Signs of a Labor Movement Rebirth

Posted by By at 22 February, at 17 : 26 PM Print

A silver lining in the offing for unions embroiled in labor showdowns now in Wisconsin, Ohio, and Indiana is a galvanization of support that labor movements have neither seen, or enjoyed in decades.

“Absolutely, what is happening in Wisconsin is reminding people that unions have done a lot for this country and will continue to do a lot for this country. If we are given the right to a level playing field and people can organize and freely join a union,” said AFL-CIO Pennsylvania President Rick Bloomingdale. “The folks in Wisconsin have really given a huge boost to the labor movement, to workers all over the country.”

State contracts in Pennsylvania covering about 60,000 unionized workers will expire this year. Bloomingdale is confident that Governor Tom Corbett will not pick the same fight that Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has with organized labor.

“Governor Corbett has a tough budget situation. I think he is going to negotiate, and he’s probably going to negotiate hard and tough. He’s going to negotiate. He never said he was going to eliminate collective bargaining.”

However, Corbett through a spokesperson, said this afternoon that he would sign a right-to-work bill, if presented with it, giving workers an option not to pay union dues. “If they ever tried to get rid of right-to-work in Pennsylvania we would be pretty much up in arms about that. It is a basic right of the labor movement to exist,” said Bloomingdale.

Bloomingdale says its a easy formula, take away collective bargaining and America’s middle-class will disappear. “Without unions what we have seen is that employers like in Asia can, if there are enough people clammering for jobs can drive down wages and actually create a third world developmental economy, you don’t have a middle class. You have the very rich, and the very poor.”

(The AFL-CIO counts about 880,000 members in Pennsylvania and if want to learn more about it click on Rock The Capital.)

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