305 Comments

Unions hit the wealthy in the only place they care about... their pocket. Labor will be the savior of America and the world in fact.

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I am so happy that the UPS Labor Force won their battle. However, I have to look at why they won when other strikers have such a hard time. I think it comes down to a matter of need to satisfy the greed. In other words, you have a corporation that gave in to the Union's demands. But just think of what would have happened in this country and worldwide if they had not done that. But that's not the issue really. UPS corporation could care less about that. What they really care about is the money that they're making and the money that they're executives are making. A prolonged strike would have cut that profit down to nothing and maybe in the negative for as long as the strikers were on strike. It was the need and the greed that caused the union to win. That need and greed was on the corporate side. So, to be successful, you need to be big enough to hit the corporation that you're striking against. In this case the UPS workers Union was big enough and strong enough to do the job.

On the other hand there's a Hollywood strike between the screenwriters and the actors. Apparently those executives don't think they need actors and they don't think they need writers because either they can do it themselves through AI or they've got so much money in the pocket that it doesn't really make any difference if they make another movie or not. That's why that strike is not working so far. That, and the fact that the public is still paying to see the movies they produced. They need the support of the public. They need all of us to stop seeing movies. The movie mogels would then cave to the unions demands.

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I agree. Greed is a damn awful thing. But it's a darn dependable weakness. :)

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Imagine a publicly traded corporation with broad equity of pay to all employees. Imagine that corporation serving customers with excellence. Imagine that corporation’s profitability at 2%. Can you imagine that corporation’s stock price rising?

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Yes! Maybe this is where the anti-corporateAmerica revolution begins?👍

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Salt of the earth!

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Union scum hold businesses hostage for protection money. It’s a racket, robbing via the threat of violence. Lock them up.

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Do you mean like the insurrectionists on Jan 6th? I see your point now.

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May your next "superior" be a homosexual rapist.

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Be careful, your homophobia is showing.

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I have nothing to fear; I'm in a union!

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The only people who have anything to fear are the ones who aren’t in the union and are thus targeted to have their skulls cracked open by union goons.

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What part of Russia did you say you came from?

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Or have the union organizers’ skulls cracked open by the Pinktertons. We need a better model of industrial economy.

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Sure, we’ve all seen the movie “On the Waterfront.” But if you read about labor-management history, you’ll see how management persecutes labor as an axiom of the for-profit system. I think we need a better model. I was recently in Barcelona, Catalonia, and learned that during the 19th and early 20th centuries, factory owners supplied workers with overnight accommodations that featured ropes hanging from the ceiling in sleeping quarters. The workers were expected to sleep standing up, hanging onto the ropes.

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I like it!

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RemovedJul 26, 2023·edited Jul 26, 2023
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Labor has been the back bone of our economy since the concept of being paid a wage in exchange for personal effort came into being. Unions sprung up because of the need to reduce the distance between what company's wanted to pay employees and what workers needed in order to live. United Parcel Service is in the cross hairs over the current wage inequities in that company. A strike would cripple delivery services across the country. However, the men and women who give their time and effort to make this company operate want improvements that only make sense. Yet, management and ownership are so wrapped up in the profit game that they have forgotten the reason why the company is where it is today, good hard working employees. Share the wealth, they can afford it and the people desperately need it.

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It has always surprised me that, in a country like the USA that prizes team sports so highly, the teammates below top management are persecuted as throwaway cogs in the machine. But come to think of it, even top management is a throwaway unless they improve profits. I think we need a new model of the economy in which this absurd Mgmt vs. Labor paradigm is absent.

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Power does corrupt, sad but true. Rarely, does power make people more fair, kinder, see “both” sides of the story.

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Interesting humorous concept.

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What are you, 13?

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I'm 73 and think that concept was hilarious, although with maybe a better caption....

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Yeah but it's not the brains fault. It's society that be so corrupt and self centered the older, wiser folks can't stand the stupidity. Seems society is full of geniuses who can't tie their shoes , have no street sense, can't think analytically. So much is happening too fast. It takes the focus off what is important in life.

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It's almost as if workers are recalling some sort of long-forgotten yesteryear when they were called "essential" and saved the economy, with little to no help from the overcompensated bosses now clamping down on their "unreasonable requests" for things like water and fair pay. Funny, the entire globe was witness to the true might of workers united, but monopolistic power, regulatory capture and a compliant media have quickly worked to squash our belief in that briefly undeniable truth.

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As long as media is owned by the overly entitled leisure class, they will not fairly present the just causes of living wages and the need for humane working conditions.

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I see support for labour in some news media content. I think it would be an accepted policy of the New York Times, for example. The media needed for more labour engagement is a sit com or, better, a good drama about organized labour, starring struggling workers. Young people are interesting, complex. Smiley face. You are likely right on about that media and entitled leisure class. Overly entitled by virtue of creating who is entitled. Ozark? Succession? Frankie and Grace?

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So long as it’s wholehearted and enlightened, not condescending, I’ll watch.

