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Progressives Push to Bring Far-Left Politics to Blue-Collar Unions

Posted on Monday, April 29, 2024
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In the iconic 1970s TV show “All In The Family,” Archie Bunker’s socially conservative worldview—pro-traditional values and anti-“Commie pinko”—was attributed in part to his blue-collar labor union politics.

There were no Archie Bunkers at a recent Labor Notes gathering in Rosemont, Ill., just outside Chicago.  Attendees learned about transgender rights, heard the pro-Hamas feminist perspective on the Middle East, and were invited to join the Democratic Socialists of America.

The left-wing pro-labor conference is part of shifting dynamics in America’s labor movement, where progressive politics are becoming more popular. The new president of the United Auto Workers union, Shawn Fain, makes no secret of his ties to the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), which worked hard to help him win his post.

Labor Notes, the DSA, and the George Soros-backed Private Equity Stakeholder Project (PESP) are all part of the growing progressive influence within American unions.

At the Labor Notes conference in early April, activists swamped the area outside Hyatt Regency O’Hare to chant “Free Palestine” and square off with local police. Inside, they attended workshops and speeches featuring activists like University of California, Santa Barbra professor (and Hamas defender) Charmaine Chua and Azani Creeks, a PESP research coordinator who was part of the coordinated anti-Israel protests in New York that shut down traffic.

PESP positions itself as a watchdog organization protecting workers from the investment class. However, its social media feed features calls for ending U.S. support for Israel and “complicity with Israel’s crimes” and the message that, “Liberation looks like terrorism in the eyes of the oppressor.”

The latter came from PESP senior housing campaign coordinator K. Agbebiyi. Those are not the political views traditionally associated with blue-collar union members, many of whom voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2020. And polls show Trump’s support among union households is higher today than four years ago.

Politically moderate union members say organized labor used to be a bulwark protecting workers’ rights, fighting for fair wages, decent benefits, safe working conditions, and needed time off. Now, unions are under siege, targeted for takeover by progressive groups pushing an extreme, socialist agenda. Still, a minority in labor, the progressives are gaining ground, the moderates fear.

This year’s Labor Notes conference devolved into a standoff between a pro-Palestinian mob and police on the first day. As protestors chanted “Free Palestine,” police took two women from the crowd into custody. Thousands of the labor protesters surrounded the officers, blocking traffic and shouting that the police were “fascists.” The incident escalated, with one video showing about half a dozen Rosemont officers surrounded by thousands of protestors chanting “union power.” Both detainees were soon released.

Rosemont Police did not respond to a request for comment about the incident, and it is unclear why the women were taken into custody.

But activists like those at the Labor Notes conference don’t represent the men and women who are dues paying union members. One union chief, Rich Gulla, president of New Hampshire’s State Employees Association, said groups like the DSA, Labor Notes, and PESP don’t speak for his members.

“The State Employees’ Association represents more than 10,000 public and private sector workers in New Hampshire, all committed to defending and improving the varied and critical services we provide for our state’s citizens and visitors. We are focused on New Hampshire issues and not foreign policy,” Gulla said.

The drama created by the leftist labor activists comes as the country’s biggest and most powerful labor union, the Teamsters, is signaling a possible right turn. Last week, the Teamsters’ political action committee gave conservative Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Missouri) a $5,000 campaign donation.

The Teamsters are traditional blue-collar Democrats and rarely side with Republicans. But Hawley has shown pro-union sympathies and even joined picket lines for the Teamsters and the United Auto Workers. In a presidential election year, while the Teamsters have yet to back a candidate, they did donate $45,000 to the Republican National Committee for its upcoming national convention. That’s the most the Teamsters donated to the RNC since 2004, according to Axios.

Damien Fisher is a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Miami Herald, the New Hampshire Union Leader and the Granite State News Collaborative. He’s also the founder of NHReporter.com.

Reprinted with Permission from DC Journal – By Damien Fisher

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of AMAC or AMAC Action.

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Ralph
Ralph
2 months ago

Politicians in general of any party have only two goals… To get re-elected and to magnify their power and influence over WE the PEOPLE! Although we hear lots of BS doomsayers hectoring and haranguing about losing our democracy. We are not a democracy. We are a constitutional republic overrun with a government full of rogues, rascals, RINOs, reprobates, racketeers, renegades, reactionaries, recreants, and TERRIBLE, HORRIBLE, No GOOD, VERY BAD DemoRATS.. [with apologies to Judith Viorst].

Thinking
Thinking
2 months ago

The Elites, Soros et al are infiltrating everything. They started with buying DA’s then Judges, the DOJ and FBI, CIA, IRS and any other three letter department in the government followed. The unions are next after their success with the teachers union during the COVID. They ruined a generation of children forever. Keeping them home from school for 2 years while the teachers were basking in the sun in the Bahamas. Once schools reopened they brainwashed them into being trans. And here we are. My fervent hope is that the trade union members see the light and vote for their America. The liars and conniving left wing with the help of ole Joe Bama have to go. Only then can we save America.

Robert Zuccaro
Robert Zuccaro
2 months ago

Never could understand union support for Democrats. It seems to me that when business is allowed to do business then business is good and when business is good, workers have jobs and work to do making them necessary to business. Everyone benefits!

sue
sue
2 months ago

Bunch of ill-infoormed sheep. My dad was in the union many years ago, BUT he never voted the way they told him. He kept himself in informed and educated as to what the issues were. HE WAS HIS OWN MAN, he didn’t need anyone TO TELL HIM HOW TO VOTE or WHAT TO THINK! I am happy to know that he is not here to see the crud that is going around and to see the ninnies that just do what they are told! Hate to be them. There is no pride in being able to think for yourself—very sad and very dangerous not to be able to think.

