We Must Do Politics Or Have Politics Done To Us
December 14, 2017 10:12 AM   Subscribe

The Communications Workers of America reached a tentative deal with AT&T for 21,000 workers who had been without a contract since February. New Media giants Vox and Buzzfeed are fighting attempts of workers to unionize, with Vox accused of union busting (Vox Media Union response) and Buzzfeed’s Jonah Peretti continues his opposition to organization.

A “pan union” community effort in New Orleans among members of the hospitality and leisure fields, the Hospitality Workers Committee (NOHWC), is already seeing gains and the IATSA has negoitoated a union for script coordinators and writers assistants.

Meanwhile, the current administration’s attacks on public sector Unions continues, with the Sessions-led DOJ pushing for “right to work” legislation.
posted by The Whelk (21 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm actually one of those bad liberals who don't like unions. I prefer universal rights to those negotiated for a specific group and I prefer collaboration to confrontation between workers and managers.
So in an idealized future in which all enterprises are organized as worker's cooperatives and the government provides not only universal health care but also a universal pension and employers are required to show cause for all dismissals... I'll be happy to disband the union I'm a part of.
In the present, when the government is working to increase your freedom to have your arm taken off by industrial equipment without adequate compensation or be paid peanuts and fired on a whim? Definitely not!
posted by Octaviuz at 11:34 AM on December 14, 2017


So One Big Union then?
posted by dudemanlives at 11:44 AM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


Sad that a company like Vox that was founded by the people who created DailyKos and Netroots Nation has turned into just another shitty media company.
posted by octothorpe at 11:59 AM on December 14, 2017 [9 favorites]


Shameless hypocrisy always leaves me so befuddled as how to respond. It’s like I need some debate judge to throw a flag and take away points from the hypocrite. Sadly, simply shrugging of hypocrisy seems to be an effective response in Trump’s America.
posted by vorpal bunny at 12:14 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


But not all films or TV shows will have IATSE contracts that will include MPI (health plan) and very few writers’ assistants will work the 600 hours needed to be eligible. (The WGA sure didn’t want to add assistants to its membership, and IATSE didn’t support the last WGA strike.) This sounds like a great victory, bu it doesn’t really mean that much.
posted by Ideefixe at 12:27 PM on December 14, 2017 [3 favorites]


yesterday i made a buzzfeed quiz that suggested their CEO was an anti-union asshole. half an hour later:

"Your account was deleted for being self-promotional in nature by our Community team."

lol u mad, u mad
posted by Mikey-San at 12:41 PM on December 14, 2017 [11 favorites]


(it was a newly created account for just that one joke)
posted by Mikey-San at 12:42 PM on December 14, 2017


I'm actually one of those bad liberals who don't like unions. I prefer universal rights to those negotiated for a specific group and I prefer collaboration to confrontation between workers and managers.

I've actually argued the inverse of this to get my conservative brother to accept the idea of unions. By empowering the workers to negotiate with management on a more even playing field, you decrease the need for government intervention via direct regulation. Strong unions can lead to "less" government from this point of view.
posted by Groundhog Week at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


for the curious, the title was "choose some capitalist bullshit and we'll tell you if you're an anti-union asshole"

subtlety isn't my strong suit
posted by Mikey-San at 12:43 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


By empowering the workers to negotiate with management on a more even playing field, you decrease the need for government intervention via direct regulation. Strong unions can lead to "less" government from this point of view.

An economics commentator I follow on Twitter (@noahpinion) actually made that point in favor of unions as a capitalist. Freedom of contract is a basic element of the free market and the rational basis of negotiation is not between an entire corporation and an individual worker (the choices of the individual worker are too constrained to be free, e.g exit means starvation) but between the enterprise and its collective workforce. This of course reinforces that those currently in power do not actually believe in free markets. Obviously, unlike me he doesn't think cooperative socialism is the ideal end state.
posted by Octaviuz at 12:55 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


I've actually argued the inverse of this to get my conservative brother to accept the idea of unions. By empowering the workers to negotiate with management on a more even playing field, you decrease the need for government intervention via direct regulation. Strong unions can lead to "less" government from this point of view.

I think it's important to push for worker unions from all different kinds of ideological angles. The situation of "working for a boss" cuts across so many ideological divisions that having unions being too closely tied to one hurts their success. Worker organization should be one of those basic things like "having a military" that are widely supported and uncontroversial across party lines.
posted by cosmic.osmo at 1:35 PM on December 14, 2017 [5 favorites]


In other labor news today, the NLRB overturned their 2015 decision in Browning-Ferris Industries, ending their joint-employer standard, which allowed companies, in some circumstances, to be held responsible for the actions of their contractors and franchisees and could have enabled collective bargaining across franchises.
posted by zachlipton at 5:07 PM on December 14, 2017


I find myself in the slightly awkward position of never having been a union member, never having done the work that was traditionally unionized, being temperementally not well suited to union member ship, being professionally "management" for a while, and more and more convinced that we need strong unions to make any lasting headway. I was actually googling for catchy union slogans just a couple days ago (My favorite: United we bargain, divided we beg.)

Briefly I think anything given as an act of generosity is vulnerable in the American political climate. ("Benefits for the poor make poor benefits".) To be strong enough to defend something we need people strong enough to demand it. Paradoxically, people strong enough to demand something are more respected than people who politely ask.
posted by mark k at 6:07 PM on December 14, 2017 [1 favorite]


I think it's important to push for worker unions from all different kinds of ideological angles.

A reminder of the quick response in those cases when union opponents trot out the old canard "it's called collusion when employers get togther": This is wrong. It's actually called a corporation. A corporation is a band of capitalists, a union is band of laborers. We have all sorts of special laws to make corporations work and we need the same for unions.
posted by mark k at 6:12 PM on December 14, 2017 [6 favorites]


being temperementally not well suited to union member ship

do you like having health benefits, reasonable working conditions, and decent pay?
congratulations you are temperamentally suited to union membership
maybe you don't want to be active in the leadership but that's a different level of engagement
posted by halation at 5:49 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


do you like having health benefits, reasonable working conditions, and decent pay?
congratulations you are temperamentally suited to union membership


The word temperament isn't used as much as it was, but it does quite clearly mean something other than "did a cost benefit analysis."

I would completely join a union and encourage others too in a workplace where one existed or was being formed. Because I understand the benefits, and like vaccination it doesn't work unless everyone does it.

But there are aspects to even rank and file membership--as fundamental as "letting a majority of co workers decide if it's worth it for me to come in to work"--that cut against the grain for me and I'd have to remind myself intellectually why this made sense. Same way I hate needles and get jabbed anyway.
posted by mark k at 7:26 AM on December 15, 2017




workers at B&H Photo and Video get new contract after a year of fighting (I did some minor work on this!)
posted by The Whelk at 10:59 PM on December 20, 2017 [4 favorites]


Jet Blue Stewards to unionize
posted by The Whelk at 10:15 AM on December 21, 2017 [2 favorites]






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