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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes – Labor Day Edition

We celebrate Labor Day on the eve of the Democratic convention, with President Obama addressing the United Auto Workers today in swing state Ohio. The Washington Post leads off with a Labor Day editorial about the people who really “built that” and a reminder to Romney and the one-percenters, quoting from Orwell’s “The Road to Wigan Pier“: “…It is only because miners sweat their guts out that superior persons can remain superior.”
At The American Prospect, Amy Dean mulls over the decision to hold the Democratic convention in Charlotte, in the “least unionized state in the country.” Unions don’t like it. Yet they know that Democrats must pick off a southern state to stop a Romney victory, which would bring disaster to the labor movement.
If anyone has any doubts about what the Republicans have in store for labor unions, Mike Hall reports at AFL-CIO Now that “For the first time ever, the Republican platform calls for national “right to work” for less law…Today, workers and employers are allowed to enter into voluntary agreements that allow the workers to choose to join a union by signing recognition cards and if the majority does, the employer will recognize the workers’ choice. The Republican platform calls for banning that practice…The Republican platform calls for a California-like Prop. 32 law that would ban the use of payroll deductions–including voluntary–by union members who want to contribute to their union’s political activity…At least today, Republicans no longer mask their hatred of workers and their unions.”
In his WaPo op-ed, Harold Myerson adds, “…If the war that business and Republicans are waging on labor isn’t defeated, good jobs will continue to dwindle and work in America will grow steadily less rewarding.”
In her Labor Day message at HuffPo, American Federation of teachers President Randi Weingarten explains the stakes for American teachers in the November election: “The choice is between a president who fought to keep 300,000 teachers on the job and a Republican candidate who says he would only keep the Department of Education around to use as a club against unions…Rather than support workers at home or investments in public schools, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan support the Bush-era tax cuts for the very wealthy. They want to hand over our schools to private corporations.”
Meanwhile, Mark Trumbull writes in his article on “The Silver Collar Economy” at The Monitor that the trend of seniors working longer, with many taking lower-wage jobs to get by, is squeezing out job opportunities for young people.
At ProPublica, Amanda Zamora, Blair Hickman and Cora Currier, have a round-up post, “Happy Labor Day. Here’s the Best Reporting on Worker Safety” about a much neglected issue of concern to millions of workers, which lays bare the consequences of the Republican war on regulation.
John Nichols reports at The Nation on “Paul Ryan’s Labor Day Promise to American Workers: Candy and a Sports Schedule.” Nichols explains: “As he marched with other politicians in the Janesville Labor Day parade, the congressman was confronted by Wisconsin workers who were struggling with high unemployment and bleak prospects. A man was videotaped asking what his representative planned to do to aid Ryan’s unemployed constituents. “So what should I have to work for to get a job?” the man asked. “Should I have to work the same wages as in China? Should I have to work for $1 an hour?” Ryan tried to brush his questioner off. But when the man persisted, Ryan said, “C’mon, we’re all here to have a good time.” When he was reminded that it was Labor Day, which would seem to be an appropriate time to discuss unemployment and the condition of workers, Ryan finally offered something: “Would you like some candy?” Ryan asked. “Would you like a Packer-Badger schedule?”
At Daily Kos, Laura Clawson’s “Why unions? To fight for good jobs and against inequality” has a reminder for Democrats that the most powerful weapon they have in the struggle against inequality is organized labor. “As unions have declined, income inequality has risen, and that’s no coincidence. Union members or not, workers benefit from a strong labor movement. And yes, road or building or bridge, workers built it.”

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