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(Re)Organized Labor

Updated on November 2, 2011

A 20-Month Plan?

Scott Walker and the Koch Brothers don't realize that they may have spilled tea onto a hornet's nest.  They may have broken public sector unions in Wisconsin, and given pro-corporate Governors in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania a "blueprint" to , but they've also re-ignited the labor movement. 

But what does Labor need to do the keep the fight up into 2012? 

One thing may be to organize, especially in the low-wage service sector that makes up so much of the 'base' of the American economy.  Organizing Wal-Mart's, Best Buy's, Target's, etc might be a way to build ranks.  This can't be done, though, without some help from what's left of what little of America's Organized Workforce remains.  Unions need to convince and urge their members to boycott businesses that refuse to respect workers rights to organize, and products that are linked to people like the Koch Brothers.  At the same time they need to have their members support pro-worker businesses and purchase products made by  their union brothers and sisters.

A second thing that needs to be done is to tap into the 'NetRoots'.  National groups like MoveOn and Democracy For America, and state groups like Pennsylvania's Keystone Progress were major sources of information and helped organized solidarity events well beyond Madison.  Labor can not only form working relationships with these groups, but continue to adopt their tactics.

A third, and perhaps most difficult task, is to build a worker's media.  The corps have their mouthpieces; Beck, Limbaugh, etc, with national reach to stir their listeners to act.  Working American has fewer voices, it's very hard for a voice like Carlisle, Pennsylvania's Rick Smith to get national reach.  Perhaps the community-based radio that Prometheus Radio works on, or the internet-based approach of The Young Turks and Shared Sacrifice is the way to get working class voices out to the masses.

Labor has an opportunity to possibly reverse 30 years of pro-corporate policies.  The question is, can they do what needs to be done. 

PA Solidarity Rally

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    • Deni Edwards profile image

      Jenifer L 

      7 years ago from california

      Nice piece...

      I find that it is difficult to gather support for unions from the main-stream public. It seems that they have a sense of "if I don't have benefits, why should anyone else?"

      I was just asked to sign a petition to have a proposition put on the ballot the other day while shopping at Target. It was to stop unions taking money from workers for the purposes of political donations. I signed one of the man's petitions, and I refused to sign the one I'm referring to (although the woman next to me signed it quite eagerly).

      I told the man that my husband was in a union. That the union donates to politicians who support unions...and if it wasn't for that, perhaps my husband would have to stand outside of Target and gather signatures to supplement his low wage.

    • lanetodd profile image


      7 years ago from Fruitland, ID

      You're nieve if you think that big labor unions are in the best interest of the workers. The entitlements that have been given have over burdened states, and cannot be paid back. Their power and influence on the government are evident considering the president has met more with union leaders such as Andy Stern and Richard Trumpka than with his own cabinet. The union growth is not a good thing, it may have been in the past, but they have become way too powerful. Also, on some of your other posts, you mentioned the Koch brothers and their financial backing to the Tea Party. The outrage that is on them and what they do with their own money is rather ironic, considering the influence and money that comes from people such as George Soros. Is the outrage maybe one sided? There also can be problems with large corporations and their influence, however, a growing government should be a larger concern regardless of democrat or republican.

    • tonymac04 profile image

      Tony McGregor 

      7 years ago from South Africa

      Working folk always get shafted! I don't know much about the US labour movement but I do know that without unions the workers tend to be exploited more than they are with unions. So I am all for organising the working folk to protect themselves against corporatism.

      Thanks for this Hub - very informative.

      Love and peace


    • Jeremey profile image


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Love the pics, especially the first one. Good idea's and thoughts you have here, linked to it on my newest hub. Keep up spreading the word, eventually the tea will grow cold and get dumped in the sink.

    • Moderndayslave profile image


      7 years ago

      I am a proud union member from New york. We are anything but lazy. This country is already controlled by the corporations and it's time to start boycotting the worst offenders . GE comes to mind fist,they paid 0 taxes on 14 billion in profits? They say it was legal,What a great American company? Second, the republicans left the barn door (border)open for cheep labor,the dems do it for bleeding heart humanitarian reasons.The most productive and prosperous time in America was when union enrollment was at it's highest. Trickle down doesn't work.The only thing trickling down on the middle class is ,,,,,,,,,,

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      @Warren Curtis-- America has been the world's great experiment with meritocracy-precisely what unions destroy. I do not support corporate socialism, such as Obama is practicing with his backers at GE. I don't understand our history? You would be hard pressed to find a single soul who had studied history more than I have, sir.

      Not only can I recite the history of labor movements off the cuff, I can narrate the history of the world and America without notes. I am from Michigan. I know all about unions. I had family members in unions. If you want to understand the true nature of unions, read this:

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      Excellent hub. More voices like yours are needed to stand up for the regular guy.


