Scot Lehigh is up to his usual in this column about Rep. Dan Winslow. Scratch the surface of a complex issue. Take at face value the pronouncements of a glib and ambitious politician. That’s great journalism.
Lehigh just loves Dan Winslow’s messages. “Let the managers manage!” “Unions have too much power!” If you want to know what’s really going on here, just look up at the column above Scot’s. It’s Jeff (“Isn’t he just a National Treasure”) Jacoby telling us that collective bargaining has no real place in government at all. Jacoby, like George W. Bush doesn’t do nuance. He knows his limitations so he doesn’t even try. So he adduces in support of his claims a 70-year old quote from Arnold Zander, founder of AFSCME, and a 56-year old quote from George Meany of the AFL-CIO. Besides, Texas, North Carolina and Indiana don’t allow public employees to bargain, and they’re doing just fine! There’s no “fundamental” right to collective bargaining anyway.
But someone once said, criticizing the pro-Soviet Polish government,
By outlawing Solidarity, a free trade organization to which an overwhelming majority of Polish workers and farmers belong, they have made it clear that they never had any intention of restoring one of the most elemental human rights-the right to belong to a free trade union.
That would be Ronald Reagan.
The right has decided to make its move against organized labor. Not only the Koch Brothers, but Karl Rove, and the conservapundits all the way down to Daniel B. Winslow see labor as ripe for the kill. Unionized labor is only 6.9% at private companies, but 36% of public employees, so that’s where the attack has to focus. Labor has huge negatives, many of its own making, but many from the relentless anti-labor messages over decades. So it’s euthanasia time. By now everyone knows that Scott Walker’s alleged budget bill is really about doing away with public unions. People just express it differently depending on their degree of right-wing-ness. That unions are responsible for Wisconsin’s budget mess is at very best case not proven. The budget mess in Texas is much bigger than Wisconsin, and Texas has virtually no public employee unions.
And Winslow’s “Let the managers manage” mantra, besides it’s quaint 19th century echoes, is part of the same right-wing theme. “Let the managers manage” was the rationale behind the repeal of the Glass-Stegall Act in 1999. Turn those managers loose and we’ll all be rich. How’d that work out?
So if you don’t think, contra Lehigh, that this is really about killing off unions I’ve got news for you. Do you know that the Zakim bridge is up for sale? Interested?