Organized Labor Shouldn’t get too Comfortable with the Democrats…


During and after last nights democratic forum in Chicago, organized labor hooted and hollered over the lip service they were getting from the democratic candidates for president. Personally, I’m embarassed by the lack of compassion that my party has shown labor over the past 40 years. Indeed, back to the time of John F. Kennedy and his handling of the railroad workers strike during his tenure in office, through Jimmy Carter – who managed to accomplish absolutely nothing of any substance for labor with a democratic majority in Congress, right to Bill Clinton who could only boast an ‘unpaid’ Family Medical Leave Act, democrats have hardly been the saving grace they all claim to be for big labor. This is also evidenced during the current administration. Congress has managed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act in the House, but not in the Senate. The consistency is frustrating. 

If you listened closely to the pundits and the candidates, only Dennis Kucinich appeared to be honest when dealing with labor related issues. For instance he was the only candidate who stated unequivically that he would withdraw from NAFTA during his first week in office. No other candidate dared make that claim. Instead they tried to tap dance around the issue claiming that the U.S. could work within the framework of NAFTA – unfortunately none said exactly how. Obama and others said we need to “take China to the mat…” on currency manipulation, but no plan was offered. Most of the candidates said China was a competitor rather than an adversary – stop the train. A quick definition of these two words for the benefit of the Webster impared Democrats. A competitor strives within the same marketplace toward certain economic goals, an adversary opposes or resists. Does currency manipulation, human rights violations, enviromental violations, ignoring international trade laws, and illegal import restrcitions against the U.S. sound like ‘competition’ or ‘opposition’ on the part of China? 

The fact of the matter is, China is playing by their own rules and they are, as Joe Biden said so frankly last night, “holding the mortgage on our house.” A trade war at this point would be disasterous, however small steps toward reversing the current short-sighted and damaging trade policies that are currently in place – like protecting the auto manufacturing and the aerospace industry, coupled with paying down our debt, would leave us in a more advantageous international trade position. But, if labor is waiting for the democrats, they’ll be waiting until someone finds Jimmy Hoffa, because until  greasy money is separated from politics, corporate fat cats will continue to sell us out in the name of short-term profit. Make no mistake, the Democrats are as corrupt and insulated from the plight of the middle class as the Republicans. If they win the presidency in 2008, I predict they will not pass any meaningful legislation to help labor. Labor should demanding to see something significant. If the Democrats really want to make a big splash in the labor pond, they should repeal the Taft-Hartely and Lundrum-Griffin Acts!     




Posted on August 8, 2007, in George Bush, Labor, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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