Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Labor and Obama and the Dems' convention in Bank of America Stadium

Labor reporter Mike Elk (@MikeElk on Twitter) has a story about the labor movement very mixed feelings about the results delivered by Democratic President Barack Obama, At 35,000-Member Rally, AFL-CIO Attempts the Herculean In These Times 08/27/2012.

He has a great quote from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: "A worker voting for Mitt Romney is like a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders."

Elk describes the basis of the labor movement's discontent with Obama and with the Democratic Party's choice for its convention:

Many in organized labor fault Obama for opening the attacks on public sector workers. In a famous speech at the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2009, the president called for the getting rid of “bad teachers”; the next year, he endorsed the mass firing of unionized teachers in Central Falls, Rhode Island. Campaign for America's Future Co-President Bob Borosage has likened Obama's decision to freeze the pay of federal workers to Reagan's devastating 1981 break-up of the air traffic controllers' strike, which opened the door for more demands for cuts from other workers. Most recently, the president signed a bill in February making it more difficult for airline workers to unionize, which resulted in an unprecedented anti-union ruling by a federal district court that blocked 10,000 American Airlines customer service agents from holding an election.

Moreover, the rally was initially seen by many as a protest of the DNC, a notion that participating unions had attempted to dispel. Union members were upset that the Democrats chose to hold their convention in Charlotte, N.C., a right-to-work state with the lowest union density of any in the country (2.9 percent). North Carolina also has in place a law dating from the Jim-Crow era that denies public employees the right to collectively bargain. The law, which has been condemned by the UN's International Labor Organization, forbids union dues from being voluntarily deducted from public employees' paychecks. Its effect is similar to one of the most controversial provisions of Scott Walker’s anti-union bill, which a federal judge recently ruled unconstitutional under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. [my emphasis]
The Democratic Convention is being held in Bank of America Stadium next week in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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