The ICEUFT blog may look like a one trick pony the last few days as there has surprisingly been fairly extensive press coverage of Democratic primary candidate for governor Cynthia Nixon's campaign proposal to legalize strikes in New York State for government employees.
She has found a wedge issue where Governor Andrew Cuomo cannot out flank her on the left. The problem is union leaders to my knowlege are not embracing Nixon's proposal up to now as they should be. Do we need any further proof that these are company unions in bed with management?
The latest article is from the go-to civil service newspaper The Chief Leader.
Some main parts:
Jane Latour, a union activist and labor historian, said in an email exchange that Ms. Nixon’s message could resonate with some union members, especially “younger voters, fed up with incrementalism and looking for a fresh, direct-action politics.”
And Richard Wolff, an economics professor at the New School University, observed that European public unions can go on strike because authorities that punished them would quickly face a more-widespread strike.
“The right to strike is the closest thing to an equal playing field for employees and employers to bargain and negotiate,” Mr. Wolff said. “Without that right, employers have much more power to force their wills on employees. Public employees should never have been deprived of that right by the power and pressure of employers, public and private together. Bravo to all politicians with the courage to return the right to strike to public employees.”
I cannot overemphasize how important having the ability to withold our labor is for working people. We should demand that union leaders endorse this proposal as well as only supporting with UFT COPE money (voluntary political contributions) politicians who are on board with legal public sector strikes.
Maybe we should threaten a statewide action in support of Nixon's proposal.
More from the Chief:
In a phone interview, Doug Muzzio, a Political Science Professor at Baruch College, said that after trying for months to find a wedge issue to set herself apart from the Governor, Ms. Nixon had finally got one with her call to lift the prohibition against public workers striking.
“The Governor has successfully adopted her other progressive policies and positions, which has muddied the distinctions between the two. But this [lifting the Taylor Law] is concrete,” he said. “Cuomo has been adept at adopting her other policies, but this is not going to be one of them.”
Mr. Muzzio continued, “This is likely to appeal to younger progressives who are in an economy where wages are stagnant, and then for them there’s also the issue of student debt. The other open question is whether it is wise or not.”
Nixon's proposal works for older workers too but can we force union leaders to get behind it? That is debatable. It is up to us to put pressure on union leaders to get us back the right to strike.