was, depending on how you define your terms, one of the biggest public sector union wins in the nation in the past quarter century. And, though every state is unique, there are some deep lessons for the entire labor movement in what just happened in Virginia.

FULL story at link above.
3 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
Those Who Hate Public Sector Unions Also Hate Democracy. It's Not a Coincidence. (Original Post) Omaha Steve Jun 15 OP
Thank you. A strong democracy has powerful unions to protect workers from capital. Magoo48 Jun 15 #1
As a long time union member I noticed there are two kinds of workers. Midnight Writer Jun 15 #2
I like unions. SamKnause Jun 15 #3

Midnight Writer

(22,285 posts)
2. As a long time union member I noticed there are two kinds of workers.
Sat Jun 15, 2024, 11:05 AM
Jun 15

There are the workers who realize that if we organize then we can protect ourselves from management that is often cruel, capricious, and rapacious.

Then there are the workers who totally suck up to management. These are the ones who say things like "If everybody just does what the boss says without question then everything will run smooth". They admire the "strongman" management style and consider union activity as "troublemaking". In other words, they are similar to MAGA in their view of power relationships.

SamKnause

(13,298 posts)
3. I like unions.
Sat Jun 15, 2024, 11:31 AM
Jun 15

I am retired.

I was in 2 unions.

There is 1 union I hate.

(FOP) Fraternal Order of Police.

They have too much power.

They have too little accountability.

They should not have immunity.

They should not be able to resign to escape punishment.

Latest Discussions»Issue Forums»Omaha Steve's Labor Group»Those Who Hate Public Sec...