Friday, April 29, 2011

Liberal Union Busting

Liberal and progressive bloggers, activists and journalists have been complaining a lot lately about how the Koch brothers, Tea Partiers and right wing Republicans have been attacking working people, unions, immigrants, seniors and the poor, especially in Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Indiana and Ohio. Party and class loyalties, nationalism and naïve acceptance of the American dream fantasy have blinded many to the fact that this is really just an escalation of the class war by the wealthy against the rest of us and that Democratic and even liberal lawmakers are fully on board with it. One example is the Democrat-controlled Massachusetts state House, which has just approved a bill that prevents public employees from collectively bargaining over their health benefits.

Without the right to collectively bargain health benefits, the state can unilaterally impose increased out of pocket payments, which is a de facto pay cut. They could also unilaterally reduce benefits. While not an outright attacks on unions’ existence, like recent measures in Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, it does limit union rights and power and therefore is an example of union busting.

Rather than obsessing over Republicans and the Tea Party, working people need to recognize that their true class enemy is the ruling elite, which includes all bosses, business owners and rich people in general, as well as their politician friends from both parties and even the leaders of many of the big unions (See Unions, What Are They Good For?) They need to get over the delusion that politics and voting will save them from further attacks on their living conditions. Democrats may pay lip service to unions, but it is only to win votes, not because they have any real solidarity with or empathy for working people. The anti-labor measure in Massachusetts is a good example.

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