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Labor's Beating Heart

By DAVID MACARAY

One of life’s gross inequities is that the people who actually do the work receive relatively little in the way of credit or compensation, while the people in charge of the work—the ones who plan it, assign it, oversee and critique it—receive regular promotions and large paychecks. 

This
discrepancy wouldn’t be so objectionable if it could be shown that the
planning and supervisory aspects of the job were what made all the
difference—that it was the boss’s contributions, the efforts of the
guys in the front office, and not those of the workers on the floor,
that determined the success or failure of a venture, but,
unfortunately, that’s not always the case.

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What Happens in Congress Stays in Congress

The Democrats Have Much to Answer For


By DAVID MACARAY

In
1935, as part of the National Labor Relations Act (popularly known as
the Wagner Act), the federal government gave labor unions the “right to
organize,” which meant, among other things, that it was now a federal
crime for companies to attempt to dissuade employees from joining a
union by issuing threats of reprisal or discharging union activists.

In
principle, if management did something blatantly illegal, such as
firing the employees who were promoting (or, in management’s view,
“instigating”) the union membership drive, the company could be charged
with a violation of federal labor law.  If found guilty, the company
would be fined, the employees would be reinstated, and the company
would be forced to pay back wages to the reinstated employees (minus
any wages they earned at other jobs during the interim).  That’s how it
was intended to work.

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Obama's Labor Day Report Card

By DAVID MACARAY

This
being Labor Day and all, it might be appropriate to assess—from the
express vantage point of organized labor—the job President Obama has
done in his eight and a half months in office.

Our
appraisal should be “realistic” rather than doctrinaire.  Which means
we ignore the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, RNC (Republican National
Committee), and Wall Street Journal, all of whom have accused Obama of
being “dangerously pro-labor,” as well as those hope-to-die radicals on
the other side who think Obama has sold out the Movement.

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Protestors converge on Cambridge Whole Foods, attacking CEO's comments on health care reform

Cambridge —

“People
die while we wait! Tomorrow is too late!” Cries for health care reform
rang out as a crowd formed in front of Whole Foods Market on Prospect
Street on Friday afternoon. Around 4:30 p.m., a couple dozen people
gathered outside the Cambridge market to protest Whole Foods CEO John
Mackey’s recent opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, one that they felt opposed health care changes and ultimately, human rights.

In the op-ed piece, Mackey responded to Obama’s call for
constructive ideas regarding health care reform by outlining his own
suggestions for alterations to the system. In contrast to Obama’s
interest in government-funded care, Mackey emphasized the development
of high-deductible health insurance plans coupled with health savings
accounts.

His statement shocked some, who feel that health care is a necessity
for all. “He basically said: ‘If you can’t afford health care, then I
guess you can’t afford to be healthy,’” said Jake Williams, a member of
Massachusetts Jobs with Justice, which organized the protest.

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Labor and the Conventional Wisdom

By DAVID MACARAY

When regular people (and by “regular” I mean theater people—actors,
actresses and directors who do Equity Waiver-type theater in and around
Los Angeles) learn that I used to represent an industrial labor union,
they’re tempted to sidle up to me and ask labor questions.

Oddly,
over the years the two most common questions have been:  (1) Why are
labor unions so corrupt?  And (2)  Do you think unions have become too
powerful?  Because they sense that these questions could be taken as
insulting or offensive, they usually preface their queries with a
cheerful, “Don’t take this the wrong way,” or “Be honest with me now.”

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