Friday, September 27, 2013

Labor South featured on "The People's Station" in Cleveland, Ohio

It has been a busy week for yours truly. Ed “Flash” Ferenc of WERE-AM 1490 in Cleveland, Ohio, interviewed me Wednesday, Sept. 25, about the United Auto Workers campaign at the Nissan plant in Canton, Miss. WERE-AM is “The People’s Station”, a radio station devoted to talking about labor issues and telling the stories of working class people, and it’s living proof that corporate media haven’t quite yet shut down the discussion on those stories or on labor issues in general.

On Ferenc’s “America’s Work Force” show, we discussed the labor movement in the South, its obstacles, how the image of the union-hostile, low-wage, low-benefits, environmentally lax South lamentably has become a model for the rest of the nation. The UAW’s success at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tenn., also came up. The union says it has enough signed cards from workers for a German-style works council to be set up at the plant. Check out the show at:

The UAW’s turn to the South is also the subject of a lengthy piece I just completed for upcoming edition of the New Labor Forum in New York. The NLF is arguably the finest journal devoted to labor issues in the country today, and I was proud to write for them.

The South indeed is again a battleground, and the outcome will affect the entire nation. Workers need a united voice. That’s the only way to counter the Republican-backed corporate juggernaut. I shouldn’t let Democrats off the hook here. A lot of them spend too much time acting like Republicans. Working people have to look past party lines to see who their real friends are.

Teachers are protesting in North Carolina. They ought to protest. They’re the lowest-paid teachers in the nation, according to one recent report. Fast food workers have had it with sub-minimum wages and disrespect at the workplace. Auto workers get better pay than most folks in the South wearing a blue collar these days, but they know it isn’t only about the pay. It’s about respect. The United Auto Workers and other unions realize that, and it’s why their message is getting heard in Dixie. Let it ring loud and clear!

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