Whitewashing the History of Organized Labor

In the midst of a long article on the Wisconsin public union dispute and organized labor’s role in bringing about “progressive change,” Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum quotes the following statement from left-wing historian Kim Phillips-Fein:

The strength of unions in postwar America had a profound impact on all people who worked for a living, even those who did not belong to a union themselves.

This is a fairly common view among progressives, who typically see labor unions as an unalloyed force for good, and you can expect to hear many variations on it as the political battle over state budgets and public sector workers heats up. The only problem with this rosy view is that it leaves out a significant—and unpleasant—part of the story.

As scholars ranging from the liberal political scientist Ira Katznelson to the libertarian legal historian David Bernstein have now documented, organized labor’s rise to power typically came at the expense of black workers. Consider collective bargaining, the legal arrangement whereby a union selected by a majority of employees receives the monopoly bargaining power to exclusively represent all employees. This valuable union tool first became part of federal law under section 7A of the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933. Since blacks were barred from the vast majority of unions at that time, collective bargaining served as a de facto ban on all black workers in unionized shops.

Here’s how an outraged 1934 editorial from the NAACP-published magazine The Crisis explained the results:

Seeking to avail itself of the powers granted under section 7A of the NRA, union labor strategy seems to be to form a union in a given plant, strike to obtain the right to bargain with the employers as the sole representative of labor, and then to close the union to black workers, effectively cutting them off from employment.

The black press reached the same negative conclusion, with leading black newspapers like The Chicago Defender attacking the pro-union NRA as the “Negro Removal Act,” “Negro Run Around,” and "No Roosevelt Again." According to the left-wing sociologist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois, "the most sinister power that the NRA has reinforced is the American Federation of Labor."

Two years later the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the National Industrial Recovery Act, but collective bargaining promptly reemerged via section 9 of 1935's National Labor Relations Act (also known as the Wagner Act, after its sponsor, Democratic New York Sen. Robert Wagner). That law originally contained a clause forbidding union discrimination against blacks, but the clause was dropped at the insistence of the American Federation of Labor—which then enjoyed state-sanctioned monopoly powers and continued its long tradition of excluding and mistreating black workers until the passage of federal civil rights laws in the 1960s. So much for organized labor's role in securing "progressive change."

The truth is that there's an ugly side to the "strength of unions." You may not hear much about that from liberal bloggers and noisy protesters, but it is still a fact.

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  • Warty||

    Cartels are evil, except when they donate to TEAM BLUE. How stupid are you, anyway, Damon?

  • Rhet Orical||

    What color is TEAM LIBERTARIAN?

  • Warty||

    I don't know, anonopussy. Finish the joke.

  • Wet Auricle||

    The color of MEAN.

  • ||

    I thought it was the color of greed. Or black, because top hats are black.

  • ||

    Can't be black, we're all RACISTS, remember?

  • ||

    What is the color of troll tears?

  • ||

    Cyan.

  • Rich||

    That's good, Epi -- and rather, um, subdued for you.

  • ||

    Cyan is the color of his penis after a week-long auto-asphyxiation jag.

  • Warty||

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    Charles: I'm trying...It's an embarrassing death. You always have to color it differently in the media.

  • ||

    I told you that in confidence! I never should have drunk all that vampire blood.

  • hmm||

    Pink. With green spots.

  • Rhet Orical||

    I can pull one string and make five puppets dance.

  • ||

    Rather's got sand in her vagina again.

  • hmm||

    When the chunks are fist sized is it still sand?

  • Warty||

    This doesn't sound like rectal. The grammar makes too much sense, and there aren't any embarrassingly inept jokes about our dicks.

  • ||

    What's amazing is that it thinks our mocking of it--for our own amusement--is it controlling us as puppets. Which is even more amusing. Delusion can be so fucking hilarious.

  • ||

    Exactly. As if being an annoying asswipe is some sort of accomplishment.

  • steven (incifed)||

    but...but, I worked hard at it. Shouldn't effort count?

  • ||

    As if being an annoying asswipe is some sort of accomplishment.

    Otherwise referred to as "The Joy Behar Fallacy."

  • Rhet Orical||

    I'm driving the short bus. Wheeee!

  • Rhet Orical||

    Episiarch makes six. I have room for four more.

  • ||

    I miss crayon.

  • ||

    I miss Neil. Remember when we had trolls of true quality? Not even funny like crayon, but really good? I still remember Neil's "lol"s and how they made joe so angry.

  • Warty||

    I still remember his thread about beer. Masterful.

  • ||

    Yeah, now it's all rather and her delusions of grandeur. On some thread the other day, "rather" and "Rhet Orical" held a "conversation" about how awful and mean we are. Pathetic. And this is just the stuff she bothers to post, imagine how bad when she muttering back and forth while crying in the bathtub and eating ice cream.

  • ||

    It's Rice Dream, not ice cream, NutraSweet. She's lactose intolerant and farts a lot.

  • Rhet Orical||

    All aboard!

  • Tony||

    That's a large vagina you have there.

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    What color is TEAM LIBERTARIAN?

    Gold. Really.

  • perlhaqr||

    Gold, of course.

  • steven||

    Yeah, well the Democrats are making up for the racist sins of the past. Do you think we still don't allow black into unions? You think unions don't help all workers?

    Dredging up ancient history like this is mendacious at best. Reason is a troll site for the Right.

  • Old Mexican||

    You're boring, steven.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Unions continue to agitate against the horrors of hiring Chinese electronics assemblers, Vietnamese seamstresses, or Mexican auto assemblers.

    Labour protectionism is racism.

  • Fluffy||

    Unions are about protecting privileged workers from competition from workers outside the union.

    Once, those workers were mainly blacks. Today, they're immigrants.

    Nothing has changed but the target. So it's not really ancient history.

  • Mr Whipple®©™||

    ^^THIS^^

  • ||

    Not to mention that this post was a response to the idea that unions were a historical force for good...

