Where are the great New Jersey labor writers?

Assembly Race to the Top hearing is still going on. Listen here LIVE.

Prepping for Labor Day’s morning News Roundup, I pulled a lot of great national Op-Eds about labor and the world of work. Mother Jones‘ profile of Mother Jones. AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka reminding me of the “greeters” at Wal-Mart. Later in the day, Michael Moore hit us (and Rahm Emanuel) with humor, and Roger Ebert & Open Left provided the soundtrack.

Norma Rae

But I only linked the national stuff when I gave Google  “Labor Day + NJ” I got mostly weather. Beach traffic. So, here I am.

Where are the great New Jersey labor writers?

Look, I admit ignorance here. My father was a union organizer, back when that got you blacklisted, and tracked by Sen. Joe McCarthy. My mother, in a teachers union. But I have never been a union member, despite my sometime nickname Norma Rae. And I frankly think the days of Which Side Are You On? have grown more complicated in this suburbanized state where a union-busting governor pits the rest of us against union workers and tells us they’re our trouble. More complicated because sometimes unions are, as E.J. Dionne, Jr. points out (in a post outing himself as a union romantic), union movements can have failures; corruption, undemocratic action, some union contracts excessive, “solidarity” that can turn into intimidation.

This site is dedicated decoding the political zeitgeist, but I’m convinced we’re not telling the whole story. The issues, problems, and victories of work, of working people, and of unions? Women’s wages. Immigrant working conditions. Cooperation/struggles between unions. Successes. Failures. Challenges. Stories.

Who is staying up late nights thinking about this? Who wants to write about that here? Drop us a line.  

Comments (3)

  1. firstamend07

    Once upon a time there was a thriving middle class in this country. Prior to Ronald Reagan things were built here and bought here. Workers had security ,fair wages, and a pension to look forward to when they retired. Companies thrived and reinvested in themselves which made for more jobs and more prosperity.

    Those were the days when one in three workers were unionized. The rising tide lifted all boats.

    But Reagan and the republicans started to repeat over and over again their ” unions are destroying this country” mantra.They said it so many times that people began to believe it.

    Where has that taken us?

    Since the attack on unions began 30 years ago millions of jobs have left this country. Even jobs in non-union areas left. Just as a rising tide lifts hope, a lowering tide crushes hope. The middle class is getting smaller. Millions do not have health benefits.Pension funds are in serious trouble. Young people cannot get jobs. Older people have to go back to work .

    Is this  all a coincidence? I do not believe in coincidences. I believe in cause and effect.

    The attack and subsequent decline of unionism in this country has made for a poorer economy where we are beholden to other countries for everything from our cars to our underwear.

    Looking back now, was our country better off with 1 in 3 workers being unionized or with 1 in 10 unionized?  

    The next time you hear Christie or some other republican denigrate Unions ask him /her if they believe in a strong middle class. If they do ask them if the middle class in this country was stronger in 1980 or right now. Then give them the facts and figures on unionized jobs.

    A strong union movement created the most dynamic economic power in the history of the world. A strong anti-union movement has brought that same country down a few notches. Coincidence?

    I do not believe in coincidences.      

  2. firstamend07

    I disagree with your premise that outside rhetoric can break up a union.

    A strong union is a union that has a fire in its belly and the concern of its members in its heart. A union like that cannot be broken up by outsiders.

    Weak unions are those where communication from the bottom to the top has stopped. Weak unions only communicate from the top down and the members begin to feel that they are no longer a “part” of something and have become just  pawns.

    When Union leaders start dictating to the membership that is the beginning of the end . Thati s when outsiders pounce on the union members who are disgruntled.

    That unfortunately is the state of many of the unions at this time.    


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *