Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Christie's brutish attack on labor

Corporate America often masks its hostility to workers with propaganda. Take's recent response to reports that it arranged for ambulances to wait outside a Pennsylvania warehouse on hot days:
At Amazon, the safety and well-being of our employees is our No. 1 priority.
Many of us are seeing the ugly reality behind the happy talk about 'valued employees.' Corporations are attacking their employers with a savagery not seen in decades.  Not because they're struggling. Just because they can.

Take Sotheby's, which tried to eliminate retirement benefits for current workers and union protections for all new workers despite record profit. Or Atlantic City casino operators, who want to destroy health and pension plans for gaming workers who belong to UNITE-HERE. Or Madison Dearborn, the private equity firm that owns VWR International, a laboratory supply company that refuses to grant employees decent working conditions after five years of negotiations. Just because they can.

They are coming after us. Listen to Corporate America's quislings. They are openly attacking organized labor in ways unthinkable 30 years ago.

Here's New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie giving a speech on foreign policy at the Reagan Library last night:
Everybody in this room and in countless other rooms across this great country has his or her favorite Reagan story. For me, that story happened thirty years ago, in August 1981. The air traffic controllers, in violation of their contracts, went on strike. President Reagan ordered them back to work, making clear that those who refused would be fired. In the end, thousands refused, and thousands were fired.
I cite this incident not as a parable of labor relations but as a parable of principle. Ronald Reagan was a man who said what he meant and meant what he said. Those who thought he was bluffing were sadly mistaken. Reagan’s demand was not an empty political play; it was leadership, pure and simple.
Later in his speech, Christie equated unions with terrorists and the former Soviet Union:
The Reagan who challenged Soviet aggression, or who attacked a Libya that supported terror was the same Reagan who stood up years before to PATCO at home for what he believed was right.
At least Reagan tried to disguise his objectives. It was Reagan who said,
Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.
Be very afraid.