Monday, September 12, 2011


Two stories in my newswipe struck me this morning perhaps more than most employment related stories do.

In Politics, according to Democratic strategist Gary South California Governor Jerry Brown has to ask himself: "How much of Labor's agenda can [Brown] veto and still have the kind of Labor support he's going to need if he's going to put tax [increase-extension] measures on the ballot in 2012?"

The bills in question:

Senate Bill 202
The bill, by Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, would require ballot initiatives in 2012 to be put on the November ballot. The measure would favor Democrats and their labor allies in initiative campaigns because Democratic turnout for the November presidential election is expected to be far higher than in the June primary.

Senate Bill 126
The bill, a compromise measure proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown and negotiated by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and the United Farm Workers union, would give farmworkers greater protections in labor disputes with growers. Brown previously vetoed legislation that would have let farmworkers organize by submitting signed petition cards instead of by secret ballot.

Assembly Bill 101
The bill, amended at the legislative deadline to include language by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, would let unions organize child-care providers who work out of the home. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, vetoed similar legislation three times.

Assembly Bill 740
The bill, by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills, would strengthen existing restrictions on state agencies using private contractors, forcing them to immediately end business with a private vendor if the State Personnel Board rules that the contract violates state law. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican, vetoed similar legislation.

Assembly Bill 183
The bill, by Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco, would prohibit grocery stores from selling beer, wine or liquor using electronic self-checkout lanes.

Senate Bill 922
The bill, by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would allow public agencies to require project labor agreements on construction projects, typically favoring unionized workers.

Read more:

The "problem" with these bills is that they are backed by Labor, and in today's climate of crisis/opportunity for the Predatory Class, "Labor backed bills" are a no-no. Even Big Democrats like Jerry Brown are expected to veto -- or fight -- any advances for Labor under any circumstances, and up to this point, despite overwhelming Labor support for his candidacy and election in 2010, Jerry Brown has done his part. No one in office is a friend of Labor these days, and that includes Jerry Brown and most of the other Democratic officials. The point, of course, is to hamstring organized labor and drive down wages and benefits no matter what. And Democrats in office, led by the White House, have been almost as eager to engage in the practice as Republicans. They're just not as rude and cruel about it. Generally.

The other story was from the New York Times and it is headlined:

Auto jobs coveted even at lower pay

It's about some assembly line workers at a Jeep factory in Detroit being paid half ($14 vs $28) what long-time employees make, and with eliminated or significantly reduced benefits to boot, and workers are lining up by the tens of thousands for these lower-paid manufacturing jobs. It's being touted as an amazing success story of the much maligned auto bailout from the early Obama years.

"Everybody is appreciative of a job and glad to be working," said Derrick Chatman, who makes $14.65 an hour putting tires on Jeeps after being laid off at Home Depot, working odd construction jobs and collecting unemployment.

What was once seen as a desperate move to prop up the struggling auto industry is now considered an integral part of its future. The demand for $14-an-hour manufacturing jobs is providing Detroit's Big Three automakers with a ready pool of eager new employees. Last year, Chrysler was flooded with inquiries about the jobs, and it froze the list after receiving 10,000 applications.

Read more:

Of course, as I've said many times, the whole point of the Obama administration's economic policies was to drive down wages and benefits typically by as much as 50%, for those who can get and keep jobs at all. And sure enough, here is a news story CELEBRATING the "success" of this policy.

People are desperate for employment; they'll take whatever they can get.

Employers like it. They love it. They want more of it. It's working so well. And the policies out of Washington DC and state capitols all over the country, including California's -- where every state office is held by a Democrat and the legislature is all but 2/3rds Democratic in both houses.

In other words, as perfectly evil as Scott Walker and his ilk and his sponsors are toward Labor, it's not that much better -- indeed only marginally so -- with Democrats in state houses and in the White House.

Labor is screwed no matter what.

I look at this situation as say, "Yes, the Dems are arguably marginally better on Labor and economic issues, sometimes. But most of the time, the best you can get out of elected Dems is lip service toward Labor issues and doing the right thing economically. They will enact -- and eventually extend -- the same policies as most Republicans will, and they will call it 'progressive'. And for their part, most labor unions will go along with it. 'To prevent further layoffs.'"

It's a vicious cycle, a race to the bottom, and no one in office is the least bit interested in reversing the trend.

Changing out whoever is in charge doesn't seem to impede the momentum of inertia that is moving all policy rightwards. Big Democrat, Friend of Labor, it doesn't matter. All policy is moving rightwards, constantly, with extraordinary speed.

At this point, it's obvious that electoral politics has little effect on the process of policy. This factor is part of my theory of the "divorce" of Government from the People -- or even acknowledgement by Government of the People's interest. It simply doesn't exist as a factor to consider any more.

The reasons are partly due to the fact that labor will yield, a fact which has been demonstrated over and over and over again. Union leadership is pathetic. When push comes to shove, they will not stand up for their membership, except (sometimes) on the most marginal of matters. Core matters of wages, benefits, working conditions and so on they yield on almost every time, even if there is a strike. Of course they do it out of a sense of doing "what's practical." If they don't yield, in other words, things will be worse for workers. If they yield quietly, sometimes they can gain a little around the margins on behalf of workers. What do you do?

When Labor yields, (almost) every time -- which is what they do -- why should policy-makers be in the least concerned about "labor issues?"

The same is true of every policy. If the People will do nothing in response to policies that the policy-makers need to concern themselves about, why should they be at all concerned with the People or the Public Interest?

Obviously, the Class War is won. We the People lost.

And these days, We the People aren't even fighting it any more.

October can't come soon enough.

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