  • Rhet Orical||

    Reason is a troll site for the Right

    Close, but no cigar. Reason is a troll site for the hippie right, i.e. "libertarians."

  • Anonymous Coward||

    You think unions don't help all workers?

    No.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Things that happened less than a century ago are not ancient history. Considering that the heyday of the unions occured at a time of intense racial divisions in this country, I think it's important to point out that the unions allowed whites to inflate their salaries at the expense of black unemployment.

  • ||

    > the Democrats are making up for the racist sins of the past.

    Bullshit. The Democrats are just using black voters as a new kind of sharecropper.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Yeah, well the Democrats are making up for the racist sins of the past.

    Then why hasn't one of you smothered Robert Byrd with a pillow in his sleep yet?

  • ||

    Yeah, well the Democrats are making up for the racist sins of the past.

    Really? Can you name one example?

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Can anyone explain how both of these can be true?

    1. Unions are the only thing standing between us and exploitation by our bosses, making us wage slaves.

    2. Unionized public workers aren't making any more $$ than (non unionized) private workers. As a matter of fact, they're grossly underpaid.

  • MNG||

    Unions deal with things other than wages, and public unions actually often have less tools available than private unions (restrictions on striking and such).

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    Unions deal with things other than wages, and public unions actually often have less tools available than private unions (restrictions on striking and such).


    Say whaaaaat???

    http://online.wsj.com/article/.....90288.html

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    One of the tools public employee unions have is the ability to shut down 'essential' (i.e. too important to be left to the eeeevil private sector) services. Even if the strike is illegal, they count on nobody arresting them for it.

  • Number 2||

    Yeah Mex, public unions don't have tools available to them. They only get to vote for their bosses and contribute financially to their bosses' campaigns! That's hardly a weapon, is it?

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    So? Explaining why public unions are failures (in that they don't seem to have it better, in their eyes, than private works) doesn't disprove their failure.

  • MNG||

    I guess you missed point number one.

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    What, that public sector unions have massive, unfunded benefits that they say obligate us to pay higher taxes forever, voters' wished be dammed?

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Unions completely control industry in Kolkata, India, yet most the populace is still mired in poverty.

    Unions don't improve productivity (and thus do not improve total wealth).

  • DNS||

    public unions actually often have less tools available than private unions (restrictions on striking and such).

    As well they should. They work for the "public good." However, that is not entirely true. Police, thanks to Calvin Coolidge, cannot strike, for example. But, what is to prevent them from initiating a "Blue Flu" if they do not get what they want?

  • cynical||

    "Restrictions" on striking, you mean. But sometimes everybody just gets sick all at once.

  • Old Mexican||

    The truth is that there's an ugly side to the "strength of unions." You may not hear much about that from liberal bloggers and noisy protesters, but it is still a fact.


    No shit! I have tried to find proof for the allegation that unions created the middle class, and all I get are myriads of postings that repeat the same meme, but NO PROOF.

    By the way, Unions did NOT create the middle class, higher productivity did. You cannot increase wealth if you don't PRODUCE IT first - union role in this is peripherical, at BEST, a hindrance, at... normal.

  • MNG||

    Maybe it is not about increasing wealth but 'spreading it around?' If more of the pie went from a wealthy upper class to a poor class lifting them to a mid-point then they helped 'create' that middle class.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    Oh, my God - you too, MNG?

    Maybe it is not about increasing wealth but 'spreading it around?'


    World - meet another .... I am not going to say it .... that thinks MONEY is WEALTH.

    If more of the pie went from a wealthy upper class to a poor class lifting them to a mid-point then they helped 'create' that middle class.


    There's no pie, MNG. You have goods, you have production and you have exchanges. If you can increase the number of exchangeable goods, you increase people's wealth. Money is just a claim on future goods but not THE GOODS THEMSELVES.

  • prolefeed||

    If you can increase the number of exchangeable goods, you increase people's wealth.

    Well, technically, if you can increase the perceived VALUE of exchangeable goods, you increase wealth.

    If you have a box of used CDs gathering dust, then sell them on amazon.com, the net result is there are fewer goods (the same cds, minus the material goods used up in shipping them to their new owners), yet the value has increased substantially for both the sellers and the buyers.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: prolefeed,

    Well, technically, if you can increase the perceived VALUE of exchangeable goods, you increase wealth.


    Either way, through production or adding value by transformation, wealth clearly is NOT increased by forced redistribution.

  • ||

    If anything, unions are keeping more lower class individuals unemployed and thus poorer by increasing wages above the market clearing price. DWL FTL.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Yes, the famous pie liberals use as the basis of all their economic understanding. Because wealth can be so easily divided up.

    So if say, we dismantled Microsoft, dividing it equally among everyone in the US, would still be worth anything? Or is it the sum of its parts that make it the multi-billion dollar company it is? It other words, it HAS to be concentrated in order to fucntion. Dividing wealth generally destroys it.

  • DNS||

    But....but...fairness!

  • MNG||

    Oh Christ on a Cracker, the 'racist union' meme.

    Like nearly every institution of the times unions years ago were riddled with racism. The remarkable thing is that when the Civil Rights Movement hit they moved to the right side of history at that pivotal time. Sadly many institutions, such as the Goldwater campaign much ballyhooed around here, did not.

  • hmm||

    Was racism codified in every institution of its time?

  • MNG||

    What do you mean 'codified?'

  • Rich||

    You know. Like, were there "states rights"?

  • ||

    O Rly? Like the way they support Mexican workers? Oops...I guess they're still on the wrong side. They took ur jerbs!

  • MNG||

    Unions have been pretty good with Mexican workers Epi. The AFL-CIO and SEIU has a ton of them. But you're talking about illegal labor I'm guessing.

  • ||

    I'm talking about protectionism. I think it's bad, for both the economy and for freedom. The unions live for it, including immigrant labor.

    Don't let your reflexive support of unions blind you to their racist overtones and thuggery.

