Obama’s First 100 Days?–Shut Up!
Let him alone already! Maybe he’ll need 165 days, maybe even 278. This mindless 100-day watch has to end [Tony Badger, “FDR’s 100 Days… and Obama’s,” Jan. 26]. Surely the sophisticated editorial board of The Nation can recognize that stuffing a jaunty cigarette holder in the mouth of Obama-cum-FDR does not change the facts: FDR was unique; 1933 is gone. Just because some keen wits managed to package much of FDR’s doings in a neat 100-day bundle should not have put such a time burden on Harry or Dwight or John or Lyndon or… you get my drift.
EFCA: With Friends Like These…
Thanks to Esther Kaplan for her excellent article “Can Labor Revive the American Dream?” [Jan. 26], which presents a compelling case that unionization and collective bargaining are essential to rebuilding living standards, that the NLRA has failed to provide a level playing field for workers to organize and must be reformed, and that the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) is an excellent proposal whose opponents are the usual enemies of labor. Unfortunately, by prominently featuring SEIU president Andy Stern in the lead paragraph, associating himself with progressives and describing the scale of the SEIU campaign for EFCA, and quoting SEIU secretary-treasurer Anna Burger, the article appears to legitimize Stern and Burger as visionary, progressive leaders, fighting for EFCA.
In fact, Stern and Burger are doing more to ensure the defeat of EFCA than any other players in the debate by living out the worst stereotype of the bad union boss. The Blagojevich matter is but the tip of the iceberg. Stern and Burger’s worst transgressions are against union democracy and SEIU members. The corrupt and antidemocratic practices that mark their union leadership are beyond the pale even by past SEIU standards. It’s no surprise that EFCA’s opponents have made Stern the poster child of their campaign. They may be evil, but they’re not fools. The sooner other union leaders and the progressive media confront, expose and condemn Stern’s behavior and the SEIU international executive board’s acquiescence in it, the better the odds will be for EFCA. Wouldn’t it be a tragedy for workers to be denied the opportunity EFCA represents because the bad acts of one highly visible leader provide cover for conservative and swing-district legislators under very heavy pressure from anti-EFCA forces?
SEIU, UHW retiree
Sugar Land, Tex.
I couldn’t be more pleased with Esther Kaplan’s article. As a registered nurse for more than thirty years I have strongly supported nurses unionizing. It’s been a long, hard road here organizing nurses. We’ve put up with a great deal of harassment and abuse from hospital administrations over the past two years. We have very few legal resources and no support from the local media. We are hoping Obama and the Senate don’t wimp out on us. They must pass EFCA. There is no other way to go. It was the unions that created the middle class in this country, and it’s through unionization that we will be a strong middle class again.