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Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

– Saqib Bhatti and Stephen Lerner point out that the struggle for power between labour and capital is far from over, and that the next step may be to engage on wider questions of economic control:

For too long most unions defined their mission narrowly as winning higher wages and benefits for unionized workers without challenging how companies were managed or how capital was invested and controlled. Unions accepted that it was management’s job to run companies and the broader economy, and that the unions’ primary job was to get as much as possible for their members.

This still dominates labor’s thinking: we focus on income inequality but not wealth inequality; we focus on how to raise the bottom, but not how to stop wealth from concentrating at the top; we deal with our direct employers, but not those who really control the broader socioeconomic conditions in which our members work and their families live.

We have bought into the notion that the boss is entitled to endless profits and should be allowed to have control of the business and the economy as long as our members win incremental improvements in every contract. But that bargain no longer works.

(U)nions don’t typically enter into negotiations with the investors. They deal with their direct employer, even though in many major companies investors, even the CEOs, are ultimately constrained by the pressures put on them by investors.

Unions need to start looking to these actors higher up the food chain, to the people who control the money in the public sector as well as the private sector.

In the public sector, state and local officials accurately decry the fact that there is not enough money in public coffers to properly fund public services. However, the reason why there isn’t enough money is that corporations and the wealthy have waged a sustained war on taxes over the past forty years to avoid paying more.

Increasingly, these corporations are owned by Wall Street investors seeking to cut taxes in order to increase their return on investment. These wealthy few have a large part of their wealth tied up in the financial sector.

By trying to squeeze pennies out of public officials while letting the billionaires and bankers off the hook, public-sector unions are fighting with one hand tied behind their back.

– Gabriel Winant also offers a noteworthy look at the state of the U.S.’ labour movement. And Tom Parkin points out how a larger self-identified working class may be an increasingly important force in Canadian politics, while Sid Ryan comments on the state of the relationship between Canadian labour and the NDP.

– Mersiha Gadzo identifies plenty of the ways in which Justin Trudeau has combined a sunny disposition with the same dark actions we’d expect from the Harper Cons. But Nora Loreto argues that progressive activists will need to develop new strategies to address Trudeau rather than Harper.

– Finally, Sir Michael Marmot discusses the social causes of economic inequality, while pointing out the need to ensure a greater focus on all social determinants of health. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

– Jim Stanford discusses how the Trans-Pacific Partnership is renegotiating NAFTA – and taking away what little Canada salvaged in that deal. And Jared Bernstein highlights the TPP’s impact on prescription drug costs.

– Rick Smith rightly challenges the effort some people have made to minimize the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Politics and its Discontents: Sid Ryan Has A Plan

Given the odious, intrusive and likely unconstitutional nature of Bill C-377, the ‘private member’s’ bill covered with the indelible palm prints of Stephen Harper that forces labour unions to publicly disclose how they spend their money, it would be surprising indeed if unions did not have a plan to fight back. Sid Ryan, president of . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Sid Ryan Has A Plan

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Jim Stanford writes that Tim Hudak’s combination of austerity and indiscriminate tax slashing represents a recipe for less jobs rather than more: Mr. Hudak’s initial policy agenda is mostly a recycled business wish list: cut taxes, cut regulations, pay for training, cut energy costs, free trade.  Its logic . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Jim Stanford discusses the OECD’s findings that job protection actually improves better employment outcomes – while “flexible” labour markets serve only to ensure less opportunity for workers. And Sid Ryan makes the case for premiers to reject a low-wage agenda.

– Oil spills are happening all over the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

– Michael Harris rightly points out that a steady stream of scandals and incompetence from the Cons says plenty about Stephen Harper’s own judgment (or lack thereof): Sooner or later, the country is going to realize that there is something terribly wrong with Stephen Harper’s judgment.

And sooner . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

– Zoe Williams questions when being poor became grounds for deliberate discrimination and ritual public humiliation (h/t to Mound of Sound): What I cannot help noticing is a failure of normal human respect for the people at the bottom of the heap – Tuesday’s ruling in favour of Cait . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

– Plenty of commentators are using the Labour Day weekend to discuss the place of workers in Canadian society. Sid Ryan notes that depressed wages are bad news for Canada’s economy generally. And Morna Ballantyne and Steven Staples point out the need for unions to reach out beyond their . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

– Jonathan Chait points out how the gap between the citizens hardest hit by a weak economy and a political class which faces virtually none of its effects explains the lack of urgency in dealing with mass unemployment: The political scientist Larry Bartels has found (and measured) that members . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Sid Ryan takes on the Harper/Hudak double-team effort to prevent workers from having any voice in our political direction: (T)here can be little doubt that what really offends Hudak is the fact that union members pool their resources to participate in municipal, provincial and federal elections. When voters . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

– Sid Ryan rightly criticizes Tim Hudak’s anti-labour plans as a push toward poverty rather than prosperity.

– Via Climate Progress, Steven Mufson reports on the causes of Enbridge’s Michigan oil spill – with Enbridge’s complete failure to repair known defects over a period of five years included among . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Andy Lehrer's Firebrand blog: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour

There’s been a showdown building at the OFL between recently elected president Sid Ryan and five of the affiliated unions that fund the labour federation and have all cut their dues payments forcing the OFL to layoff several of its staff. It also appears that there’s a power struggle between Ryan and his two . . . → Read More: Andy Lehrer’s Firebrand blog: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour

Canadian Firebrand: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour

There’s been a showdown building at the OFL between recently elected president Sid Ryan and five of the affiliated unions that fund the labour federation and have all cut their dues payments forcing the OFL to layoff several of its staff. It also appears that there’s a power struggle between Ryan and his two . . . → Read More: Canadian Firebrand: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour

Andy Lehrer: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour

There’s been a showdown building at the OFL between recently elected president Sid Ryan and five of the affiliated unions that fund the labour federation and have all cut their dues payments forcing the OFL to layoff several of its staff. It also appea… . . . → Read More: Andy Lehrer: Power struggle at the Ontario Federation of Labour