    I have zero problem with collective bargaining as long as it has no special legal protections. But you can't seem to admit the many faults of unions.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: MNG,

    Unions have been pretty good with Mexican workers Epi.


    Sure it is:

    http://www.wsws.org/articles/2.....-a02.shtml

    And that's a socialist website, baby.

  • WTF||

    Well, that shut him up.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    The Republican Party in the 19th century was much less racist than other parties at the time. For example, it didn't support slavery.

    I consider the civil war to be a "pivotal time" in the history of civil rights, much more so than the 1960s. Slavery is pretty much the definition of not having any civil rights.

  • Michael||

    Oh Christ on a Cracker, the "unions created the middle class" meme.

    Like nearly every empty headed mantra of all time eternal it is riddled with speciousness yet strangely unfalsifiable. The remarkable thing is that it managed to survive and be propagated by the very people upon whose labor it parasitically feeds from. Sadly many institutions, such as the Goldwater campaign much ballyhooed around here, did not.

  • Fluffy||

    MNG, I think it's slightly different in this case, for the simple reason that the main complaint unions had in the first place was that employers undercut the price of labor by bringing in "cheap" labor.

    Somebody's got to be the cheap labor being excluded by the collective bargaining process.

    So who's that gonna be?

    I don't think it's just a matter of racism being endemic to every institution. When the entire reason your institution comes to exist in the first place is "We gotta stop the bosses from giving those niggers our jobs!" you don't get to plead "cultural background of racism" as your excuse.

  • Pip||

    If the racist "meme" (per MNG is of limits, then so to is the 8-hour day bullshit.

  • steven||

    I fail to see how a self-indentifying libertarian could be anti-union. This drivel just sends home the point that you're anti-union for the sake of being anti-union. Yeah, yeah "we are out of money" whatever. Why shouldn't the taxpayer help out some more? What gives the government the right to bust unions? What about freedom of association?

    It seems liek you pick and choose want you want to believe by whatever talking points you have handy. Name calling is cute and all but these people are fighting for the same things you are. We are in this together.

  • STEVE SMITH||

    STEVE SMITH IMPRESSED BY STEVEN'S RAPING OF LOGIC IN HIS POSTS. STEVE SMITH THINKS HE COULD BE RAPING BUDDY.

  • (||

    Your schtick is boring and hackneyed.

  • Appalachian Australian||

    Libertarians think people are free to organise peacefully in any manner they wish, be it a business partnership, labour union, political party, or otherwise.

    We object when an organisation of people demands to take money by force from the public at large, which is what public sector unions do.

  • steven||

    I think you're falling into the "taxation = theft" fallacy. Why have public sector workers at all if that's the way you're going to play it.

  • robc||

    Taxation is theft. No fallacy.

  • robc||

    Note: Exception for single land tax.

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    Why have public sector workers at all

    Try answering that question first.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: steven,

    I think you're falling into the "taxation = theft" fallacy.


    Why is it a fallacy?
    Taxation: The forceful taking of property that does not belong to you
    Theft: The forceful taking of property that does not belong to you.

    Why have public sector workers at all if that's the way you're going to play it.


    Why, indeed? Why?

  • Tony||

    And "belong to" means what exactly?

  • Marxist Troll||

    No one owns anything! Can you own a cloud? Can you own a rainbow?

  • .||

    No one owns anything! Can you own a cloud?

    HEY! YOU! GET OFF OF MY ClOUD!!!

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    And "belong to" means what exactly?


    Shit.

    http://www.suite101.com/course.cfm/17267/seminar

    It's free.

  • ||

    Well you seem to be arguing that property "belongs" to whoever has the ability to take it by force. I mean, what other reason could there be to say property belongs to the government rather than the person who recieved it in a free transaction?

  • Tony||

    One of the central aspects of OM's repeated "taxes=theft" error is his begging the question when it comes to "belonging to." Ownership is not a concept that exists in the structure of nature. It has to be defined legally for it to mean anything but whatever is kept and held by force. Therefore, if government (whose law defines ownership) taxes you, those taxes are taken legitimately and not by theft (a crime that, similarly, is defined by law).

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    One of the central aspects of OM's repeated "taxes=theft" error is his begging the question when it comes to "belonging to." Ownership is not a concept that exists in the structure of nature.


    I think you should turn on your irony detector there, Tony, sweetheart.

    By the way, you still own your ass, don't you? Or does it belong to someone else?

    A primer on ownership:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....r_embedded

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Tony,

    Ownership is not a concept that exists in the structure of nature. It has to be defined legally for it to mean anything but whatever is kept and held by force.


    Defined "legally"? And that's not circular thinking because....?

    Therefore, if government (whose law defines ownership) taxes you, those taxes are taken legitimately and not by theft


    Because, you see, the same government that defined what's yours said it is not theft!

    Ha ha ha ha!!!!

  • WTF||

    OM - once again, you have my admiration for taking the time and effort to try to educate Tony, which is like trying to educate a brick wall. A very very stupid brick wall.

  • nekoxgirl||

    So Tony, are you arguing nobody had a concept of ownership before a government defined property rights? Or is it more likely that people already had a concept of property and formed a government to protect it?

    As I tried to explain on another thread, the government exists to protect property. Property doesn't exist because there is a government. Without a government, people would still have a concept of ownership.

    They would just be one their own in defending it. And if the government has become so corrupt that it is acting the part of the thief, maybe that is the only solution...

  • Tony||

    Obviously the concept of "mine vs. yours" existed, and has for as long as human beings have, no doubt.

    Governments exist to formalize these things so that everybody agrees about them (that is, they agree on the legitimacy of the laws, even if they think are wrong). It cannot be any other way. We are not living according to a tribal honor system. We are living according to a formalized (and highly complex) system that allows millions of people to interact peacefully. So when you're talking about property, you're talking about how our society defines it, not how a hypothetical stone age society might, which apart from being inadequate and irrelevant to our lives, is equally arbitrary.

