New Tone, Hidden Strategies

An interesting passage from Steve Peoples’s second part to the Projo’s series on local unions:

LABOR UNIONS and their allies walk a fine line when it comes to influencing elections. State and federal campaign finance laws have strict limits on what is, and isn’t, permissible.
That may be why Ocean State Action is actually made up of three distinct organizations — the Ocean State Action Fund, Ocean State Action and the Progressive Leadership Fund — although their boards have common members and the organizations have the same staff. …
Federal law does not limit labor’s ability to communicate with its own members.
Labor has detailed lists of the names, addresses and contact information for the estimated 75,000 union members in Rhode Island. Union canvassers can visit the households as many times as they want, send unlimited mailing or make unlimited phone calls.

It isn’t my purpose, here, to spark a discussion of any of the laws involved in making this dizzying accountant’s dream legal. Rather, I’m curious how folks believe this comprehensive lobbying strategy fits in with some related positions in the economic platform put forward by Mr. Barack “New Tone, Stop the Special Interests” Obama, such as fighting to ensure the “freedom to unionize” and working “to ban the permanent replacement of striking workers, so workers can stand up for themselves without worrying about losing their livelihoods.” There’s also some overlap in his vision of “comprehensive energy independence and climate change plan” and, say, the Green Jobs Alliance.
There’s an ecologically sound bridge that Mr. Obama would like to sell (via tax dollars) to those who actually believe that he is a creature of compromise heretofore unseen in Washington.

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Tom W
Tom W
15 years ago

Like pieces of a puzzle, sometimes when one sees similar circumstances or events occurring in different places, one realizes that they are in fact related and part of a plan, not circumstantial coincidences. Just to skim the surface, note these two recent pieces (“Public Sector Reform” is particularly recommended):
EcoWorld (May 28) – “Public Sector Reform”:
Wall Street Journal (June 10) – “Look for the Union label” (about Devis-Bacon, which is “corporate welfare” for labor unions … at taxpayer expense):
“Green Jobs” and similar “green” initiatives are appearing to be the latest camouflage being used by the Left (and organized labor is part of the Left) to promote tax increases, restrictions on free trade and massive increases in “public works” projects funneling taxpayers dollars to union labor.
Fighting poverty doesn’t play anymore for increasing taxes – but everyone is for the environment, right? Who could object to that?
The real “global warning” is going to be the heat generated by ever taxpayers’ earnings being consumed in the furnace of government.

15 years ago

I guess the principles of grass roots democracy and building community alliances really are evil after all.

Justin Katz
15 years ago

There’s nothing wrong with such efforts. What’s suspicious is the rhetoric that seeks to disguise what’s really going on. What’s suspicious is the way “green” seems to have worked its way into economic plans even at the broad-based federal level and the way “green” and “public” overlap to form a synonym for “labor union.”
One begins to suspect that it’s really all about funneling money and power to particular people and groups, and that’s not appropriately democratic.

15 years ago

You mean we should be suspicious of any environment-friendly initistive on the odd chance that the business might be unionized?
That’s a mighty big reach at best. Plenty of corporations (even ones that don’t deal with unions at all) are learning these days that green is not only environmentslly friendly, but it’s good business.

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