Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Didn't see this one coming...

Because 8 million deunionized workers can't compete with Mark "Pageturner" Foley, the media (and the "netroots" blogs for that matter) have been largely silent about the "Kentucky River" cases that went before the National Labor Relations Board yesterday. The argument was over whether certain workers count as "supervisors," a position that basically nullifies their ability to organize. You'll never guess who won! "Labor board redefines employee eligibility for legal protections on union membership." If you ever needed proof that federal politics affects union membership, here's Clinton's NLRB chairman, William Gould: "It's a radical reinterpretation of the statute to make it more difficult for 'charge nurses' to organize...It has potential for harm to the collective bargaining process." Do you think you could find one person on the current Board who shares such sentiments? And here's a gleeful word from the opposition, U.S. Chamber of Commerce lawyer Stephen Bokat: "When undergoing any organizing efforts by unions, you have to know who in the work force belongs to you and who belongs to the union." I suppose these "supervisors" "belong" to corporate management, much in the same way that helots "belonged" to the state of Sparta. A pretty transparent acknowlegment of class conflict in America, though. More here and here. Forget expanding local politics; at this point it's a question of whether we have any to begin with.


Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

Yay, more stuff for cheaper!

12:29 PM  
Blogger Robot said...

Has anyone heard anything about this story from the perspective of the workers? What do they think? Do they care? Are they going to do something about it?

There was just a news story today in Spain about this kind of thing happening not on any national level (ie. by law) but just at one factory (a donut factory). The response, a hunger strike by eight of the workers. I just wonder why either a) you don't hear much about worker protest, or b) their protests are non-existant compared with, what seems to me, the responses in most other European countries.

Also, more stuff for cheapar doesn't really persuade that we shouldn't be concerned about this kind of thing. There appears to be a fairly obvious relationship between declines in union membership, and expansion of inequality. Granted, we should be willing to put up with some of this as the structure of our economy changes. But at some point, the growing gap in wealth must be stopped and closed. These kinds of rulings by the Labor board will only continue to make things worse. Perhaps, someone can persuade me otherwise.

8:36 AM  
Blogger Robot said...

By the way, I've had few opportunities to figure out what the hell is happening in the U.S. economy at the moment, so... what the hell is happening. I read the stock market is kicking ass, oil prices are falling like the rule of law in Oaxaca, but the job market and gdp growth are slowing. What's the deal? Should I transfer some of these Senegalese men selling bootleg cds and dvds outside of my apartment everday over to y'all? (Oh, and how ticked was I the other day when I asked one of them if the new Decemberists' had dropped yet? That idiot moron hadn't even heard of them! Probably the best indie band out of Oregon, I told him. Better than, Sufjan. You've surely heard of him, right? Oh come on, man! Really, it's like if there's one thing I've learned while over here, it's that there really is a lot ignorance out there.) Back to the economy, any ideas? Any helpful articles?

12:10 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

The economy keeps rolling, but more choppy seas ahead. Manufacturing went down this month after a barnstorming start to the year. Unemployment is up at 4.7ish. Housing prices are going to tank--10-20% in some places. Bernanke says limited--maybe -.5% GDP--effect on the economy. US economy will slow to 2% next year, but world economy will pick up slack, especially with a falling dollar. Basically, I hope your salary is disbursed in Euros, my brother. Otherwise my Spanish boots are gonna cost you a pretty penny.
Still, the key is productivity growth, which may continue. Either way, inequality issues will be decreasing in importance, as we are reaching the point where increases in productivity should begin to make their way back to the baunasoi.
My sources are the WSJ--get yourself a subscription, prole. I would get fired if my employers knew I was commenting on a post about unions.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Austin 5-000 said...

I mean banausoi.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Robot said...

Ah ha. Thanks for the wisdom, 5-000. The old lady I live with here gets a subscription to the economist, which I'm thinking of stealing from her on a rather consistent basis. I needs me some business news that doesn't have to do with the merging of huge European energy companies.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Scantron said...

You live with an old lady? Watch that you don't get too desperate for money, Raskolnikov!

2:37 PM  

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