  • cynical||

    Not really. Any non-corrupt system of property came into being by codifying pre-existing social convention, and while force certainly played a role in keeping people honest, not being a dick to other people just because you could get away with it was probably also key to letting society become organized enough to make that decision.

  • Tony||

    Not really. Any non-corrupt system of property came into being by codifying pre-existing social convention, and while force certainly played a role in keeping people honest, not being a dick to other people just because you could get away with it was probably also key to letting society become organized enough to make that decision.

    Surely most conventions come about this way. Doesn't mean I have to accept OM's property policies over a more sane variety.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Ownership is not a concept that exists in the structure of nature.

    Wrong as always. Ownership exists in nature. Many species of animals naturally understand the concept of separate territory with various means of marking and identifying said territory as exclusively the property of one animal or a group of animals. Animals combat each other over violation of ownership over territory, resources, and mates.

    Ownership, when boiled down to its most "natural" level is a claim of ownership or exclusivity and the ability to enforce said claim or exclusivity. Since homo sapiens no longer have a taste for combat as a means of resolving property disputes, we have judges to evaluate claims to property and sheriffs to enforce the judges' decisions concerning the property.

    "Ownership doesn't exist in nature." Next thing you'll be telling us is that kissing hookers on the mouth is the right thing to do.

  • .||

    It has to be defined legally for it to mean anything but whatever is kept and held by force.

    Bullshit, dude. It has to be defined morally for it to mean anything. Without that all "legally" means is that it is "kept and held by force."

  • ||

    Therefore, if government (whose law defines ownership) taxes you, those taxes are taken legitimately and not by theft

    Shorter Tony: "Whatever the State points to is, rightfully, the State's."

  • ||

    as in, the basement Tony lives in belongs to his parents.

  • Tony||

    I live 25 stories in the air with a riverside view. I don't like sleeping anywhere near the ground, let alone under it.

  • .||

    Guess where you're going to sleep for Eternity, Snookums. :-)

  • Rich||

    You do know this is a libertarian site, right?

  • steven||

    I thought this site was about freedom, but apparently it's just a bunch of old fools playing with themselves a la lemonparty.

  • robc||

    Freedom allows for that too.

    Stop being an ass or fuck off.

  • ||

    Fuck off, dipshit.

  • ||

    No, we're playing with you. I don't expect you to get the difference, but I thought I'd throw it out there anyway.

  • Rich||

    I detect potential, steven, so I'll be gentle. It *is* about freedom. However, if the regulars perceive a chip on your shoulder, it's clobbering time. And, careful what you ask for -- you might get it. Loosen up, have some fun, and learn about freedom.

    Oh, and thanks for sharing lemonparty (NSFW). Brr.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Steven,

    I fail to see how a self-indentifying libertarian could be anti-union.


    It's a good thing, because libertarians aren't. At least in MY case, I am not anti-union - I am anti-giving them leverage by government fiat. That's NOT the same thing.

    Why shouldn't the taxpayer help out some more?


    And who helps the taxpayer, thief?

    It seems liek you pick and choose want you want to believe by whatever talking points you have handy.


    The jackass, talking about ears...

  • robc||

    What OM said.

    Im pro-union. I oppose "right to work" laws because they prevent an employer from negotiating freely with his workers (if he wants to negotiate to a closed shop, that is up to him).

    I oppose absolutely public sector unions.

    If you dont see the difference, you are an idiot.

  • cynical||

    "Im pro-union. I oppose "right to work" laws because they prevent an employer from negotiating freely with his workers (if he wants to negotiate to a closed shop, that is up to him)."

    In a vacuum, you would probably be right, but the same argument could be made as for CRA -- when the state is promoting one unfair policy for so long that it leaves a dent in society, sometimes it has to take a hammer to the other side to try to straighten things out, however imperfectly.

  • steven||

    I can't help but wonder if public sector unions actually stuck to their stated purpose and helped their workers would there be a problem? It seems that the political leverage and the "owning the Left" are the biggest issues here.

  • robc||

    I would have a problem with it. Absolute means absolute.

  • robc||

    Just because liberals and conservatives dont have principles, dont assume we dont too.

  • robc||

    Maybe you should fucking ask before assuming, fucktard.

  • steven||

    That seems uncalled for, you outrageous prick. Okay. My contention is that this issue is only important insofar as the unions have outsized political sway. Just because libertarians think they have principles doesn't mean the other 99.99% of the country has any.

  • robc||

    Outrageous!!!!

    It was exactly called for, you come in leveling unsubstantiated insults at us, without reading for a month or two first (my general rule on websites). Who gives a fuck what the rest of the country has or doesnt have, we dont. So fuck off slaver.

  • Rhet Orical||

    leveling unsubstantiated insults at us, without reading for a month or two first

    Anarchists have rules?

  • ||

    Maybe you could name a couple of those principles that the 99.99% adhere to.

    Sure, we've seen from Wisconsin some of the progressive principles at work: lie, distort, agitate, threaten illegal acts, equivocate, etc, but I think you know which ones we're talking about.

  • ||

    By flipping Steven's logic, being against state-protected/subsidized monopoly and limited liability = anti-business and anti-free market.

  • Zeb||

    "It seems liek you pick and choose want you want to believe by whatever talking points you have handy."

    It is always pretty funny when people say things like this about libertarians. You can say a lot of things about libertarians: impractical, overly idealistic, rigidly bound to priciple. But consistency is one thing we are pretty good at.

    And I also fail to see how any libertarian could be anti-union. People should be free to voluntarily associate in any way they want to. But employers should not be forced to deal with them. Public sector unions are a different matter. The legislature needs to be in control of how public employees are paid and the way it is decided should be public and transparent.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I fail to see how a self-indentifying libertarian could be anti-union.

    That's because you're stupid.

    Libertarians are not anti-union, they are anti-government-employee-union. Massive difference. If you fail to see it, it is because of your willful blindness

  • ||

    I'm not even against government employee unions, inherently. If a bunch of government workers want to organize and say "we're not coming into work until you give us x", that's their right because they own their labor.

    What we oppose is saying the government can't choose to fire said workers and hire new ones willing to work for reduced benefits, salary, etc.

  • Rrabbit||

    That indeed is the problem - but it is US specific. A union has its place in collective bargaining and in ensuring a safe work place, but it should get no say in who gets hired. And if somebody gets fired, well, it seems reasonable to let a worker's representative comment on the firing before the employee actually is fired, to prevent abuse by low level managers. But that's it.

  • Trespassers W||

    I'm not anti-union. Nor pro-union.

    Christ, that would be like being anti-corporation. Or pro-corporation.

  • steven ||

    Well are you or aren't you? You have to pick a side and stick with it! Otherwise you're just as bad as those ratbagging libertarians!

  • ||

    In both cases, we can be against the legal entity of "union" or "corporation" while not against similarly structured unincorporated voluntary associations with no binding power, subsidization or liability protection.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    What gives the government the right to bust unions? What about freedom of association?

    The same right that allowed it to bust US Steel, Ma Bell, and any other cartel organized for the purpose of manipulating and distorting the actual market value of goods and services.

  • ||

    Yeah, yeah "we are out of money" whatever. Why shouldn't the taxpayer help out some more?

    Oh, how I hope and pray that the preceding actually constitutes Team Blue's overall election campaign mantra, come '12.

    With them finally out of the way, having successfully committed suicide-by-general-electorate: that will just leave Team Red for us to deal with... and better one enemy to face than two, I always say.

  • jtuf||

    The Progressive movement was full of racists. At the time, progressive evolution devotees believed that Blacks were the missing link between apes and Whites.

  • MNG||

    Few movements in the US at the time were not 'full of racists.' By 1948 self-styled progressives were supporting the Wallace campaign and it's pro-civil rights stance. In fact, many conservative Dixiecrats began to leave the party at that time. Guess where they found a home?

  • steven||

    Tennessee?

  • DNS||

    Mississippi?

  • Harry Reid||

    Nevada?

  • Pip||

    Berlin?

  • Grand Wizard Robert C. Byrd||

    I don't know, MNG. Why don't you tell us?

  • Robert C. Byrd||

    Hey, I was an Exalted Kleagle, jackass.

  • Almanian||

    American Nazi Party? Too soon, wasn't it...

  • cynical||

    The Dixiecrat Party?

  • .||

    By 1948 self-styled progressives were supporting the Wallace campaign and it's pro-civil rights stance.

    Wallace? You don't mean George Wallace, do you?

  • JSinAZ||

    MNG refers to Henry Wallace (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_A._Wallace)

  • Pip||

    No racism here, but given that Eve (the fossil one) came from Africa and she was descended from a common ape-like ancestor, and given that white people are the result of Africans migrating north, is it really outlandish to assert that Blacks were the missing link between apes and Whites?

  • prolefeed||

    is it really outlandish to assert that Blacks were the missing link between apes and Whites?

    Yep, that is racist.

    Now, if you phrase it "whites are people of black ancestry who have, over many generations, had some subtle genetic alterations and changes in emphasis in expression of genomes to allow them to better adapt to colder and less sunlit regions", then sure.

  • prolefeed||

    Shorter: My part black girlfriend would have a huge problem with your racist formulation, and would agree with my reality-based statement.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Hasn't the discovery of admixture with neanderthals and other proto-humans disproved the out of Africa hypothesis in its purest form?

  • Boxbot||

    If anything, the line should be that blacks are the real humans, and Caucasians and Asians are bizarre half-breeds polluted with Neanderthal and Heidelberg genes

  • Tony||

    It's factually incorrect, not to say outlandish.

  • ||

    Pip,

    It is outlandish. Apes, monkeys and humans evolved in parallel from a common proto-simian ancestor. Modern apes and monkeys are, at best, our cousins.

  • jtuf||

    Pip, yes, it is racist. Blacks and Whites evolved from a common primate ancestor. Both races have the same evolutionary distance between this generation and the first generation of humans. An actual missing link would be a long dead human from a previous generation.

  • hmm||

    Everyone loves a monopoly when they benefit from it.

  • Ragin Cajun||

    Racism? Next thing you know, someone will be claiming that unions have been involved with the Mafia, too.

  • ||

    Hate unions, hate unions, hate unions...got it

  • Appalachian Australian||

    I am grateful for private sector unions and have much to be thankful for in my own life due to the UMWA in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

    FDR and George Meany (head of AFL in the 50s) both agreed public sector unions are a bad idea, and FDR was a big-government socialist.

  • Old Mexican||

    Hate statist fucks, hate statist fucks...

    C'mon, OhioOrrin, say after me!

    Hate statist fucks,
    hate statist fucks,
    hate statist...

  • UrineOhio||

    Hello, piss facktery!

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "The strength of unions in postwar America had a profound impact on all people who worked for a living, even those who did not belong to a union themselves."

    I'm starting to hear this bullshit being regurgitated more often lately because of what's going on in Wisconsin, etc.

    They usually start off with, "If it weren't for unions, we wouldn't have ______ (fill in the blank).

    They can't prove a single word of it.

    No union has ever had anything whatsoever to do with me having anything that I've got.

    The ONLY thing that would ever constitute proof that one did would be if I were explicitly a member of one which had legally negotiated benefits for me.

  • Tony||

    Enlighten us, where did weekends come from?

  • Pip||

    The Gregorian calendar?

  • Marxist Troll||

    Yeah, you tell 'em, Tony. Unions created the 7-day week! And ice cream! And puppies!

  • The Bible||

    Religion.

  • Tony||

    Kinda, yes. Weekends (meaning time off from work) were first introduced to accommodate Jewish workers and their sabbath. At the insistence of unions. The point being, if you enjoy having one, not to mention a 40-hour work week and the right not to be maimed at work without compensation, thank a union member.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Unions get no credit for any benefits for anyone other than the specific individuals who were actually members of unions and for whom unions negotiated those benefits.

