Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Unions, politics and the middle class

Paul Krugman, Princeton economist and dubbed “the most important political columnist in America” by the Washington Monthly magazine, spoke at the AFL-CIO breakfast during the annual meeting of the Labor and Employment Relations Association (LERA) in New Orleans on Saturday. afl-cio now blog

Krugman took issue with corporate spinners and extremist politicians who blame the steep decline in unions on the alleged loss of interest by workers in joining unions. Rather, Krugman says, the biggest culprit has been a hostile political environment that aided and abetted an aggressive, often lawless anti-union, anti-workers’ rights offensive by many of the nation’s employers.
The importance of strong unions and protections for workers’ rights extends far beyond wages, health insurance, pensions and justice on the job, Krugman noted. Unions provide a crucial counterweight to the power of money in political campaigns. They also have a significant impact on the political consciousness and political participation of their members and their families.

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