AFL-CIO

Dick Meister: Apple's unethical innovation

|
(2)

By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 300 of his columns.

Apple's position as a worldwide leader in technological innovation has brought huge rewards to those who run the company or own stock in it, and has raised co-founder Steve Jobs to demigod status. But the men and women who manufacture Apple's highly profitable products are not doing well – and the AFL-CIO wants very much for that to change.

"When it comes to technology," notes AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, " Apple has revolutionized its industry and set a standard other companies aspire to meet . It is now the biggest publicly traded company in the world, worth a whopping $465 billion."

But, adds Trumka, "Apple's record-breaking success comes at a back-breaking price." Read more »

Dick Meister: The IWW Legacy

|
(0)

By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The Occupy Wall Street Movement and the other anti-capitalist forces of today could find no greater inspiration than the Industrial Workers of the World – the IWW, one of the most influential organizations in U.S. history, that was founded in Chicago in 1905 by a band of fiercely dedicated idealists.

The Wobblies, as they were called, battled against overwhelming odds. Their only real weapon was an utter refusal to compromise in a single-minded march toward a Utopia that pitted them against the combined forces of government and business. Read more »

Dick Meister: Sit down, punk!

|
(1)

By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

I spotted a forgotten hero at the memorial service for SF labor leader Walter Johnson the other day, a true but largely unacknowledged hero of the anti-Vietnam War movement – Art Carter, former head of the AFL-CIO's Contra Costa Labor Council.

The AFL-CIO, you might recall, was a major and outspoken supporter of that damned war which was waged as a key part of the Cold War against the Soviet Union.  The AFL-CIO held tenaciously to its unqualified support of the war, whether it was being waged by a long-time labor ally, Democratic President Lyndon Johnson, or by his anti-labor Republican successor, Richard Nixon.

It was in 1969, at the AFL-CIO's national convention in Atlantic City, that Carter, a 28-year-old delegate, dared stand up to oppose a resolution unconditionally supporting the Vietnam War and the Vietnam policies of then-President Nixon, which delegates had loudly cheered when a guest speaker, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, had spelled them out. The measure was presented by hawkish AFL-CIO President George Meany and ultimately opposed by only six of the 700 delegates – including, of course, Art Carter. Read more »

Meister: So, what about the state of the unions, Mr. President?

|
(2)

By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Unions? Organized labor? The AFL-CIO? Those words were nowhere to be heard in President Obama's State of the Union address, despite labor's vital role in the economy and strong support for Obama. The continued support of the labor movement is essential if the president is to carry out the bold plans he outlined and if he is to be re-elected.

The president's failure to mention one of the country's most important economic and political institutions was unfortunate. It was perhaps understandable, however, given the anti-union climate stirred up by attacks on public employee unions and their allies.

Obama's failure to mention unions and their leaders was ignored in the post-speech pronouncements of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka and other major unionists. They in fact proclaimed the speech a victory because of its endorsement of policies widely supported by labor. Read more »

Dick Meister: Walter Johnson did what needed to be done

|
(4)

BY Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century, Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns,

Walter Johnson was everything a labor leader should be – a dedicated, unflinching, champion of working people and their unions. But more than that, Walter was also an unyielding advocate of all those  inside and outside the labor movement who wanted – and badly needed – a decent living , or who were in any way oppressed.

Johnson, who died in San Francisco of a heart attack on Jan. 12 at age 87, devoted his life to that noble – yes, noble – task as head of the Department Store and Retail Clerks unions in San Francisco. He also later headed the SF Labor Council for nearly 20 years, from 1985 until his retirement in 2004. Read more »

Dick Meister: Six ways to heal the economy

|
(8)


By Dick Meister

 Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The AFL-CIO has come up with an ambitious six-point plan for healing our very sick economy – one of the best plans that have yet been suggested by anyone.

Point one calls for rebuilding the school, transportation and energy systems by spending at least $2.2 trillion to restore crumbling 20th century infrastructure. As the AFL-CIO says, it would be an investment that would put millions of people to work while laying the foundation for the nation's long-term growth and competitiveness with other nations.

Point two is as direct: "Revive U.S. manufacturing and stop exporting good jobs overseas."  That would involve, among many other steps, reforming and enforcing tax policies that are currently encouraging U.S. companies to have manufacturing done in other countries. And enhance Buy America standards, increase investment in job training and oppose free trade deals. Read more »