Mike the Mad Biologist

Unions to Stop Rewarding Bad Behavior

Finally, large, mainstream organizations that have traditionally supported Democrats are not rewarding bad behavior. From Arkansas, where incumbent corporate shill and supposed Democrat Blanche Lincoln is in a primary fight for her life. From The NY Times:

CONWAY, Ark. — They have knocked on 170,000 doors, made 700,000 phone calls, sent 2.7 million pieces of mail and spent almost $6 million on television and radio advertising.

That is how badly labor unions, by their own count, want to defeat Senator Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat they once supported. Even though Arkansas’s labor force is one of the least unionized in the country, labor has thrown huge support behind Mrs. Lincoln’s primary challenger, Lt. Gov. Bill Halter, in a runoff election on Tuesday.

The unions have made the race here the centerpiece of a new effort to hold union-backed candidates accountable for their votes after they are elected.

Intelligent Designer forbid that elected Democrats be held accountable. AAIIEEE!!! Because nothing says, “Rally, rank-and-file, rally!”, like consistently opposing your own party’s members:

The push is fueled by a frustration that goes back years but that peaked in the health care debate and in the failure of the Democratic-led Senate to bring far-reaching pro-union legislation to the floor….

“We’re sending a message here,” said Larry Cohen, president of the Communications Workers of America. “Our members have had it — not just in Arkansas, they have had it across this country.”

Mrs. Lincoln, who has received more than half a million dollars in labor money in her career, has done much to anger unions. She opposed a public option in the health care bill; helped block the confirmation of Craig Becker, a union-backed nominee to the National Labor Relations Board; and, in what they viewed as a reversal, opposed the Employee Free Choice Act, a bill that would make it easier to unionize workers.

Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees and chairman of the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s political panel, criticized Mrs. Lincoln for supporting President George W. Bush’s tax cuts, including an end to the estate tax; for opposing a “windfall profits” tax on oil companies; and for backing the North American and Central American Free Trade Agreements.

This opposition is really critical because most of the Blue Dog Democrats are in close districts or states. They need the base, particularly in off-year elections, to show up. If unions stop letting themselves be taken for granted, these Blue Dogs will lose:

Nonetheless, labor leaders say many union volunteers who worked hard to elect those two men [two Blue Dog Dems] as well as Representative Zack Space, Democrat of Ohio, are not likely to campaign for them this year. Mr. Arcuri won by just 10,000 votes in 2008, so a lack of labor support could endanger him.

“We go out and support these Blue Dogs all over the place,” said Mr. McEntee, the union leader. “We give them all kinds of ground support, radio support, and then they get in there and they’ve lost our phone number. For God’s sake, what’s the use of having them in there?”

I realize this might seem like cutting off our nose to spite our face, but, at this point, the only way to convince the Democratic Caucus to enact even a moderate agenda is through fear–even a modicum of reciprocity is clearly too much to expect.

This is a good start.

Comments

  1. #1 D. C. Sessions
    June 8, 2010

    Perhaps I was misinformed, but ISTR at least some unions were opposed to parts of the health care reform legislation that would have reduced the relative value of union-negotiated benefits.

    If so, that would potentially put politicians in the position not of being ppo- vs. anti-union, but of being between a rock and a hard place between two union positions.

  2. #2 D. C. Sessions
    June 8, 2010

    I think I’ll sit this one out. I’ve got some good salsa and sharp cheddar, who wants to bring the chips and beer?

  3. #3 D. C. Sessions
    June 8, 2010

    Wrong blog — sorry.

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