Analysis of swing-state voting in last week’s election demonstrates that the massive on-the-ground mobilization of union members and volunteers directly aided Obama and other pro-labor candidates in carrying Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin. Unions prevailed in beating back anti-labor legislation in California and Wisconsin, and succeeded in three separate living wage campaigns.
On the national level, will labor remain vigilant and hold Obama and other newly elected Democrats accountable to workers? AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka vows that this will be the case.
In an interview with Salon, Trumka is quoted as saying:
“One thing that we’re doing different than we’ve ever done before … is we’re not dismantling our program today.” Instead, he promised, it will move “from electoral politics to advocacy, and from advocacy to accountability.”
As an example of the continuing momentum for labor advocates, Trumka points to Ohio, where “AFL-CIO members are 83 percent white.
Like any holiday, Labor Day comes with some inevitable scenarios. Number One is that most Americans will take a well-deserved day off, courtesy of the efforts of the labor movement. Next, many of us will barbecue on grills that were paid for by middle class jobs that only exist because of the success of that movement.
But this holiday comes with another inevitability: The Sunday morning newspaper or Web stories proclaiming that people don’t want to join unions anymore. However, despite what the editorial writers and columnists say, the real reason people don’t join unions is that U.S. labor laws are so weak that they are nearly worthless – and the right to join a union is a joke.
When I went to work for my first employer after high school I was part of an organizing drive and a strong majority of the workers – 43 out of 62 – signed cards asking for a union to represent us.