Happy Labor Day!

September 7, 2009

Any day off is a happy day. 🙂

Meanwhile, Byron York reports that support for labor unions is at an all-time low:

This Labor Day brings word of a new Gallup poll showing that American public support for labor unions has taken a sharp dive in the last year and is at its lowest point since Gallup began polling in 1936.

In response to the question, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?” just 48 percent of respondents said they approve, while 45 percent said they disapprove. That’s a steep fall from August 2008, when the numbers were 59 percent approve, 31 percent disapprove, and it’s the first time approval of unions has ever fallen below 50 percent.

Before this year, American support for unions had remained remarkably stable for nearly four decades. In August 2001, in the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, Gallup’s results for the same question were 60 percent approve, 32 percent disapprove. In August 1997, in Bill Clinton’s second term, they were 60-31. In 1985, during Ronald Reagan’s presidency, the figures were 58-27. In 1978, during Jimmy Carter’s time in the White House, they were 59-31. And in 1972, during Richard Nixon’s, they were 60-27.

The new poll also shows that many Americans believe the future is bleak for unions. In response to the question, “Thinking about the future, do you think labor unions in this country will become stronger than they are today, the same as today, or weaker than they are today?” 48 percent said unions will become weaker, versus just 24 percent who said unions will become stronger.

And here’s Gallup’s chart:

tvcvpa3inugt-f4thu-qlwSupport’s been remarkably steady since 1937, just two years after the passage of the Wagner Act, but the drop since late 2008 is nothing short of startling. Coincidentally, that was about the time we elected the most beholden-to-Big-Labor administration in recent history, probably since FDR. And what’s happened since last November?

  • The legal rights of bondholders were trampled during the bailouts of GM and Chrysler, largely to benefit UAW pension funds.
  • Representatives of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were allowed to sit-in on a meeting between the federal government and California state officials (who were trying to deal with a massive budget crisis) in which the Obama administration threatened to withhold bailout money unless California maintained the wages of SEIU members, regardless of the best interests of the state as a whole.
  • Union thugs affiliated with the SEIU have beaten Americans exercising their constitutional right to free speech to protest ObamaCare at town-hall meetings.
  • The Democrats in Congress and the Obama Administration continue to push for the Orwellian “Employee Free Choice Act,” which would end the secret ballot in union elections and which even George McGovern opposes.
  • The Administration nominated as Labor Secretary Representative Hilda Solis, who flagrantly violated House ethics rules by acting as treasurer for a pro-union organization lobbying Congress on matters she would be voting on.

And that’s just a few.

I’m not against unions per se: in fact, I belong to one. They serve a useful purpose protecting workers from abusive employers, and the right to collective bargaining -if that’s the workers’ free choice- is a good one. But the stories of corruption in union leadership are legendary (Has anyone found Hoffa yet?), and the thuggish, self-serving actions of the UAW and especially the SEIU are reminding people of the threat of unchecked union power.

We shouldn’t be surprised at the precipitous drop in the public’s opinion of unions; the public seems to be realizing that the Big Unions are helping their own people at everyone else’s expense. On this Labor Day union leaders should be anything but relaxed.

LINKS:  Ed Morrissey; Blue Crab Boulevard; Power Line; 247 Things.

UPDATE: Michael Barone has a good analysis of Labor’s drop in popularity. You should read the whole article, but the last paragraph is key:

There’s irony aplenty here. Thanks to the work of Sweeney, Stern and union political organizers, unions entered calendar year 2009 with more political influence than they have had since the 1960s or 1970s. But the way they have deployed that political influence has made the unions more unpopular than they have been in the last 73 years.

Yep.


Pelosi’s in a panic

July 30, 2009

That’s the only reason I can think of for her unleashing her inner socialist for all the world to see in this rant to reporters at Capitol Hill:

“It’s almost immoral what they are doing,” Pelosi said to reporters, referring to insurance companies. “Of course they’ve been immoral all along in how they have treated the people that they insure,” she said, adding, “They are the villains. They have been part of the problem in a major way. They are doing everything in their power to stop a public option from happening.”

Emphasis added. And if you think I’m exaggerating with the “inner socialist” remark, consider this: one of her political heroes and mentors in San Francisco politics was the Stalinist head of the Longshoreman’s Union:

The point of rehearsing all of this ancient history is that one of those he influenced and who still goes out of her way to honor that influence is Nancy Pelosi. In 2001, she took to the pages of the Congressional Record to effuse her sentiments on the hundredth anniversary of Harry Bridges’s birth, an occasion celebrated only by a gnostic few.

Here is what she said: “Harry Bridges [was] arguably the most significant labor leader of the twentieth century,” who was “beloved by the workers of this Nation, and recognized as one of the most important labor leaders in the world.” She added: “The International Longshoremen’s and Warehousemen’s Union [was] the most progressive union of the time.” In other words, this Communist-run union was more admirable than all of the anti-Communist unions.

Pelosi delivered this encomium a full nine years after Bridges’s membership in the CP Central Committee had been revealed. Nor was this just a single moment. As recently as this February she visited ILWU headquarters to deliver this homage: “It is very special to me, any occasion that I can come to the ILWU hall and acknowledge the leadership of this great union. . . .”

Anyway, the Democrats’ internal polls on ObamaCare must be frightening, perhaps even worse than the public polls showing the electorate turning solidly against the idea. So what does the Speaker of the House do when she finds herself in a jam? Same thing she always does: find a scapegoat and demonize it. First it was the CIA, now the insurance companies – admittedly a decent choice, since they’re not popular with most Americans. What, then, must she think of her leader in the White House, since Barack Obama was the biggest recipient of insurance-company donations in 2008? Is he sleeping with the enemy for taking money from the villainous insurance companies?

This tells me the Democrats are close to panic over over one of their long-desired programs: with solid, filibuster-proof majorities in both chambers, they can’t even control their own members enough to pass the president’s signature issue. The moderate-conservative Blue Dogs won’t accept the so-called public option, while the hard-Left progressives won’t vote for a bill without it. They may get the bill out of committee, but there will be no final vote before Congress adjourns tomorrow. And don’t forget the problems in the Senate.

Of course, during the recess they get to hear from those increasingly restive voters in the many, many swing districts across this great country.

If I were Speaker Pelosi, I’d be panicking, too.

LINK: More at Hot Air, The Hill.

UPDATE: Well, what do you know? Nancy Pelosi herself has taken money from these evil, villainous insurance companies, to the tune of $120,000 in the last election cycle. I’m sure she’ll be giving it back any moment now, since she wouldn’t want to be tainted by dirty money.  Rolling on the floor


Test poll

March 29, 2009

Just testing to see if polldaddy's code plays well with Typepad. The first test was a failure: the poll appeared twice. To test to see if the problem is with MS Live Writer, I'm putting this in directly through the Typepad editor:

Is baseball boring?
( online surveys)

UPDATE: Yep. The problem was with Live Writer.