It’s Not about Workers, It’s about CEOs

Many of the editorials about the anti-union attack in MI have supported the unions or–even from conservative papers–criticized the way the Republicans crammed it through. This is one of the few in favor.

Predictably, this one, from Daniel Howes, either doesn’t know or chooses to deceive readers about how unions work.

And organized labor, fresh from a failed effort to enshrine collective bargaining rights in the state constitution, faces its most serious existential threat since the Sit-Down strikes and Battle of the Overpass cemented the institutional permanence of the UAW.

Until now. A right-to-work law that gives members the choice to join a union rank-and-file — or not to join — threatens to stanch materially the union dues flow, membership and, accordingly, the political muscle predominantly used by unions in the service of the Democratic Party.

Workers already have a choice whether to join a union or not. If that’s what Howes wants, that’s what he’s got already in Michigan.

But I appreciate it for one thing. Unlike the propaganda Snyder is tweeting out like a nervous school girl, which claims this offers anything for the workers–union and non-union–who will lose $1,500 in wages, Howes identifies honestly who this is meant to impress.

CEOs. Not workers.

It probably won’t. But the move, coupled with a coming financial workout for Detroit, is likely to reshape positively the debate about Michigan and its largest city among CEOs and investors looking for opportunity and growth — provided the national economy isn’t pushed back into recession by Washington’s plunge off a “fiscal cliff” of its own making.

This is the same “job creators” nonsense that Mitt spewed for a year, unsuccessfully.

But you have to look no further than this anti-union campaign to discern whether impressing CEOs will do a damn thing for workers.

In the million-dollar ad campaign Windquest and former Amway CEO Dick DeVos has ponied up, rather than using real Michiganders or paying local actors to bray about “freedom,” he used stock photos.

Even if you impress Dick DeVos, it seems (and he is the one bankrolling and twisting arms to make this happen, he’lll still treat workers like a cut and paste.

It’s very simple. Impressing CEOs who prefer disempowered, desperate workers doesn’t actually help workers.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

5 replies
  1. GulfCoastPirate says:

    EW – How did a state like Michigan end up with Republicans controlling both the executive branch and both legislative branches?

  2. Boston1775 says:

    @GulfCoastPirate:
    I understand why you are asking the question. I’m from Massachusetts, and Mitt Romney and Scott Brown ran their campaigns from the North End: birthplace of Ben Franklin, home of Paul Revere; hey, Rose Kennedy was born in the North End and the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a gathering spot along the harbor.

    His campaign for governor was accompanied by imported hate radio schlubs that attacked teachers mercilessly. And gullible people gave these Republicans a chance.

    We gave these craven people a foothold.

    I can’t get it out of my mind that these people were ready with fireworks to go off over Boston Harbor.

Comments are closed.