    Absolutely nothing other than that is definitive enough to constitute proof.

    And of course, as is always the case, you either prove something with absolute definitiveness or you're proven absolutely nothing. There's no in between.

    It is nothing but pure speculation and opinion as to what benefits non union workers would have ever had without unions around.

  • jtuf||

    Tony, time off from work in America goes back to colonial times. Some colonies mandated taking Sunday off with blue laws. The practice goes back much farther in Europe. The Romans criticized the Jews for taking Saturday off.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    The calender.

    Saturday and Sunday have been around a long time.

  • hmm||

    I don't know, but I seem to work through most so what's your point?

  • ||

    You should unionize.

    *snert* *chortle*

  • Rich||

    No need to. I just trademarked Saturday™ and Sunday™.

  • ||

    Stupid people love unions...nepotisim at its finest. All you need is one buddy to get your foot in the door & you are paid for life, regardless of how effective you are. I don't care if some company will put up with that, but I certainly won't. And the taxpayers of wisconson shouldn't either

  • wright||

    Yep, you got that right. It's nearly impossible to get into some unions unless you have a close relative or friend who's a member. As a young man I once tried to get into the apprenticeship program of a local trade union. Scored higher on the exam than anyone who took it, they said, but I couldn't get in unless I had a union job. Couldn't get a union job unless I was in the union. Nice deal for someone, but not me evidently.

  • ||

    This article is ridiculous! The author CLEARLY knows noting of the long history of civil rights activism and labor activism. I mean, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, this is like history 101. Where was Martin Luther King Jr. when he was assassinated? Supporting the strike of Memphis Sanitation workers looking to join AFSCME (a union, just in case you don't know that either). Yeah, labor hasn't always been perfect but it is beyond stupid to essentialize this issue into clauses of the NRA or the AFL. What about the long history of the CIO before it joined with the AFL? The CIO was one of the most radical labor organizations at the time and fully supported civil rights.

    What about the locals supporting tobacco plants in North Carolina during the 1940's? These factories were predominantly black but were unionized and had an incredibly pushback against the boss to get their rights WITH the support of the UCAPAWA?

  • Almanian||

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaawn! Nice try, though!

  • ||

    I like it better when we have TEAM RED twits segulling the site. Less shrieking, in general.

  • ||

    There needs to be a mix. Too much TEAM RED is really, really boring. And I have to say that the TEAM BLUE stupidity over unions is so epic that it has its own level of awesome. Let's enjoy it while it lasts.

  • Marxist Troll||

    I think you need anger management. Which would be free under socialized healthcare.

    Hugs would be free too.

  • ||

    (hugs Marxist Troll...to death)

  • ||

    2. The right to bear hugs...

  • Almanian||

    .27 The right to hug bears...to death.

  • ||

    I think they tend to be less startled when they witness other takes on history. I mean, at this point, has anyone in America NOT been told that the 60s were a magical time full of love and fairness, while the 50s were evil and sad.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Katie M,

    This article is ridiculous! The author CLEARLY knows noting of the long history of civil rights activism and labor activism. I mean, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, this is like history 101.


    Yeah, history 101:

    http://www.independent.org/pdf.....2_bern.pdf

    "The opportunities semiskilled African American workers found in the railroad
    industry were perpetually endangered by the racist policies of the railroad unions.

    The so-called operating unions, representing workers in train and engine service, launched collective bargaining in the 1880s and developed into some of the strongest unions in the United States. The shop-crafts unions and other so-called nonoperating unions developed more slowly, but gradually they too gained power.

    Almost all of the major railroad unions banned African Americans from membership by constitutional provision. African Americans were also banned from other unions that had large memberships among railroad workers, including the Boilermakers, the International Association of Machinists, and the Blacksmiths. White workers understood that excluding African Americans undermined labor solidarity and made it much more difficult for their unions to negotiate successfully with railroad management. One Texas fireman nevertheless declared that "we would rather be absolute slaves of capital, than to take the negro into our lodges as a [sic] equal and brother" (Arnesen 1994, 1629).

    The brotherhoods were initially successful in excluding African Americans from jobs in which few African Americans were employed; railroad management did not want to risk racially motivated strikes if no ready reserve of African American workers existed to replace striking whites. For example, because African Americans had never acquired many jobs as conductors or engineers, it was not difficult to exclude them from those jobs (Sundstrom 1990). In the North and West, firemen and brakemen were initially overwhelmingly white. The entrenched white workers insisted on applying a stringent color line, and railroad managers usually capitulated (Harris 1982, 41; Arnesen 1994, 1608).

    The trainmen and firemen brotherhoods had far more difficulty excluding African Americans from their crafts in the South, because many African Americans had entered those occupations at a time when the jobs were hot and dirty and therefore considered "Negro work." As technological improvements made those jobs less unpleasant, they became attractive stepping stones to conductor and engineer positions, and therefore increasingly appealed to white workers (Spero and Harris 1931, 284).

    Despite union pressure, railroads [OM: those eeeeevil corporations] had incentives to hire African American workers.
    African American firemen and trainmen earned about 10 to 20 percent less than
    whites (although railroad representatives insisted that this difference was due to productivity
    differences). Moreover, white engineers preferred to work with African American firemen, who were more willing than whites to serve as the engineers' valets; the engineers also wanted new engineering jobs to be reserved for unemployed engineers, not for white firemen seeking promotion (Arnesen 1994, 1621–22; Sundstrom
    1990, 429)."

    Bottom line: FUCK YOU, Katie M!

  • Montani Semper Liberi||

    So if I give a bunch of examples of when whites and blacks worked together in the South prior to the 1960's does that mean there was no racism in the South? A few counterexamples don't disprove the premise of the article, which isn't that everyone in the union is racist, but there were significant racist elements. CLEARLY you should recognize that, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE!

