01 August 2008

Union day

David Sirota on the six little words that could change American labor.

Geoghegan reminded me that data show the more union members in an economy, the better workers' pay. The problem, he said, is that weakened labor laws are allowing companies to bully and fire union-sympathetic workers, thus driving down union membership and wages.

Enter Geoghegan's six words. If the Civil Rights Act was amended to prevent discrimination "on the basis of union membership," it would curtail corporations' anti-labor assault by making the right to join a union an official civil right.

That's Tom Geoghegan, who some are trying to draft as Obama's labor secretary. There's even a Facebook group dedicated to those ends, but there's a Facebook group declaring me the next Holy Roman Emperor. Good luck with that.


According to this story in the Wall Street Journal Yesterday, Wal-Mart is apparently sweating out a Democratic victory in the fall because it might mean enabling Big Blue's least favorite "U" word.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

In recent weeks, thousands of Wal-Mart store managers and department heads have been summoned to mandatory meetings at which the retailer stresses the downside for workers if stores were to be unionized.

Tell me again, what does one of Obama's top economic advisers think of Wal-Mart?
...[Obama] has appointed 37-year-old Jason Furman to head his economic policy team. Furman is one of Wal-Mart's most prominent defenders, anointing the company a "progressive success story." On the campaign trail, Obama blasted Clinton for sitting on the Wal-Mart board and pledged, "I won't shop there." For Furman, however, it's Wal-Mart's critics who are the real threat: the "efforts to get Wal-Mart to raise its wages and benefits" are creating "collateral damage" that is "way too enormous and damaging to working people and the economy more broadly for me to sit by idly and sing 'Kum-Ba-Ya' in the interests of progressive harmony."
Somehow I don't think Mall Wart has anything to worry about. Nor will Geoghegan have to worry about having a new job in Washington next January. We're being Serious here.


Real life Jokers. If you had any faith in humanity remaining, this story from the upcoming Sunday Times magazine should relieve you of it.


A very addictive Friday night dance-floor tune from Ladytron.