Letters to the Editor

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UNIONS: Krauthammer wrong on labor history

Letter by William F. Johnston, Tacoma on June 11, 2012 at 11:43 am | 7 Comments »
June 11, 2012 2:43 pm

Celebrating “The beginning of the end for public-sector unions,” Charles Krauthammer’s column (TNT, 6-8) demonstrates he knows as little about history as he does politics and economics.

The first recorded strike of organized “public-sector” workers took place in the Valley of Kings more than 2,000 years ago. The union city workers of Rome walked out on a general strike in the first century.

I could go on, but the point is “public-sector unions” have been around far longer than Krauthammer’s reference and will no doubt long outlast his prediction of pending collapse.

What Krauthammer and his right-wing cronies fail to understand is that organized labor has put itself into the weak position it is in by continuing to follow the philosophy of “business unionism” developed near the turn of the century. Today labor is using 19th-century organizing as it attempts to deal with an economic system that has moved almost two centuries beyond them.

By and by new labor leadership will emerge and will understand our monopolistic economy and politics. This leadership will understand that a more aggressive and membership-driven labor movement needs to be organized.

And when that happens, I doubt Krauthammer and the one percenters will like it very much.

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