Posted 10 years ago on Sept. 5, 2012, 1:13 a.m. EST by bestevidence
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http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-unholy-alliance-between-unions-and-democrats/ By Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer Global Research, August 31, 2012 Region: USA
How Unions Could Do Much Better
The International Association of Machinists just succeeded in negotiating a humiliating defeat with Caterpillar after a 15-week strike. Workers lost considerable money by striking, and then lost even more with the new contract, accepting almost every concession the company demanded despite the fact that the company was sitting on a record $4.9 billion in profits. The union let scabs cross the picket line and failed to stop production, almost guaranteeing defeat.
In the wake of this debacle, one might ask: Are unions doing everything possible to defend their members? As many union members are beginning to recognize, the answer is a resounding “No!”
What Unions Are Doing Wrong
For example, the unions have locked themselves into a losing strategy. Like the psychotic who keeps repeating the same behavior while expecting a different outcome, the unions obsessively throw most of their resources into electing Democrats to office, thinking these politicians will bestow generous favors on unions in return. Rather than depending on themselves and putting up a fight, unions sit back and hope the Democrats will save them. However, once elected, the Democrats, who have accepted even larger campaign contributions from the 1%, demand concessions from public workers, they shower tax breaks on the corporations, and they conclude by cutting public education and social services to those that need them.
This unholy alliance between unions and Democrats is connected with a second fatal flaw that many unions exhibit. They have adopted the philosophy that politics is a dirty game – a dog eat dog world – where everyone who has the money lobbies politicians and showers them with generous campaign contributions to win favor. This is what is called “realpolitik,” where politics is based on money and power, not principle. It is why, when it comes to budget cuts, the poor are always the first to suffer the loss of programs that serve them: they can’t afford the campaign contributions nor the expensive lobbyists. By descending to this level rather than exposing and criticizing this sordid ritual, unions isolate themselves from the general public, not to mention from other unions that are engaged in the same practice, and they demoralize rather than inspire.
In fact, many unions have an entirely negative public image because they are perceived as pursuing their own narrow interests at the expense of the public good. Environmentalists, for example, have argued that the proposed extension of the keystone pipeline — from Canada to the refineries in the Gulf region — will certainly spike global warming and could tip the planet beyond the point of no-return. Nevertheless, The New York Times reported (“Democrats Joining G.O.P. on Pipeline,” April 19, 2012): “But many companies and unions around the country have been clamoring for the extension [of the pipeline],” since it could create as many as 20,000 jobs.
More recently, several New York building trade unions have joined a group of businesses lobbying to reduce the salary and benefits of public workers. These unions calculate that by taking money from public workers, more money becomes available for infrastructure projects, which will directly benefit them (“Donations to Key Cuomo Ally Show a Rift Among Unions,” The New York Times, June 7, 2012).
By focusing exclusively on their own interests, unions might think they are maximizing their prospects for success. In fact they are accomplishing just the opposite. Strong public support for union struggles for higher wages and better benefits can easily become a determining factor of the outcome. If a union can organize support rallies of 50,000 — 100,000 people, this show of solidarity can discourage scabs from crossing picket lines, it can turn back the police who conclude the crowd is too big to control, it can imbue the strikers with the conviction that their cause is just, and it can demoralize a corporation that wants to maintain a positive profile with the general public. Massive public support and huge demonstrations are one of the most powerful weapons available to unions....