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Great insights into current union trends, I had no idea. Also- great playlist!

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Thank you, Miter!

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Sep 8, 2023Liked by Bob Merberg

Interesting question. Though "resurgence" (long overdue) is in the air, there remains a deep and yawning disconnect within the union movement between the professionalized, politically "wired-in" administrations of many unions and their shop-floor leadership and rank & file. It often seems as though those administrations are put and kept in place to control the movement, rather than grow it. My union has managed to carefully seal its leadership off from any bottom-up internal dissent whatsoever; while its top officials routinely hobnob with members of Congress and patrons of super-PACs. The problem is not merely that I cannot complain to them; but that I cannot talk to them at all.

Many people who work union in the US experience this, and think about it as they see these pushes in new economic sectors for union representation; and wonder if those folks are also trading one set of remote, unreachable "leaders" for another. The impetus to reform unions from within is rarely more than sporadic, as it means taking on two system fights instead of one. Most modern workers just don't have that time and energy, and the defenders of the systems know it.

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Wonderful insights and testimonial, Shaggy. This is so well said:

“…wonder if those folks are also trading one set of remote, unreachable ‘leaders’ for another.”

Some have said that there’s been a resurgence of nonunion, grassroots organized labor — such as the fast food workers who launched Fight for 15 ten years ago — but time will tell whether that type of movement can be independently sustained. The fact is, Fight for 15, which accomplished a lot (though it didn’t meet its goal to unionize fast food workers) was largely underwritten by one of America’s largest unions.

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Sep 9, 2023Liked by Bob Merberg

Meaning, essentially, that they jumped on the front of a train that was already running, and pretended they were driving it.

If unions really wanted growth, they could have it; but they'd have to move away from 60 years of insularity/nepotism and spend time + money re-establishing their community presences in the workplace and out. Not just showing up at contract-time and vanishing again for 3-4 years.

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Sep 7, 2023Liked by Bob Merberg

Wow! You have done the work, Bob, and raised the key issues on the subject. Only a few additions. First Labor Day - so right about that - still fighting for safe working conditions and living wages. MLK and Veterans Days - we skirt the issues of endless wars where our service members don't belong and how the poorest among us are still Black, working class Americans. Now they are being replaced with illegal immigrants who will work for even less - works well for dubious employers.

Much union busting these days is coming from the white house or congress - railroad workers a great example. Every time I mentioned unions when I worked in the medical-industrial complex the skull & crossbones of socialism flag was waved. So not surprised the American people who are getting (imho) dumber by the day about most everything, don't know what to support - just their own skins mostly.

As for HR - enough said already but they really ought to in many cases take the human out of the H and replace it with something closer to their proscribed role in far too many companies. Hamstrung might work.

Finally, holy Pete Seeger experience - Yes - and the play list, my musical choices out for my walk have just been greatly enhanced. THANKS!

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Wow, right back, Barbara. :). I know this post ran long and in a few different directions. I appreciate you putting in the *labor* to follow along. (I accidentally sent it out to my LinkedIn subscribers, too, but that version omitted my HR tribulations. At this point, I'm not inclined to enter a community only to offend everyone else in it. And, of course, I've known many wonderful HR pros. Your word, "hamstrung," may fit the bill — though I just looked up the word's derivation and... yikes!)

As I think you know, I in no way sought to diminish the significance of MLK and Veterans Days. I'm just saying that on MLK's birthday we hear a lot about MLK; on Veterans Day we hear a lot about Veterans; but on Labor Day most of us don't hear anything about Labor.

And that's sooooo nice that you've checked out the playlist. I tried to curate a good list that has something for everyone, which means most people will also find stuff they dislike. Personally, I've been enjoying listening to it, but I like most musical genres. Anyhow, if it enhances our walks, I'm gratified.

Thanks, as always, for your support and insights.

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