I remember when I got my first union card.
I was working at the Uniroyal tire and rubber factory in City of Commerce outside of Los Angeles.
I was a member of the United Rubber, Cork, Linoleum and Plastics Workers of America.
Peter Bommarito was president of my union from 1966 to 1981 and during his leadership the American tire industry mostly disappeared. Nearly 100,000 tire-making jobs were lost.
My last union membership was with the National Education Association. I retired in 2012. I served as a local president and always seemed to find myself in conflict with the leadership. I wasn’t looking for disagreement. The leadership at the state level in particular seemed clueless when it came to the nature of the members’ working conditions.
43 years from my first union card to my last.
A recent Gallup poll shows high levels of support for unions. And the support is on the rise, thanks in part to Donald Trump.
Still, Americans remain more pessimistic than optimistic about unions’ future. Forty-six percent say they think unions will become weaker than they are today, while 27% say they will be the same and 22% say stronger.
The pessimism is well founded. Industrial unions have gone the way of American industry. Now pubic employee unions are under attack and we can anticipate court rulings taking away agency fees and fair share.
The situation is not helped by a leadership that continues to seem clueless.
Take Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO. He was nearly the last member of Trump’s advisory committee to leave in protest following Charlottesville. Even Wal-Mart got out faster than he did.
National labor leader Richard Trumka said Wednesday that some White House aides “turned out to be racist” and said the Wall Street wing of President Donald Trump’s economic team is growing in influence.
“You had two factions in the White House,” the AFL-CIO president told reporters at a roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor and confirmed in audio provided by Trumka’s office to CNN. “You had one faction that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade and infrastructure but turned out to be racist.”
Trumka continued: “And on the other hand, you had people who weren’t racist, but they were Wall Street. And the Wall Streeters began to dominate the administration and have moved [Trump’s] agenda back to everything he fought against in the election.”
So, Trumka quit because he . . .
Oh never mind.
Enjoy your long weekend.
Download episode #30 of Hitting Left with the Klonsky Brothers and guest State Representative Will Guzzardi.
Join us at our Labor Day Bash. Noon to 7 at the Co-Prosperity Sphere. 3219 S. Morgan. Live broadcast from 3-5pm. 105.5fm http://www.lumpenradio.com