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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes – Labor Day Edition

So, “Where Would Workers Be Without labor Unions?” At Arizona Centeral Angel Rodriguez has an answer for Arizona — and a challenge for workers.
This new Gallup poll indicates a majority of Americans (53%) support labor unions, but unions have a lot of work to do in educating the public, which also supports the so-called “Right to Work” laws by an even larger margin.
From the Omaha World-Herald’s Cindy Gonzales: “24.4: The biggest percentage of union members from a state is New York. North Carolina is the smallest, with 3 percent. 26: States (including Iowa) that saw their union membership rate decline from 2012 to 2013; 22 states (including Nebraska) saw union membership rates rise. Two states remained unchanged.”
At The Atlantic Chad Broughton’s “When Labor Day Meant Something: Remembering the radical past of a day now devoted to picnics and back-to-school sales” and observes that consumers have a good alternative to Walmart: “…better, people could go to Costco, where workers make about twice the Walmart wage, and don’t have to rely on federal benefits like food stamps and Medicaid (which, according to Americans for Tax Fairness, cost taxpayers $6.2 billion a year). In addition, Costco lets its workers unionize while Walmart instructs managers to report union activity or grumblings about wages to the company’s “Labor Relations Hotline.”…Holiday shoppers will have to wait until Tuesday, though, because Costco is closed on Labor Day. Its workers are where they should be–at the family barbecue or the parade, celebrating our national holiday.”
Steven Greenhouse’s “More Workers Are Claiming ‘Wage Theft‘” at the New York Times spotlights a mixed trend — rising corporate greed meets more assertive workers.
NYT’s Labor Day editorial notes, “There has been progress since last Labor Day. Mr. Obama has signed executive orders to improve the pay and working conditions of employees of federal contractors. The Labor Department is revising rules on overtime pay; simply updating them for inflation would make millions of additional workers eligible for time-and-a-half for overtime…What is still lacking, however, is a full-employment agenda that regards labor, not corporations, as the center of the economy — a change that would be a reversal of the priorities of the last 35 years.”
It appears that the Wall St. Journal couldn’t even manage a ‘thank you’ to, or spare a thought for, American workers who have enriched their clients and WSJ’s bottom line immeasurably.
E.J. Dionne, Jr. pays tribute to the workers and customers of Market Basket, who stood up for a stand-up manager.
AFL-CIO Now’s Mike Hall makes it plain: “Happy Labor Day! Now Let’s Raise Wages

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