Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Locked Out: The NBA

While the media has covered the NBA lockout, it has failed to gather as much attention as the NFL Lockout that recently ended without any games being canceled.  This is due to a few different reasons:

1. The NBPA is not as strong as a bargaining unit as the NFLPA.
2. The NBPA has not done as good a job winning the battle in the public square.

While the NFLPA immediately went on the offensive with a unified voice to the public, NBA players have wasted time with a faux decertification threat, and some of its members have entertained the idea of playing overseas.  Neither of the two have helped their cause.  It would seem that the NBPA would want to hammer the NBA owners with the fact that they are asking for major concessions from the players at a time when the league is making record profits.

Albeit, there are teams who are losing money every year, but that is mainly due to poor ownership coupled with a bad economy.  This situation could be rectified by working out a deal similar to that of the NHL, where the smaller, less profitable markets are helped out by the rest of the league.  Unfortunately, the owners would rather take it out on the workers.

Unfortunately, the people hit most by this will not be the owners or players.  It will be the people working for $8 an hour at the arenas who might lose work because of the lockout.  I hope the owners keep that in mind as they are thinking about solutions to this situation.

In Solidarity,


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Verizon On Strike!

A little over a week ago, 45,000 Verizon workers went on strike.  To find out how you can support them or join them on the picket line, click here:

Support our sisters and brothers at Verizon!

In Solidarity,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Post Mortem in Wisconsin: How Labor Missed Another Opportunity

Let me be the first to say this: Labor could have won last night.  Adding to its ever-growing string of missed opportunities, Big Labor fired yet another round into its already bullet-riddled feet. 

Yes, winning two races in GOP territory is a big accomplishment, and should be lauded.  However, the avoidable strategic missteps that kept Democrats from winning a crucial 3rd race cannot be ignored.  Allow me to present a few observations I made on the ground in Wisconsin:

1.  Labor once again let the Democratic Party run the show.  Imagine if Labor would have run its own candidates as independents.  This would have neutralized heavy party-line voting in the GOP strongholds.

2.  Resources were wasted in two Districts that everyone, especially the Democratic establishment, knew were never in play.  I'm not saying you don't make an effort, but you don't waste money and resources by opening offices and using political operatives where you know you have zero chance of coming within 7 points. Districts 10 and 2 should have been run by local volunteers - kind of the way any districts in the state of Virginia that are west of I-81 are run without paid staff.

3.  Democrats relied on outdated ground-game strategy that effectively turned out the vote against them in stronger GOP districts. When you're running in a district that is heavily stacked in the other direction, you can win by getting your people out to vote, and try to get everyone else to stay home.  By harassing independents, who tend to break Republican, you incite them to get out to the polls and vote against you.  If Democrats would have focused only on union households in these precincts, and left moderate Republicans alone, they would have had an outside shot at an upset by winning the turnout game.  Unfortunately, they beat moderates over the head with as many as 7-8 house visits in some cases.  I believe this in effect turned out the GOP vote in areas where the GOP did not even have a committed ground game.

4.  Labor allowed themselves to be to spread out.  While the Democratic establishment is expected to try to compete everywhere, the Labor Community should have targeted its efforts on the 3-4 Districts that had the best prospects for winning.  Unfortunately, as I stated in point number 1, Labor allowed the Democratic establishment to run the show and waste valuable resources on races that were not winnable. 

Conclusion:  I believe that if Labor had committed its resources only in Districts 32, 18, 8, and 14, we would be looking at a Wisconsin State Senate with a Democratic majority.

Unfortunately, we will never know.  There is always January, and a certain governor who will be eligible for recall.  I believe that is a fight we can win.

In Solidarity,


Saturday, August 6, 2011

On The Ground In Wisconsin

I landed here in Green Bay yesterday morning, and will be here through the August 9th elections.  I've been keeping some notes to chronicle my experiences.  Here's what has happened thus far:

August 5th

4:00am - Sweet fells like I just went to sleep five minutes ago.  I quietly slip out of bed, trying not to wake up our 11 month old son.  My wife has threatened to kill me if he wakes up.

4:25am - I go out front to wait on my taxi cab, which thankfully doesn't take very long.

5:00am - I get to the airport, where I congratulate my TSA inspectors on their recent NLRB election to join AFGE.  They say they hope it will help improve working conditions. 

6:15am - I get to enjoy a 2 hour layover in the Detroit International Airport.  There is no WiFi, nothing open, but there is a Kubrick-inspired tunnel that makes you feel like you're an extra in The Shining.

9:00am - I finally touch down in Green Bay.  I pick up my car and head straight to the District 2 Offices in Kaukauna. 

11:00am - I meet a few guys from IUPAT(Painters) who have already been here for a few days.  We take a few packets and head out to Seymour to canvass some union households.

12:21pm - Hey, a buffalo farm!

1:04pm - Whoever said it would be cooler in Wisconsin is due for a kick in the ass when I return to West Virginia.

1:11pm - Decide to utilize the car for canvassing.  Oh heavenly a/c!

3:25pm - Return to office and call it quits for the day. They tell me that one of the local volunteers is throwing a cookout for the out of towners, and I decide to check it out.

6:30pm - Sweet baby Jesus in the manger, these are the best bratwursts I have ever eaten.

8:15pm - Headed back to the hotel.  I am completely drained.

August 6th

8:00am - Time to get ready for a fun-filled day of canvassing in District 2!

9:00am - Arrive at office

9:30am - Take my packet and head out to a local neighborhood.

9:37am - I notice a guy who looks like he might be dropping literature at the same houses I have on my list.  I decide to hide for a minute to find out what he's up to.

9:39am - This guy is from Operation Rescue out of Milwaukee.  Since he hasn't spotted me, I decide to tail him.  His literature is wedged in the cracks of the doors.  Unfortunately, when I put my literature there, it makes it too wide to keep both flyers, and one of the flyers falls out.  This coincides with a hefty breeze that takes the other flyer far, far away. 

11:35am - Arrive back at the office.  I sit for a few minutes and rest.  I then pick up another packet and decide to head back out.

12:04pm - Why did I decide to park in the 2800 block and walk all the way down the street canvassing to the 1400 block.  I can't even see the car now.

12:15pm - Finally arrive back at the car.  I am dripping sweat and look like I'm about to die.

3:00pm - I finish my packet after walking what feels like 5 miles.  I've had enough for today...

5:15pm - I decide to check out Lambeau Field.  It's a nice stadium, and the only non-profit NFL Team.  Lots of labor-friendly people here.

9:00pm - back at the hotel for the night.

More updates as things unfold.

In Solidarity,