Most unions in our country today are mere paper unions presided over by millionaire labor leaders whose first priority lacking rank-and-file movements is dues collection with little to no responsibility for defending the rights and livelihoods, not to mention the jobs, of the workers they are collecting dues from to pay their big fat salaries.
Democrats campaigned on the promise (the "bait") of a real living Minimum Wage; once elected workers got "the switch," another poverty Minimum Wage--- one big reason why we need a working class based progressive people's party as an alternative to these worthless Democrats.
I am taking the liberty of posting this letter to you on my blog: http://thepodunkblog.blogspot.com/
I would note that here in Minnesota we have two very important rank-and-file formations. One in the United Steelworkers Union (USW): "Hard Rock Miners." The other in AFSCME: "Our AFSCME."
Again, I do hope you will share my thoughts with the panelists participating in your "Left Forum" presentation which I am attaching here as you request it to be circulated widely:
Invitation to discussion on
An Economic Bill of Rights: Reform or Revolution?
John Jay College of Criminal Justice, 52 West 59th St., NYC
Saturday, May 31, 2014, 3:10-4:50PM, Room 9681, John Jay College
Abstract: In his Annual Message to Congress in 1944, President Franklin Roosevelt held that under modern economic conditions the traditional Constitutional guarantees of political and civil rights were insufficient “to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.” It was necessary therefore to add a Second or Economic Bill of Rights whose guarantees would include employment at living wages, housing, medical care, education and old age security, among others. At the time this was a comprehensive set of rights, but it is incomplete in this time of environmental crisis. The rights framework has important political advantages: at once compatible with traditional American values and Constitutional guarantees and at the same time encouraging demands on the part of the people for unattained rights. FDR held that useful, living-wage work was “the most fundamental [right], and the one on which the fulfillment of the others in large degree depends.” On the one hand, employment assurance can be seen as an extension of traditional Constitutional guarantees and compatible with the vaunted American work ethic, hence reformist. At the same time, full employment—especially if it is tied to the necessity of greening the economy--has the potential for altering relationships between labor and capital, hence for transforming or revolutionizing the nation's political economy.
Panelists: Sheila Collins; Philip Harvey; David Woolner; Trudy Goldberg; Chair, Gregory N. Heires
Sheila D. Collins -- Executive Committee, National Jobs for All Coalition; Professor Emerita of Political Science, William Paterson University
Gregory N. Heires -- Sr. Assoc. Ed., Public Employee Press, DC 37, AFSCM; blogger atwww.thenewcrossroads.com , and a Portside labor moderator
Gertrude Schaffner Goldberg -- Chair, National Jobs for All Coalition; Professor Emerita of Social Policy, Adelphi University
Philip Harvey, Professor of Law and Economics, Rutgers School of Law; Executive Committee, National Jobs for All Coalition
David B. Woolner -- Senior Fellow and Hyde Park Resident Historian, The Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute
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