It is something to think about!
HOW IN THE hell has the number of unionized workers in this country
fallen from 49% in the 1950's to 15% today? We face a steadily rising
nation-wide unemployment rate. At least 40 million Americans are living
below the poverty line. At least 45 Million are without any health-care
coverage. Over 2 million Americans are rotting away in our prisons. Over
1500 died from the poverty draft... What does everyone think we, should do
I'll touch on this a little if I may. I'll do so from my personal
observations of unions in this country over the last 3.5 years.
During the last 3.5 years, I've worked for three of the largest
unions in the county. SEIU, AFSCME and NEA (not an AFL-CIO union)
During that time, several things have jumped out at me. Most union members
care nothing about their union. They disagree with its
politics, they don't participate, and they don't want to hear from the
union unless they have a problem. Usually they have joined for one reason
that is personal to them. They have not joined to help
their fellow workers, in many cases, they don't like their fellow
employees. Probably the biggest reason they join is health care,
and unfortunately, unions are not doing very well on that issue.
SEIU and AFSCME both do not want a universal health care system.
Why you might ask, because it would take away the number one issue used to
organize new workers. I had a conversation with a member
once who was active in her local. She was an officer, a steward,
and actively participated in new organizing by doing house calls with
us. When I started talking about a universal heath care system she could
not believe me. She could not understand how they would be able to keep
her local together if they did not have health care to rally around. She
was completely against the idea and actually asked me what they would
negotiate in their contract. Now, this is an active leader in her local.
Imagine what the non active members would think.
I worked in locals in OR, WA, CA, MO and FL. In every local I
worked at a majority of the members were conservative (most
republican), the leadership and upper management were democrats
(organizing director, executive director and elected officers) and the
organizers (those like me) were mixed with Democrats,
Socialist, Greens and Anarchist.(I knew one Republican ex navy
SEAL organizer. I never could figure that one out) Many of the
campaigns I worked on included Voter Registration drives. A good
75% of those people I registered did so as republican. These are
not people who are looking for a working class revolution.
Unions can't even win when they support democrats. Just look at the last
few years. Lost in CA recall election, putting an anti union Gov in
office. In fact, numbers showed that most union members voted to recall
the Gov. SEIU and AFSCME put millions in money, and thousands of members
on the streets to support Dean. Results, loss after loss, and polls
showing most members of these unions did not vote for Dean. They Support
the Democrats for Pres, another loss. In fact, if I was running for
election in a major race, I would not want the support of the local union,
as they have lost over and over the last few years. The only major wins I
know of were in the Gov office in Or (I worked that campaign as staff) and
Washington (what a nightmare that was) The agenda of Union leadership is
not the agenda of the workers. I have even had union members tell me that
they wait till the union calls to tell them who to vote for, then they
vote the opposite.
I'll say again, this is all information based on my personal observations
and from the locals and national unions I worked for. I'm sure there are
some very progressive locals, and maybe a national or two who are
different. But I can't imagine where a working class revolution is going
to come from when a majority of those who would benefit continue to vote
for those who are taking everything away from them. When a persons
religious beliefs come before the welfare of their family, When they will
vote for a candidate who is sending their children off to war to die, I
can't see them joining us in the streets to through those they voted for
out of power.
All this talk about a revolution is, in my opinion, a dream. Unless major
changes can be made very soon, none of us will see it in our life time. We
should be talking about how to move the people, and not how we are going
to punish the capitalist. We have a lot of work ahead of us before we
really need to be worrying about the counter-revolution.
The opinions in this email are my own. They may or may not be shared by
others. If you care to respond for or against the opinion expressed in
this email, please do so with respect to everyone involved. We don't have
to agree, but we should at least try to get along.