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Ian, everything you said is right. And that anti worker machine convinced workers that unions were no good and would not help them. That was and is a lie that I still hear, even from some young teachers. They have no idea what it was like pre-union because somehow our US History does not seem to cover the union movement. Back a half-century ago, a few strikes might be mentioned, but it always looked like the workers were at fault. I said that to one of my history teachers once and asked why unions were seen in our history books as so bad. He told me that was because it was a group of corporations who produced the books and unions were seen by them as the enemy. Yes, corporations as well as governors do rewrite history to suit their purposes.

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There's a saying that the victors are the ones who write the histories. Time to change that.

Congratulations to the UPS drivers and all others who are solidifying against corporate greed and mismanagement.

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I recommend Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States.” Looks at things from labor’s point of view.

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You mean there were 3 times more union members then, and now with the “most pro union president” and media cheering, unions are drying up? That makes no sense.

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founding

Why would you expect instantaneous revival when Congress and the courts have for decades attacked workers' rights, from the reigns of Nixon, Reagan, and the Bush royal family, the power plays of Gingrich and McConnell, and the stacked Court? The direction of movements which threaten the short-term greed of the powerful require time and the understanding of voters together with the clarity and determination of those desiring change.

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founding

Larry: "the understanding of voters" ....that's where Robert Reich is devoting his energies, and InEquality Media as well. I deeply agree with your thoughts - we all need the clarity and the determination to keep working at the problems.

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Craig, it has taken the right wing who want to destroy our democracy 60 years or so to get this far. There is no way that one administration can right 60 or even 40 years if you only count from Reagan, to get us back up and running. I contend they really started their plan back with the Brown v Board of Education decision and haven’t stopped since.

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Jul 26, 2023·edited Jul 26, 2023

Ian, Regrettably, regarding labor, so-called liberal corporate media have been laser-focused principally on one theme—how mounting labor strikes could inflict harm on Biden’s economic message. While I repeatedly have prevailed upon the industry to broaden its coverage to address the inequities between those who control and those who are controlled, I can’t claim, to date, I’ve had any impact on how mainstream media typically treat workers’ rights. Still, what choice is there, but to persist?

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Correct MSM could broaden their reporting, however that would require them to work rather than reading the given narrative from whichever administration is spewing at the time. Full disclosure, my 30+ year career was at an ABC affiliate, my eyes widened until they popped and I retired.

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How much of our “ free press” has been bought out by private equity firms which destroy newspapers and have also been destroying aspects of our healthcare (even conservative Hillsdale College wrote an article to this effect). Reminds me of one of first computer games during Reagan admin….? PAC Man. Gobbling, gobbling….unfettered capitalism.

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Don’t anybody get me started on MSM. In that I include ALL cable, ALL print for the reasons Wynne mentions. It’s very difficult for small businesses to utilize broadcast tv in their media mix because they simply don’t have the budgets to compete for ad space with Big Pharma, Big Tech, Oil or in other words, the American Oligarchy! As my favorite independent journalists tell us daily, do your own research, read both sides even if it hurts, make your own decision.

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Jul 26, 2023·edited Jul 26, 2023

The NLRB ruled against a national union-busting law firm and declared our quaint little in-house unit a full-fledged union. Our grievances never tempted us to strike, but we formed an occasional informational picket line. UPS never crossed a one of them. I've had a soft spot for UPS and the NLRB ever since. The weekly paper we unionized folded, not because of anything the union did, but because of the big bucks management squandered fighting its formation. Their poor judgment was the very thing that had motivated us to unionize.

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Yes, it’s amazing to me that we’re still limping along on this 19th century model of capital-labor relations.

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Thank God! I was stressing out, as a disabled man with no car, I get nearly 100% of all goods from our heroic drivers! It is high time we as Americans UNIONIZE AGAIN.

(My sister and her husband work in theater tech, recently touring in "Mama Mia!" as high-ranking design and tech wokers respectively. They vowed to NEVER work in non-union jobs where it is HELL.)

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Daniel… Mama Mia… one of my favorites… I wish them luck and admire them for sticking to their principles.

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Thank you! He was canned for being too abrasive yesterday, so they lost my sister too! Now they can leave the ABOMINABLE show they were running and go work on the one based on Cher I believe. ( "Jagged Little Pill" is a WRECK. I urge you to see any other one because the workers are being abused.)

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I hate to hear the workers are being abused. Let them know, many of us are hearing about such behaviors and actions.

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This is sensational news. I don’t know if we will ever repair the damage done by Reagan and his cohorts, but we must never stop trying.

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If American voters have the sense to re-elect Biden and give him a Congress that isn't controlled by right-wing nut-cases, the pendulum will begin to swing back. But, as you've argued convincingly elsewhere, there are so many fronts demanding recalibration in favour of the middle- and working-class.

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This is a wonderful post and a counterpoint to the struggles of Starbucks workers' attempts to negotiate their labor contracts. They need our solidarity, our support. https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/21/opinion/starbucks-union-strikes-labor-movement.html

Thank you, Secretary Reich, for all you have done and continue to do to promote a more equitable society.