  • W.E.B. Du Bois||

    So I give a few examples of black men walking unmolested through Southy Boston, does not mean I have no fear of being punched, or worse? Or, should not avoid the place altogether?

  • Fluffy||

    It's perfectly appropriate to essentialize the issue into one overriding point:

    Unions seek to raise the price of labor by excluding potential competitors.

    Those potential competitors will always be workers with less privilege and status than the unionized workers themselves.

    No union would be needed if there wasn't another worker willing to replace the unionized worker at terms more favorable to the employer.

    That's what the left has never really gotten: that the enemy of the union isn't the employer, it's every worker outside the union.

  • Fluffy||

    The left makes these types of errors a lot.

    For example, many people on the left think that rent control laws are targeted at landlords.

    They aren't, really. The enemy of the rent-controlled tenant isn't the landlord, it's the potential renter who wants to rent that apartment and is willing to pay a higher rent. That's the person the rent-controlled tenant has to exclude.

    Just like the unionized worker has to exclude the worker willing to work for less.

    Not that this means I oppose voluntary unions, of course. Standard libertarian disclaimers apply.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "That's what the left has never really gotten: that the enemy of the union isn't the employer, it's every worker outside the union."

    Lefty politicians got it a long time ago. That's why they exempted unions from anti-trust laws.

  • nekoxgirl||

    Right on! In defense of liberals, it's hard to understand stuff like that if you think the economy is a pie or something.

  • nekoxgirl||

    It's been awhile since I read, "The People's History of the United States," mostly because I know understand now that Howard Zinn was an idiot but if I remember correctly, even he pointed out that many of the labor unions were racist.

  • cynical||

    Not all unions are shit, even now, especially when you look at the local level, but the premise of the article was to avoid turning a blind eye to the harm that unions have caused people in addition to the help they've provided to other people, and you can't leave NRA or AFL out of that discussion and hope to get a nuanced view.

  • Libertarian purist||

    When businesses refuse to serve black people, they are exercising their freedom of association.

  • Liberal purist||

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Libertarian purist,

    When businesses refuse to serve black people, they are exercising their freedom of association.


    Totally agree. And when businesses refuse to serve white people (as some black establishments to) they are ALSO exercizing their freedom of association.

    So FUCK YOU!

  • Tony||

    Are you trying to tell me there were racists--nay, institutional racism--in 1933???

  • Old Mexican||

    Yes.

    Next question?

  • Gus||

    OT (kind of) but now that Chipotle has fired hundreds of workers for failing to provide I-9 forms, I have noticed that they suddenly have a lot more blacks working there (and a few white people too now). So it makes me think that that whole "They do jobs American won't do" is just bullshit.

  • steven||

    You mean the illegals were just for authenticity? I'm shocked, SHOCKED.

  • Warty||

    You eat Chipotle? You disgust me.

  • ||

    He just needs some Chipotlaway, Warty, to clean the blood stains from his underwear. Then he'll just have union spooge on his face and not in his pants.

  • Gus||

    No. But I walk by two of gthem on my way to Zelo.

    http://www.zelomn.com/

  • Warty||

    SALADS and SOUPS

    Ciao Baby
    organic greens, pine nuts, Donnay Farms organic goat cheese
    with balsamic vinaigrette 7 / 9
    *v *gf

    You eat at a place that serves a salad called "Ciao Baby"? You are the reason that murder should be legal.

  • ||

    But it's vegan and gluten free!

  • Gus||

    I go there for this:

    Linguini di Mare
    tiger shrimp, mussels, scallops, fresh fish
    and saffron tomato sauce 17 / 21

    Tasty as it gets.

  • ||

    What an utterly prosaic menu. Every we're-gonna-be-the-hip-new-lunch-bistro has the same fucking menu. Of course it has an ahi tuna burger. Of course. No one has that!

  • Warty||

    Dude! Sliders!!!!!!!

  • ||

    A ravioli filled with pumpkin or squash? I've never heard of such a thing! We must go there at once!

  • Almanian||

    Sliders - now we're talkin

  • Gus||

    So where the fuck am I supposed to eat if the range of Chipotle to Zelo is off-limits?

  • Warty||

    Save the money you waste on shitty restaurants and buy a chest freezer and half a steer. Then you can eat like a human being is supposed to eat.

  • Gus||

    This is where I go for lunch on weekdays. And saving money and eating lunch are not mutually exclusive.

  • Gus||

    An organic greens, pine nuts, Donnay Farms organic goat cheese
    with balsamic vinaigrette 7 / 9
    *v *gf
    by any other name...

  • robc||

    How much are they paying the new employees though?

    Maybe Americans werent willing to work at the same price the I-9less were.

  • Gus||

    I know people who have worked for 80 cents/day in prision. You cool with that?

  • cynical||

    Fuck no. All proceeds from their work should go toward paying back their victims.

  • Spoonman.||

    My wife and I went to Chipotle once. We then realized we could make something just as good ourselves from Kroger's extensive Mexican section at about 1/50th the cost.

  • Warty||

    Speaking of racism, pasty soft white boys do awesome in prison, right?

  • Fluffy||

    I don't like the statute in question, but this definitely seems like the case where such a statute was needed.

    Hometown white boys protected by corrupt cops and an all-white jury get away with murder.

    There's got to be some remedy for that short of me donning a mask and a cape and killing these fuckers myself. So I guess that's where a federal statute might help.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    I don't know. 9 years for beating a guy to death is pretty fucking generous.

  • .||

    And what would have happened if they had been found not guilty under the Feds? Would they have been sent to Mexico to be tried a third time? So much for Constitutional protections against double jeopardy.

    And isn't it just special that the corrupt cops got off? The justice system in this country is a fucking joke.

  • brec||

    The word "postwar" in the Kevin Drum quote seems to have been overlooked by Mr. Root.

