Who Hijacked Our Country

Thursday, March 17, 2011

St. Patrick’s Day and the Labor Movement

This year, St. Patrick’s Day will have a special significance. Irish-Americans’ history is closely tied with America’s labor movement. Now that we’re seeing the most vicious rightwing attacks on working people since the early 1900s, St. Patrick’s Day has a dual meaning this year.

Patrick J. Lynch, leader of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, said:

“Union jobs, civil service jobs have always been the ladder out of poverty for working people in this country. The faces may have changed. The countries they're coming from may have changed. But the ladder is the same.”

And that ladder is getting yanked away in state after state.

Lynch said remembering the struggle of Irish-Americans is “especially important this year when unionism is under attack across the country.”

John Kilbane, business manager of Laborers’ Local 310 in Cleveland, said:

“We have gained our place through labor activism and political activism all across the United States. The old adage goes, 'A rising tide floats every boat.’ If collective bargaining is attacked and collective bargaining rights are weakened, or lessened or obliterated, it certainly is the beginning of a race to the bottom economically, not only for union people, but for those who are not fortunate enough to be represented by a union.”

Ohio State Rep. John Carney said a lot of people unloaded on him at a St. Patrick’s Day parade last weekend, about Ohio’s union-crippling legislation:

“If I had taken a straw vote, I would have said that it was overwhelmingly 'no' based on the people along the parade route, that's for sure.”

Peter and John Vaughan are third-generation members of the iron-workers’ union. Peter Vaughan said:

“We built this city. Labor has been good for the people, the masses. We're not going back to the old ways.”

And there’s always the exception that proves the rule. Two of the ringleaders of Wisconsin’s Destroy All Unions legislation are Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald. Let’s see, a black person who’s white on the inside is an Oreo; an Indian who’s white on the inside is an Apple. I’m sure the Irish have some colorful names for Irish-In-Name-Only assholes like the Fitzgerald brothers.

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Blogger Jack Jodell said...

The Republicans have made it a sin to be middle class and want to enjoy stability and a few creature comforts. They are siding with the wrong group of people if they ever expect to become the majority party or recapture the White House! By continually siding with the rich against everyone else, they are cutting their own throat. And we, the remaining 98% of the country, will be more than happy to help them sever their greedy, self-centered heads. It is a LIE that we "cannot afford" better wages for the middle class! It is a LIE that we "can't afford" a decent job for all who are willing to work! It is a LIE that we "can't afford" a truly universal government-run health care system! What we actually "can't afford" are any more tax breaks for the rich, outsourcing of jobs, or corporate tax giveaways!!!

March 17, 2011 at 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Jolly Roger said...

It is no accident that they're trying to disenfranchise everybody but old white people. They are fully aware of how things are going to go for them next time around. What they are hoping for is to keep enough people in office to block reversing what they've already done.

March 17, 2011 at 10:11 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

“Union jobs, civil service jobs have always been the ladder out of poverty for working people in this country. The faces may have changed. The countries they're coming from may have changed. But the ladder is the same.”

That is so true. Terrific quote.

That ladder must be kept in place and in good repair. It won't be if radical conservatives get their way, whether they're of the GOP, libertarian or tea party variations.

March 18, 2011 at 12:52 AM  
Blogger Randal Graves said...

I really have a corned beef with this post.

March 18, 2011 at 5:59 AM  
Blogger Jack Jodell said...

BTW: I have moved THE SATURDAY AFTERNOON POST over to wordpress.com. Its new address is http://jackjodell53.wordpress.com/. Thanks for your continued patronage, and I hope too see you there again real soon! :-)

March 18, 2011 at 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lest we forget! Famous Union Buster Ronald Reagan was also Irish - though he seemed to have followed a different type of lucky green


March 19, 2011 at 12:43 AM  
Blogger Tom Harper said...

Jack: I hope you're right that Republicans are cutting their own throats. They swept into Congress last November, but I don't think the same gimmick can keep working for them in 2012 no matter how many billions they spend conning the public.

I'll update my links. Pretty soon I'll be the last person still on Blogger :)

JR: That's old rich white people. And hopefully there aren't enough of them to keep the wingnuts in office.

SW: Yes, that ladder has to always be there. I hope this past year has been the proverbial fifteen minutes of fame for teabaggers.

Randal: Don't forget the green beer and cabbage.

Erik: I've seen a quote from Reagan that was very pro-union. I know that clashes with his actions against air traffic controllers, but in general he looks like a socialist compared to today's teabagging Republicans.

March 19, 2011 at 12:01 PM  

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