The Numbers Support Patricia Arquette, Not Her Critics (And They Indicate a Truth about “Right to Work” as Well)

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Patricia Arquette is being slammed from both the Left and the Right for her comments during and after her acceptance speech for the Academy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

From the Left, the criticism has come largely from other disadvantaged groups who feel that her focus was too narrowly on women’s issues, especially in a year in which the nominees for the Academy Awards included almost no people of color.

But from the Right, the criticism was directed more at the basic validity of what she was saying. An item in the Los Angeles Times includes this illustration of that criticism: “On “Fox & Friends” on Monday morning, the actress and pundit Stacey Dash slammed Arquette for the issue, saying she was ‘appalled’ by the moment and admonished her for not ‘do[ing] her history’ on the 1963 Equal Pay Act.’” [The full article is available at:

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Major Attack on Public-Employee Unions in Illinois

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

The recently inaugurated Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, has signed an executive order banning public-employee unions from collecting fair-share contributions from those employees who choose not to belong to the unions that represent them.

I very recently did a post on the very skewed logic behind “right to work” legislation—see

Rauner, previously the CEO of a private-equity firm, would like to see Illinois become a “right to work” state and has advocated that local communities pass right-to-work ordinances that apply all public and private unions since the Democratic control of both houses of the legislature makes the passage of such legislation seemingly impossible on a statewide level.

Rauner has presented three main arguments for imposition of “right to work,” all of which have become as commonplace as they are misleading.

The first of Rauner’s arguments is that workers should not have to be represented by unions to which…

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“Right to Work” Provides Workers with Many Rights

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

“Right to work” provides workers on the losing side in a vote to unionize a workplace with the right to decide that the results of that democratic vote do not apply to them.

“Right to work” provides workers with the right to benefit from unions to which they do not pay any dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to receive the same negotiated wage increases and benefits as their colleagues who are paying union dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to receive the same protections, grievance rights, and union representation as their colleagues who are paying union dues.

“Right to work” provides workers in a unionized workplace with the right to sue the union for inadequate representation even if they have refused to pay dues to that union.

“Right to work” provides individual workers with the…

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When Truthful Answers Are So Very Hard to Find

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

I received this somewhat lengthy item in my e-mail this evening; perhaps financial desperation is making people more amenable to reading the longer pieces that we have been repeatedly warned that no one bothers to read anymore:

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First, I am shocked that according to, one-third of Baby Boomers will survive retirement. I am not sure what post-retirement life involves, but I am very interested in exploring the options, on the off-chance that my “clean living” doesn’t cut short my life prematurely.

Second, this sort of e-mail has actually become very commonplace among Far-Right media sources. Apparently, amid all the reports of the manifold ways in which President Obama is subverting the Constitution, conniving to eliminate the rights of real Americans, clandestinely imposing Sharia Law, and setting the stage for his political opponents to be eliminated by plagues, by terrorists, and by rampaging mobs of lawless illegal immigrants and…

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The Pie Is Getting Bigger . . . American Workers Helped Bake It . . . But Most of Them Aren’t Getting a Bigger Slice

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Remarks By 
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez,
AFL-CIO National Summit on Raising Wages,
Washington, D.C.,
January 7, 2015

[as prepared for delivery]

Good morning brothers and sisters! MaryBe, thank you so much for that generous introduction—and more importantly for your great work and leadership in North Carolina. Thank you, Rich Trumka, for this opportunity—and for your remarkable, unflinching devotion every single day to the interests of working families.

I’m honored to start the new year with all of you, with so many of the nation’s most passionate champions for economic justice and the dignity of work. And I’m especially pleased to talk about an issue that I believe represents the unfinished business of this recovery and one of the most urgent challenges facing the nation.

The Recovery

But I want to start today by pulling back for a wide shot. You can’t fully understand today’s economy without…

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Like It or Not, We Are All in This Together

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

On December 12, Myles Udland reported the following in an article for Business Insider:

“Consumer confidence is at an almost 8-year high.

“On Friday, the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer confidence reading for December came in at 93.8, the best reading since January 2007 and a complete blowout of expectations.

“According to Paul Dales at Capital Economics, this data coupled with Thursday’s strong retail sales report indicates that we are looking at the best holiday shopping season in nine years.

“And there’s a big reason why: confidence among the lowest wage earners is roaring higher.

“In an email on Friday, Deutsche Bank economist Torsten Slok circulated the following chart showing that confidence among those in the bottom tercile of household incomes—the lowest third of households — surged to the highest since 2005.

“This is a far larger increase in confidence that the headline reading, and Slok attributed this…

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On This Labor Day

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Here are two items related to Labor Day that I thought might be of interest.

The first article is from Diane Ravitch’s blog and titled “Labor Day 2014.” Here is the opening of that post:

“I recently saw photographs of John F. Kennedy giving a Labor Day speech in New York City during his Presidential campaign in 1960. He spoke in the center of the Garment District, on the west side of Manhattan. He spoke to tens of thousands of garment workers. Today, the Garment District has been replaced by luxury high-rise residences. Following NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement), the garment industry went to low-wage, non-union countries. The garment industry has few workers and no political power. The number of union members across the nation has dropped precipitously. The largest unions are public sector workers–especially, teachers–and they are under attack, as rightwing foundations, billionaires, and their favorite think…

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More Self-Sponsored and Self-Serving Far-Right Scholarly Research

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Richard Vedder, an emeritus economist at Ohio University, has recently released another study showing the benefits of “right to work” legislation. In a newspaper interview, he has predicted that Ohio will adopt “right to work” legislation in 2015.

Vedder has, of course, long been on the payroll of the American Enterprise Institute; so, despite his scholarly credentials, he can hardly be called impartial.

Here are three paragraphs from a story in the August 27 edition of the Athens, Ohio, Post []:

“In 2011, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and the state Republican Party enacted a Right to Work law — through Senate Bill 5—but the law was overturned by voters in a referendum. ‘With both our neighbors (Indiana and Michigan) recently adopting Right to Work, it is inevitable for Ohio to pass the same thing,’ said Vedder, who worked on Indiana’s legislation. ‘The trend is in the direction.’


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Inequality: A Broad Middle Class Requires Empowering Workers

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

This post was written by Robert Borsage for the blog of the Campaign for America’s Future [] 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: Prepared by Riger 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.

Robert L. Borosage is the founder and president of the Institute for America’s Future and co-director of its sister organization, the Campaign for America’s Future. The organizations were launched by 100 prominent Americans to develop the policies, message and issue campaigns to help forge an enduring majority for progressive change in America.

Mr. Borosage writes widely on political, economic and national security issues. He…

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Robin Williams Supported Union Members

Originally posted on The Academe Blog:

Since his death, it has become clear that, in contrast to his very extroverted stage persona, Robin Williams very quietly did an uncountable number of good things throughout his life.

Among the many good causes that he supported, he literally stood up for collective bargaining rights. The following photos show him walking the picket line in support of striking members of the Writers Guild of America-East:

Robin Williams on Picket Line during WGA-E Strike 1

Robin Williams on Picket Line during WGA-E Strike 2

Robin Williams on Picket Line during WGA-E Strike 3

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