IS LABOR LOSING POLITICAL INFLUENCE? | 2004-02-07
There is a lot of talk about the declining influence of "Labor" in American politics.
Let's get it straight what the word "Labor" means when the media uses it.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned the case where a group I headed was on the ground fighting busing in Louisville. White working class children were lining up at five o'clock in the morning to be bused into the ghetto and come home in the freezing darkness. Like every judge I have ever heard of who ordered busing, the judge who ordered busing in Louisville had grandchildren in private schools. They were still in bed at 5.
So our ally in this battle was the biggest electrical workers' local in America. They were infuriated that busing was only practiced on their children.
The head of the national AFL-CIO called the Louisville union and told them that if they continued to protest busing, he would withdraw their charter. They folded instantly.
That is what "labor" means to the media: it means those who take liberal orders.
During the fight over campaign finance reform, the liberals and their pet conservative senator John McCain kept complaining about the "deal breaker" that could destroy the bill. This was a proposal that would force unions to get members' permission to hand out political money instead of union bosses handing out political money as they chose. This, said the media and McCain, was an "anti-labor" idea.
Most union dues are spent backing political causes. To the media, "Labor" is the group that hands that money out. It is the group that is pro-busing.