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Doug Henwood on unions and Scott Walker

The old model is dead. Private sector unions are virtually gone, and those that remain are negotiating concessions. Public sector unions were safe for a long time, but now they’re on the chopping block. Dems will chop more slowly than Reps, but they will chop nonetheless. A lot of what I hear from even good union people amounts to an intensified dedication to the status quo. But that won’t work. Unions have to shift their focus from the workplace to the community at large, from private benefits enjoyed by a few to public benefits enjoyed by everyone, or they’re doomed.

Henwood rightfully points out that heads of big unions are the 1% and get paid well into six figures even as their unions shrink in size. Instead, Henwood says, let’s incentive labor leader’s pay.

Me, I think unions as we knew them are gone and there’s no use wheezing about the glory days of the Wobblies or the Teamsters in the 1930′s.Something new needs to be created and it won’t come from the calcified corpse of once vibrant unions. Hell, most of their leadership is actively opposed to real change because it might upset their cushy jobs.

When the change comes, it’ll be something like the Arab Street, seemingly spontaneous and out of nowhere.

Update: Solidarity is so old school for NYC trade unions, via Henwood on Facebook

News from the labor front: NYC building trades unions contribute to Cuomo’s SuperPAC – which will “help finance an offensive against their public-sector brethren” – in the name of fiscal responsibility and attracting private investment.

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