    • Warren Curtis profile image

      Warren Curtis Daniels Jr 

      7 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      Why don't you Read This is about Jefferson and his warning to the people. Our Forefathers did not want this country as it is. They would never support the republican argument of free trade as it is now. They would be appalled at the wars and the control of corporations. Also here is the truth of personhood in the 14th amendment

    • Warren Curtis profile image

      Warren Curtis Daniels Jr 

      7 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      James I am sorry but Unions are NOT anti-American. What is anti-American is Privatization of our Government. You think that the middle class and public workers are the problem? James you must stop and look where are the Jobs the jobs bills the GOP promised? The instead are attacking unions, women’s rights and trying to implement GOD further into our government. These Republican Governors have been proven to be taking orders from Multi-National corporations and care nothing about America. Unions help build America. Unions help build the Middle class. Without Unions we wouldn’t have rules and regulations that protect workers. What you support is corporate socialism or a plutocracy. Sir your statements are un-American because you don’t understand our history. Our Fore Fathers Ran from pure Capitalism to create a more fair playing field. Lies and name calling does your argument no good. Have you read anything other then Fascist right wing propaganda? The trickle down method of the past 50 to 60 years as done nothing but destroy our country. With Regulation and rules we protect our people. The Banks own our politicians. Do you really think you have any chance in the world to have what you have now if the corporations run everything? Pay attention your in the wrong.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Unions are Marxist. As Karl Marx said: "Workers of the world unite!" That means unionize. Unions are anti-American. No good worker needs a union. Unions protect the lazy, worst worker. Public employee unions are the worst. Who is the robber baron they are against? The American taxpayer? You need to get your head out of the Communist Manifesto and read some Richard Pipes, some Hayek, or some Friedman. Public employee unions were formed by the Democratic Party. They take money from people of all politcal persuasions and funnel it to Democrats. Nice plan. It's gonna end soon. Thank God! Anytime you promise the same pay to human beings regardless of how hard they work or how smart and skillful they are you are going to reduce productivity, period. Think about it.

    • TeaPartyCrasher profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from Camp Hill, PA



    • Warren Curtis profile image

      Warren Curtis Daniels Jr 

      7 years ago from Buffalo, New York

      Great Hub I posted it to my Facebook

    • Credence2 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida (Space Coast)

      Well, TPC, thanks for being part of the team that is ultimately out to preserve the American middle class, which is the bedrock of this society. The danger is evident, if we fail, we will revert to feudalism or worse. The union movement in itself is too weak to stand against the forces working against them. We need education, media assisted mobilization to assist in keeping the issues before the people. The enemy is counting us all to be distracted and diverted away from the events of the last few weeks and lose the strength of will to do what we must do in 2012, holding the political right accountable. Thanks for opening eyes that have been wide shut!!

    • Terry.Hirneisen profile image


      7 years ago from Shenandoah Valley

      Estimates of 100,000 welcoming the Dem Senators back to Wisconsin. Walker won the battle but he has already cost the GOP the WAR. 2012 will be a Great year!

    • VoltaireZ profile image


      7 years ago

      I still believe the largest blow to all equality in this country isn't union busting, or the corporate take over of our speech and parties; it's the perpetual dilution of democracy by population increase. Read my hub, the 28th Amendment.

    • sir slave profile image

      sir slave 

      7 years ago from Trinity county CA.

      you basically hit all the nails on the head crasher.

      information and awareness of current events are the biggest hurdles to your plan. It is not that easy to get a FCC permit. especially if they know you want to broadcast waves that are designed to wake people up.

      they obviously want us to sleep. organizing has been in such shambles(compared to the thirties) because of apathy, and non-realization of(and that) the wave of right wing agressivness, in terms of wealth concentration, is ultimatly meant to be an end game of compleat control over the money flow. it is already like that. they just havn't quite finished demolishing the middle class yet. Wisconsin and the domino effect that it represents is a big lynch pin to their plan. It would open the flood gates so to speak for other outrageous mischeif.

      If we are correct and this reignites the labor movement, then watch out right wingers. you thought 10' was a revolution!?? I think just the fact that they chose the depths of the recession to do this will magnify the effect of the tsunami of political destruction these politicians have asked for themselves. everybody can see though the big tax breaks vs keeping the state teaching its kids and putting out its fires, its a F*****g no brainer. Everytime one of these hairbrained schemes gets exposed by people like us, the public see's it for what it is, a corporate cash grab, that like the wicked witch will melt when you pour water(or awareness in this case)on it.

    • profile image

      Mariya Strauss 

      7 years ago

      We do have a workers'/labor media in the US: the hundreds of newsletters, websites, magazines and radio shows that reach millions of union members daily. The ILCA is their professional association, and its member publications rarely break through to a broader audience. It's a challenge. See also and for more.

    • GNelson profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      The middle class rose with unions through the 40's, 50's, and 60's and has fallen with unions through the 70's, 80's, 90's, to the present. The middle class has lost it's voice. The corporations and wealthy own the Republicans and are rapidly buying up the Democrats. We have been delegated to watching from the sidelines. It takes money to influence politicians and without a political party or unions we have no voice.

    • VoltaireZ profile image


      7 years ago

      Every effort, and there have been many, to start a union in Wal-Marts has failed. It's not the place to start. I honestly don't know where to start.

      Educational advertisement a good place for the unions to start to me. Most Americans don't have a clue of the labor history in this country. But advertising costs.

      Smaller unions though, "penny" unions that are comprised of low wage workers, which run cheep overheads and promise little in return at first. Build from a small base. Baristas United.

      I don't know though. I'm along way from Wisconsin and the other places where huge crowds are getting together, no doubt the are energized and taking action.

      The problem is can unions really succeed today? I want them to, but what's hurting America workers has less to do with being unionized as low tax rates on the wealthy, outsourcing, robots and other tech, and well just every different issues than the issues unions were first organized to fight.


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