“Thucydides” on “Right to Work”

ACADEME BLOG

This “over the transom” piece is from a colleague who has chosen the pseudonym “Thucydides.” It owes a considerable debt—is in many respects an homage–to the legendary Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko.

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Moose McGillicuddy had just opened his tavern on a quiet weekday morning, wanting to do some cleaning before people began to stop in for lunch. He was having a hot cup of coffee sitting at the bar and reading the Daily Standard.

A headline caught his eye: “Legislator introduces RTW bill.” It was Rep. John Becker, a suburban Cincinnati Republican, wanting to impose RTW on public workers. Moose thought for a minute. Didn’t someone else try to do this? Oh, yeah. Another Cincinnati area Republican, Rep. Tom Brinkman introduced a private sector RTW bill. Geez, thought Moose for a minute, there must be something bad in the water there. “They should drink more beer,” he said…

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Union Busting Is Still an Ugly Business

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for University Business, Nick Kalm and Courtney Harper advise universities on how “Strong Messages Can Defuse Campus Unionizing Campaigns.” The authors’ bio note indicates that “Nick Kalm is president and Courtney Harper is senior vice president at Reputation Partners, a communications consultancy that specializes in labor communications for universities and other organizations.” The euphemistic tone of the phrase “labor communications” is indicative of the tone consistently maintained throughout most of the article and, seemingly, of the tone that they are recommending that institutions take.

Although the article never does indicate exactly what types of messaging should be used to counter unionization efforts, it does open by noting that over the past three years, SEIU has organized “more than 10,000 adjunct faculty at more than 40 different schools” and that “if union targets for higher pay are met, U.S. universities’ costs for courses currently taught by adjuncts could increase to…

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Trump is a William McKinley Protectionist, Not a Bernie Sanders Populist

ACADEME BLOG

This post was written by Bill Scher for the daily Progressive Breakfast newsletter of the Campaign for America’s Future [http://ourfuture.org/], which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: http://y.ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/New-Populist-Movement-Organizing.pdf. Prepared by Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

The post is reprinted with the permission of Roger Hickey.

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“Whenever you listen to Donald Trump speak about trade, as he did Tuesday in Pittsburgh, always keep in front of your mind that he is peddling a con.

“He slams recent trade agreements by ‘the politicians,’ and promises to negotiate ‘great deals,’ but he never explains what will…

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The Shared Discontent of the Working Class and Recent College Graduates

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for the World Socialist, Patrick Martin reports the findings not only of UC-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez report on recent income growth for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, but also a report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce:

“A second report issued this week, by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, examined social polarization within the United States from the standpoint of access to a college education. While 14 million new jobs have been created over the past 68 months (more than five and a half years) of ‘economic recovery,’ it is well known that the vast majority of these jobs are lower paying and more precarious than the jobs they replaced.

The Georgetown study found that these newly created jobs have been filled almost entirely by college-educated workers. Of the 11.6 million jobs created between January 2010 and January 2016, 11.5 million went…

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Trickle-Down Economics in a Half-Decent Economy

ACADEME BLOG

Writing for the Washington Post’s Wonkbook blog, Jim Tankersley reports some good news for the American middle class, but it is wrapped inside some continuing bad news about growing income inequality:

“The vast majority of American workers are finally seeing their incomes rise from the depths of the Great Recession, a new analysis from one of the world’s leading scholars of economic inequality suggests. But incomes for the top 1 percent continue to rise substantially faster.

“The analysis of Internal Revenue Service data on pre-tax earnings, from UC-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez and published by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth think tank, finds incomes increased by 3.9 percent last year for the bottom 99 percent of U.S. families. That’s the strongest growth those workers have seen since 1998, but it’s still not enough to repair all the damage the recession wrought on those workers: As Saez notes, those families on…

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“Right-to-Work” Bill Introduced on SB 5 Anniversary

ACADEME BLOG

Five years ago, a tractor trailer carrying 1.3 million signatures on petitions for a referendum on Senate Bill 5 made its way through downtown Columbus, Ohio, to the Ohio Statehouse. Officials at the Statehouse were not sure that the lobby of the building could structurally support the weight of the petitions, adding to the sense of the momentousness of the event.

It was fairly clear that the legislation limiting the collective-bargaining rights of most public employees in Ohio—and completely eliminating the collective-bargaining rights of faculty at Ohio’s public colleges and universities—was in deep trouble.

As if to mark that anniversary, Representative John Becker has introduced a “right to work” bill for Ohio’s public employees.

What follows is the press release sent out by Becker’s office.

Note that the bill includes provisions that will allocate tax dollars to the development and dissemination of “educational pamphlets and brochures” promoting this clearly very…

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The Verizon Strike: It Is Important to All of Us, Too

ACADEME BLOG

This post was written by Dave Johnson for the daily Progressive Breakfast newsletter of the Campaign for America’s Future [http://ourfuture.org/], which has become a driving force behind the New Populist Movement.

The group’s report, Organizing to Take Back America: The New Populist Movement, is available at: http://y.ourfuture.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/New-Populist-Movement-Organizing.pdf. Prepared by Roger Hickey, the co-director of the Campaign for America’s Future, the report identifies twelve key principles underlying this new progressive effort to provide an effective grassroots alternative to the Tea Party movement on the Far Right.

The post is reprinted with the permission of Roger Hickey.

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Thursday has been declared a Verizon Strike National Day of Action.

There are 39,000 Verizon workers on strike right now. They are not just striking for better pay and conditions from Verizon; this is also about how all of the giant corporations are treating all of us, their workers…

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“Right to Work,” by the Numbers: Part 14

ACADEME BLOG

Workers Earning Federal Minimum Wage or Less

The “right-to-work” states are indicated in red, and the pro-labor states in white:

US Map 1

Compare that map with the following map:

Minimum-Wage Workers

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Previous posts in this series have included:

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 1: Population Growth and Movement: http://academeblog.org/2013/04/03/2666/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 2: Immigration: http://academeblog.org/2013/04/21/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-part-2/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 3: Unemployment Rates, by State: http://academeblog.org/2013/04/30/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-part-3/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 4: Historic Highs and Lows in Unemployment, by State: http://academeblog.org/2013/05/05/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-part-4/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 5: Employment in Manufacturing: http://academeblog.org/2013/05/10/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-part-5/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 6: Loss of Employment in Manufacturing, before and during the Great Recession: http://academeblog.org/2013/07/21/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-part-6/.

Right to Work by the Numbers, Part 7: GDP by State and GDP per Capita by State: http://academeblog.org/2013/12/16/right-to-work-by-the-numbers-gdp-by-state-and-gdp-per-capita-by-state/.

Right to Work by the…

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Robert Reich on “Right to Work”

“Right to Work” Ruled Unconstitutional in Wisconsin

ACADEME BLOG

In ruling on a lawsuit brought by three labor unions, Dane County Circuit Judge William Foust has ruled that Wisconsin’s “right to work” statute is unconstitutional because it “amounts to an unconstitutional governmental taking of union funds without compensation since under the law unions must represent people who don’t pay dues” and “that presents an existential threat to unions”: “’While [union] losses today could be characterized by some as minor, they are not isolated and the impact of [the law] over time is threatening to the unions’ very economic viability.’”

Although Foust’s ruling is very likely to be overturned on appeal, Foust himself “noted that no other state court had struck down a right-to-work law on those grounds, but said he wasn’t obligated to follow other states.”

A news report on the ruling, written for TPM by Scott Bauer and Todd Richmond, is available at: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/scott-walker-right-to-work-law-unconstitutional?utm.

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