Labor orgs: Tax the rich, don't touch safety nets

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WASHINGTON (AP) — After two years of getting pummeled in Wisconsin, Indiana and other battleground states, leaders of the nation’s big labor unions were beaming on election night.

Labor’s massive voter turnout effort played a major role in helping President Barack Obama win Ohio, Nevada and Wisconsin, according to exit polls, and its leaders are now looking for a more liberal, pro-union agenda from the White House.

“There are things the president can do, and we’ll be expecting that leadership from President Obama,” AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka told reporters after the election.

Topping labor’s wish list — for now — is a push to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and discouraging Obama from agreeing to any deal with Republicans over the looming “fiscal cliff” that cuts into Social Security and Medicare.

But unions are also pressing for new measures that might help boost their sagging membership rolls. New investment in infrastructure would bring construction jobs for trade unions.

Immigration reform — and a path to citizenship for 11 million undocumented Latino immigrants — would create a vast new pool of potential union members. And new regulations could remove some obstacles to union organizing.

Business groups that have vigorously opposed efforts to help unions draw new members say they will keep playing defense.

“My primary concern is in the regulations,” said Randel Johnson, vice president at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for labor issues. “We are afraid that on employment issues, the administration will stay firmly to the left and follow the lead of the unions.”

A new rule expected from the Labor Department would force companies to reveal relationships with so-called union-busting consulting companies even if the companies have no contact with workers.

The National Labor Relations Board is expected to start work on a rule that would force businesses to turn over workers’ phone numbers, emails and shift times to union organizers.

The Obama administration might even consider a plan that would give an advantage in bidding on government contracts to companies that offer workers a higher living wage and generous benefits.

Unions showed they still wield considerable political muscle, despite declining membership and having to spend millions fighting efforts in dozens of state legislatures to curb their bargaining rights or limit their political clout.

About 11.8 percent of all workers belong to a union; in the private sector union membership is only 6.9 percent.

Comments

oneStarman 1 year, 10 months ago

"About 11.8 percent of all workers belong to a union" - That is quite shameful and the source of Much of America's Misery today . The worker was much better off when Labor Unions had more members. ThinkProgress reported last year that, the relative decline of unions over the past 35 years has mirrored a decline in the middle class’s share of national income. If it were NOT for Labor Unions there would be No 5 Day 40 Hour Week - which means No Weekend for Families. And CHILDREN must No Longer work like SLAVES in the Coal Mines and Sweat Shops - because of the Unions. We don't all live in Company-Owned Homes in Company-Owned Towns and shop and Company-Owned Stores. The New Feudalism that the robber Barons of the 19th Century envisioned for America was largely Defeated by the Labor Unions.

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namvet60 1 year, 10 months ago

Well I'll be dipped - I never thought I would see the day that I would agree with any post that you ever made but I must give you a star for that one!

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wallyworldguy 1 year, 10 months ago

The only difference is that you have to differentiate between the public sector unions and the private sector unions. Private sector unions have gone by the wayside because companies fought back when unions became too powerful-got to greedy. (or the company got to greedy). Public sector unions are growing fast and furious because their is no one to negotiate for the tax payer. The administrators will give them what they want in exchange for their vote for re-election. Like Gregiore and the Seattle police,sheriff and emt unions. Not to mention, this last election. Public sector unions, federal and state are draining every penny from tax payers with their bloated salaries, benefits and pensions. They are over paid and under worked. All you have to do is look at the postal workers or the teachers unions, and you have the same thing in the rest of the Federal and state public unions. onestar alwas see things from the far left. --"And CHILDREN must No Longer work like SLAVES in the Coal Mines and Sweat Shops - because of the Unions. We don't all live in Company-Owned Homes in Company-Owned Towns and shop and Company-Owned Stores. The New Feudalism that the robber Barons of the 19th Century envisioned for America" WOW, I never saw that growing up in the 60s and 70s. What does the 19th century have to do with any of this. Yea, onestar makes a great sounding argument, but it really has no merit in this case. The article is referring to public unions. Onestars comments would be referring to private sector unions. One was fighting for the everyday working guy, the other is only looking out for themselves. Its one of the reasons our education system is failing. (teachers union)

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marketinsider 1 year, 10 months ago

Well stated Wally, please continue to post.

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namvet60 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks Wally - I lost my head for a minute - I had to go back and read starman post again but I retract my previous post and totally agree with you. It's the Public Sector that is draining this country into oblivion. The Teachers Union with squandering $850,000 to the Dem campaign and how many teachers even knew about the payout that had to come out of there bloated pensions and healthcare funds. Then on top of it all the President gives these unions waivers - Go Figure!

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