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If you want to support workers who are fighting for fair compensation, benefits, and safe working conditions quit patronizing their businesses. Hit management in the only place they care about, their bottom line.

I stand behind the workers at Starbucks. Starbucks will never get one dime of my money as long as management works against the unionization of their workers.

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When we fight we win! Union strong!

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Goons and thugs beating up their employers in order to rob them.

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Jul 26, 2023·edited Jul 26, 2023

Stands to damn reason! Unions were strong until I reached working age, then crapped out. Now that I'm about a quarter-to-dead, they appear to be making a comeback! Damn!

LOL! 👍👍👍👍👍

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you sound good n feisty, quarter-to-dead, I don't think so

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I think we are about the same degree of “Alive”! Now let’s get up and do what we can to help. 😂

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I hope the labor movement has a huge revival. It’s telling when the nurses at the huge HCA hospital here in the south no less, voted to unionize because HCA was not doing what it needed to do during Covid to protect anyone working in that facility but it was the nurses that got things done. The Guilded Age can’t hold a candle to these rapacious CEOs and their boards who think nothing of voting for all top tier pay hikes.

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It started with Reagan and the air traffic controllers and has continued nearly unabated since then. I worked with a lot of union electricians in my career, and their relatively high wages and great benefits and retirement packages did not slow the construction business down one bit. All trade unions are still strong and that gives the lie to the idea that unions suppress demand and therefore economic growth.

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Ron, you are right, now how do we get the word out about the truth of good union workers and the successes of the businesses that employ them?

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I think it has to start with the Democratic party’s leaders, and it needs to be an intense and coordinated effort. Biden, Harris, Shumer, Jeffries et al, and it needs to be a sustained effort. We need an FDR type to invite big business’s hatred. Take it to them and keep at it.

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Ps. Sir Ronnie, a democrat at the time, was president of SAG, that was the last time they struck! How about that for a coincidence. Couldn’t make that up!

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Congratulations UPS workers for bringing your fat cat management screaming and kicking from the ugly world of Charles Dickens into the 21st century !! SOLIDARITY works !! You kept up the good fight and you won. BRAVO !!

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UNION? YES! When the power players like Trump and Musk call us "Thugs", You know we are making a difference in this Tik Tok world.

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Currently on strike myself, with the WGA (and our sister Guild, SAG/AFTRA joining the lines!). Maybe the AMPTP (i.e., the greedy MoFos who control the multibillion dollar cartel/monopoly of studios and networks/streamers) will see the handwriting on the wall.

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I fully support you and hope negotiations go well soon.

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William, I hope you are right and that the actors and writers can get a good contract that is fair. My nephew is a member and like all of you, needs the work but at a fair wage/salary.

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I came up in the golden age of tv writer/producers — started on Law & Order, where the season was 22 or 24 eps, and we were paid by the episode produced, PLUS summer re-runs. And my first summer rerun residual check would have bought a Porsche 911, if I were so inclined — it was indeed a tidy sum and today’s kids get nothing. Whereas we participated up and down the line, the kids today work on streaming shows that have 10 or 12 eps and NO summer rerun residuals and basically they are making half what we made. And where is all the money going? To Network/Streaming/Studio execs who contribute NOTHING to the end product. Like Uber drivers working longer and longer hours for less and less money.

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William, those must have been exciting times. Now, the shows may be good, but they are so short in episodes it is hard to see how any writer can make it. I suspect it is hard on the actors too having to constantly be looking for something else. What we learn is that corporations care only for the money they can rake in and will pay as little as they can get away with, even to the point they will use AI to rehash old ideas to make them look new so they don't have to pay writers who would do it much better and more creatively. It really is disgusting!

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They were great times: the writer/producer was king; the show runners were deities; the flights were first class, the fees enormous and the product good or even at times great. Then the AMPTP realized it could screw the writers and actors, and it did…..

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Never forget that the civil war was fought because slaves were "essential" to the southern plantation economy.

Essential is tantamount to captive.

Nobody has ever referred to hedge funds or traders as essential.

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Will the world be worse off if EVERY hedge fund manager goes to work at a wind farm? I should think not!

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Just wait until stockholders realize that CEO's do not do anything (except talk and go to retreats). They will discover CEO's can be replaced by relatively primitive AI applications and company profits will skyrocket as a result.

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Amen to that. This column is spot on right and so true. The Right wing in this country funded by fascist billionaires- think Koch, Crowe, Murdoch, Devoss, etc.-- supported by extremist think tanks like the Club For Growth and the Heritage Foundation, and incited by the right wing propaganda and plain outright lies broadcast on Fox News, Newsmax, and One America have wreaked havoc on the economic and social underpinnings of US democracy. The old Republican Party, now better called the NAF (Nationalist Authoritarian Fascist) Party that started with Goldwater and gained ballast with Reagan has plunged this country into an economically immoral and patently unfair hopeless societal abyss with a few privileged rich at the top and countless disgruntled, bitter, ignorant, and impoverished Americans at the bottom who swallow the lies and embrace a fascist, racist and psychopathic authoritarian leader.

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