  • steven (incifed)||

    I don't know how Tony does it. After one (1) thread of pretending to be willfully stupid I have come to the conclusion that "Tony" is far more than one person. And you guys called me names and hurt my feelings too. Eh, maybe it was two (2) threads of being stupid. Regardless, I think I need to find a more engaging job so I don't waste all my time being a troll trolling trolls.

    At least steven got told.

  • Warty||

    What threads? I didn't notice you. Maybe you should make up a fake blog and whore it next time.

  • steven (incifed)||

    I have just this one. Calm down toadman, I leave in peace. It is exhausting to be this stupid all at once. I'm sticking to the morning links from now on.

  • Warty||

    Well, it was a good attempt. I salute you for referring to Lemon Party.

  • ||

    You know, maybe we need two rectals? A male to pair with the female? Like at the zoo.

  • steven (incifed)||

    is she hot?

  • Warty||

    Read her blog and tell us what you think.

  • ||

    She took down those pics of her in those enormous jeans. It was enough denim to clothe an entire family in New Delhi.

  • waffles||

    Nice. She's a decent pet troll. Say, whatever happened to max, did he ever really exist? If I am a troll, do I exist?

  • waffles (steven)||

    I've been laughing myself silly this afternoon, perhaps I'll get fired. After all, I'm not in a union and I am stealing from my employer. I'd rather not broach the subject of rather.

    Ah, H&R, most elegant time waster and informer of current events. If you don't cost me my paycheck from cubicle hell you should.

    Time to go see the occupational hypnotherapist, hope he keels over.

  • Warty||

    ALL HAIL THE OCCUPATIONAL HYPNOTHERAPIST

  • Almanian||

    Warty - you're telling us rectal has a blog? Really?

  • Pip||

    Two asses? Sweet! (though four asses would be even better)

  • ||

    "Here is a monkey with four asses. And here of course is my four-assed ostrich and four-assed mongoose."

  • prolefeed||

    The strength of unions in postwar America had a profound impact on all people who worked for a living, even those who did not belong to a union themselves.

    This is unquestionably true, if you stipulate that that "profound impact" was positive for a few, and negative for most.

  • W.E.B. Du Bois||

    The most sinister power that the NRA has reinforced is the American Federation of Labor, and MNG is a complete piece of shit.

  • ||

    When businesses refuse to serve black people, they are exercising their freedom of association.

    Correct. And if a third-party organization attempts to prevent willing businesses owners from doing business with black people?

    What do you call this?

  • cynical||

    Are they handing out pamphlets or swinging baseball bats menacingly?

  • Old Mexican||

    This was too good to leave by itself up there. Enjoy!

    Re: Tony,

    Ownership is not a concept that exists in the structure of nature. It has to be defined legally for it to mean anything but whatever is kept and held by force.


    Defined "legally"? And that's not circular thinking because....?

    Therefore, if government (whose law defines ownership) taxes you, those taxes are taken legitimately and not by theft[.]


    Because, you see, the same government that defined what's yours said it is not theft!

    Ha ha ha ha!!!!

  • Old Mexican||

    The Economics Of Trade Unions:
    (by Gary North, Feb 23 2011)

    THE ECONOMICS OF TRADE UNIONS

    To understand what is at stake, you must first understand the economics of all trade unionism.

    1. Members assert the moral authority and legal right to use violence against any person who offers to work for less than the union is demanding. Usually, this violence is hidden: the government's threat of fines against employers who hire non-union members, but not always: violence against "scabs."
    2. Members assert that if they get a majority vote in favor of this legalized violence in one company election, they should continue to exercise it forever.
    3. The union decides who gets membership. It reserves the right to exclude people. This restricts the labor market, thereby raising wages for members.
    4. The members assert a legal right to "their" jobs in a strike. After the strike, they must be re-hired by law. All people hired in the interim must be fired.
    5. The unions claim to represent "labor," but at all times the vast majority of laborers are not members.
    6. Legislation favoring union members discriminates against the vast majority of Americans, who do not belong to unions.
    7. The goal of all trade unionism is to raise costs of production.
    8. The economic effect of higher costs is reduced output.
    9. The economic effect of reduced output is the reduction of wealth for most customers.
    10. Excluded workers must seek employment with firms that were their second-choice.
    11. This subsidizes firms that are not unionized: a larger supply of labor at a reduced price.

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/north/north950.html

  • Matt||

    It is pretty ridiculous how many on the Left glorify unions, as if they've never done anything wrong and are the nation's sole salvation. Unions have a place in society but let's not pretend that they're God.

  • Tony||

    Unions Markets have a place in society but let's not pretend that they're God.

  • Society||

    Unions Markets Tony have has a place in society but let's not pretend that they're God he's not the village idiot.

  • Matt||

    Nobody has ever made the statement that markets are God. They're imperfect.

    But you see -- markets are an impersonal force. They will exist whether or not communists like it. Attacking markets is kind of like attacking the law of gravity -- you can scream at them all you want until you are blue in the face, but they won't go away. No matter how many people you slaughter or put in jail, human beings will still trade with each other -- it's part of human nature. Even communists engage in trade, as much as they may want to deny it. It happens every day in some form or another even in places like North Korea or Iran.

  • Matt||

    Unions -- on the other hand -- are avowedly political associations that are devoted to promoting the special interests of a particular group of people. There's nothing wrong with them existing but they only exist because markets exist. If there was no demand for their services, they couldn't engage in collective bargaining. Unless they decide they want to force people to use their services, in which case they become an organized criminal association and cease to be a union. Markets as a whole do not have "special interests" -- they are simply an expression of supply and demand. You can't say a market is a "special interest" any more than you can say the Pythagorean Theorem is one.

  • ||

    As simplistic as it is brief, segregation, the great depression, child labor, and you want to boil unions down to racism. The union wasn't racist the country was.

  • Almanian||

    Weak. Try harder.

    D

  • jtuf||

    We still have child labor, only now they don't get paid. It's called state schools.

  • Mr. Soul||

    you can take it to the bank: if Jesse Jackson is for it, it hurts black people.

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