September 11, 2013
"Many within labor are looking to Washington State as a model"
The labor movement is considering how to keep itself relevant after decades of falling membership, the erosion of industrial jobs, and manufacturing's declining importance in the national economy. A recent New York Times report summed up the struggle:
By crisis, [Trumka] means myriad setbacks, including a steady loss of union membership, frequent defeats in organizing drives and unions being forced to accept multiyear wage freezes. Not only have labor leaders faced the embarrassing enactment of anti-union legislation in onetime labor strongholds like Wisconsin and Michigan, but they could not even win passage of legislation making it easier to unionize when President Obama was elected and the Democrats controlled the House and Senate.
The NYT article centers on the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka, who is looking for "ways to experiment" that will broaden labor's coalition, as opposed to focusing solely on increasing regular membership ranks. For Trumka, this means deepening ties with other liberal groups such as the Sierra Club and the National Council of La Raza. The piece also cites direct union activities such as the recent fast food walkouts, organized by SEIU, and the UAW's drive to unionize auto plants in the South.
Buried farther down is an item of interest for locals: "Many within labor are looking to Washington State as a model because of all the union community activity there."
There certainly has been plenty of union activity around here for the Times to cite, including the Seattle paid sick leave law that is now being fought for in Tacoma, and Seattle's taxi-vs-ride-share fight. Most prominent is the SeaTac $15 minimum wage initiative, which the two sides are currently duking out in court over ballot access. As the Times notes, a $15 minimum wage "would be 63 percent higher than Washington's $9.19-an-hour minimum, already the highest state minimum wage."
So there you are, Washington is now looked at as an experimental ground as the labor movement contemplates its future. One wonders, is the labor dispute delaying Seattle's tunnel dig a part of the experiment?
Posted by Adam Faber at September 11, 2013
04:08 PM | Email This
It is a bit sad that Bertha's clammed up on Twitter, but the following bit of the article stood out most to me:
"[it's] due to a major management screw-up. Different deals were signed granting the two unions the same four jobs."
The same four jobs being contractually promised to two different unions doesn't sound like a fault of the labor movement. It seems someone or some unnamed governmental department made this mess all on their own.
Adam, is something wrong with experiments? Don't conservatives like entrepreurial experiments at the state and local level?
Don't hurt yourself trying to stretch the "experiment" theme to include the tunnel dispute. As Travis@1 explains (and has been well reported), the government apparently screwed up the contracts. It also appears that the government isn't working hard to resolve the dispute and/or one or both unions are being unreasonable, but it's hard to say which without knowing details that our media don't seem to be reporting.
3. Maybe Trumka should offer a better value proposition to potential members as a way to co.mpete
4. Really? I'm looking at Michigan and Wisconsin as the model.
5. Hard to see how Travis and Bruce are correct. The Longshore Union refused to unload the Tunnel Boring Machine unless they were "given" the jobs, that is extortion. The Ship was going to leave, with the Tunnel Boring Machine on it, in days and return to Japan. Are we going to allow the Longshoremen to do the same thing with Cars? TV's or anything else we import? Selectively unload or load items based on how much they can extort?
6. You can read it for yourself here.
7. If an arbitrator has ruled, why hasn't this been resolved?
8. What do Longshoremen do for a living Steve? Are they "contracted" to load and unload ships? Why did they refuse to unload the Tunnel Boring Machine Steve? Because they wanted to extort an agreement? For once just stop trying to apologize for behavior you would consider criminal if it happened to you in a personal business transaction.