Worker Centers are the New Labor Unions
If you work for a living — or know someone who does — you probably think Worker Centers are a good thing. On the other hand, if you’re a rightwing plutocrat and you’ve spent millions of your inherited dollars bribing your legislative prostitutes into destroying labor unions, your opinion of worker centers would be less favorable.
Stomp on a labor union and up pops a worker center.
Worker centers are not unions but they do a lot of the advising and organizing that unions do, or used to do before they were sabotaged by the Far Right. Fast Food Forward is one of the better known worker centers. The group has staged walkouts of fast food workers who want higher wages.
Organization United for Respect at Walmart (OUR Walmart), is another worker center. A founding member of OUR Walmart says the group is not trying to unionize:
“We have our organization of associates for associates across the country. We are not unionizing. We are organizing. We want respect. We want a decent wage. We want healthcare.”
The AFL-CIO has adopted a resolution to “expand its partnerships” with worker centers.
Needless to say, the oligarchy is not happy. A Columbia University professor who specializes in labor issues said:
“…there will be targeted attacks from the right on worker centers. Worker centers are going to have to navigate carefully the line between being a labor organization and a nonprofit organization. They are going to receive a lot more scrutiny.”
Yes they will. We already have Worker Center Watch (warning: Euphemism Alert!). Worker Center Watch’s advisors include Ryan Williams, one of the architects of Mitt Romney’s failed presidential campaign. Williams said:
“They have morphed into groups that harass employers, shame companies and hurt business across the country. They are essentially getting away with skirting labor laws.”
“Skirting labor laws,” LOL. For a long time, the National Labor Relations Board was unable to enforce any labor laws because the Board only had two members and three vacancies. Senate Republicans kept filibustering every potential board member that Obama nominated. I don’t recall any complaints from Ryan Williams about “skirting labor laws.”
More irony: Worker Center Watch does not disclose its donors and supporters. At the same time, congressional Republicans are insisting that worker centers be required to disclose their donors. Irony is lost on the stupid.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has developed a Workforce Freedom Initiative (these euphemisms are busting out all over) and wants the government to crack down on worker centers. I thought government was “the problem, not the solution.” [See Irony above]