Cliff Poffenbarger
Cliff Poffenbarger
2 months ago

It is time we all wake up. It has been clear to me something is very wrong with this two-party system. It is no longer a two-party system there are no checks and balances. One party has all the power and the conservative party has the virtue and good ideas. In 1962 John Kennedy allowed the Federal employees to Unionize. As a result, fast forward to today. Every government agency and office are now Union members of which i have heard some 90% are Democrats. These employees Consider their loyalties to the Unions of the Democratic Party. Many of which will do anything to maintain their power. All the things we conservatives consider unfair, or wrong of course are used to raise contributions, but nothing to really solve the underlining problem. The Deep State is the Public Employee unions which have total control no matter which party is in office. Just look what they did to President Trump during his time in office. Look what they did during the November Elections. The Voter registrar, IRS, CIA, DOJ, Teachers, Hollywood, News Media ( which are part of Hollywood ), and all of the major trade unions all are against American citizens being free or to have the right to shear thoughts unless they agree with the left. The power is in their total control, and they are using it against common since. The unions put in governor Brown in California for two additional terms because they could control his every move, and give the government employees unions more power more Union jobs withe higher government paychecks, but less efficiency or responsibility. The same thing with President Biden. Most of the stimulus money went to government employees to do less or not work at all 
( PAYBACK ). If you notice no one seems to pay for Fast & Furious, Clinton Emails, Muller Fraud, Hunter Biden, and all other crimes that any one with a conservative point of view would immediately be prosecuted for. This is the Deep Union State/ Democratic’s control they will have total control until America is destroyed. Instead of beating around the bush with each symptom of the problem recognition of the problem is needed to find a solution. There will always be differences of opinion life’s circumstances adjust our points of view, but total controle of our government agencies are leading us to be a Communist country. The Unions helped Russia become a Communist country, and history is repeating itself. There may be a few ways to change back to a balanced system with all the complications with so many Americans owing their livelihoods to the government. I have only been able to come up with one. Every Conservative at the wright time, change their party designation to a D instead of an R, and take over the Democratic Party including party leaders Senate and Congress. Since this is what the Democrats seem to want. Except we would all be one party I think with more conservative view points. This may take away from the union controle, and allow better representation. I don’t relish the idea of a D by my registration, but I would like to get back to both parties doing what is best to represent American interests. My thoughts continue to find a good solution, someone else’s thoughts may come up with a better one. I listen to a lot of conservative talk shows, and hear what they are saying but never quite getting to the cause of the problem I think it is the dominance of the Public Employees Unions.

teresa
teresa
2 months ago

FAT CHACE OF THAT HAPPENING – when Trump wins 2024 the left will be out of here

Elaine
Elaine
2 months ago

The union workers were forced to attend to learn about governments new mandates and threats about illogical decisions on sex identity, proper (in their thinking) pronouns, when maybe a “hey you”, will work since visually you do not what may be offensive to the person. So much time and expense that is counter-productive to a blue collar worker.
Another revelation not every “blue collar worker” is an Archie Bunker! Some are very educated with Bachelors, Masters and PhD’s but they prefer hands-on work.

Ken Paul
Ken Paul
2 months ago

Unions were central to the industrialization of America. They accomplished great things for industry and workers. However, they now go too far. Their main focus is profiting the union, not their members. The left has infected organized labor. Their excessive demands make businesses less profitable and hurt workers in the end.

Barrett T Smith
Barrett T Smith
2 months ago

Labor is shooting itself in the foot by endorsing joe biden who is importing millions of cheap nonunion workers.

Commentary
Commentary
2 months ago

I want to know what Soros is getting out of all his play with us as decent Americans. He’s got his $Billions so why does he want the rest of us ruled and controlled by the Socialist mob which, history tells us, is oppressive, authoritarian and downright evil? Behind EVERY Socialist Democrat of America is Soros money supporting such savagery as Oct. 7th and more. Where there is trouble and bad guys thrive in the world, Soros is behind it, including Obama’s “fundamental change” that we are watching play out on university campuses today.. Remember Soros sold out his own heritage to the Nazis.

Denise
Denise
2 months ago

If there is one person who desperately must be considered for “removal” from the face of this earth it is George Soros. I watched the last few minutes of a 60 Minutes interview by the late Jim Kroft on 60 minutes, of Soros. Soros was “smiling” as he recounted being in the concentration camp, probably Auschwitz, as a 12 year old Jewish “man”; in the Jewish faith a 12 year old boy is considered a man. He had thrown in with the gestapo as they herded in the unsuspecting Jews, and took their belongings as they were pushed into the room…not knowing the next “stop” were the showers…of CS gas! He “smiled” as he looked down and said: “I have such fond memories of that time.” I’ve seen pictures of Hitler, Lenin and Stalin…and they’re repulsive but next to Soros? Almost benign in regards to evil. The look on Kroft’s face was one of absolute disbelief and sickness.
I’ve seen photo’s of the concrete walls in these showers taken by Eisenhower’s soldiers when they liberated the camps. Bare fingers etched ruts in the concrete walls!! His statement: Take thousands of photos because no one will ever believe this.” Bodies stacked like cord wood, trenches filled with skeletal bodies, other skeletal bodies stacked like cord wood “as they would burn faster that way.”, children, babies. Over 6 million human beings were murdered in the most obscene ways. Starved to death, beaten, experimented on…and Soros “remembered fondly” …. evil can’t even touch the depths of that kind of depravity.

Roberto
Roberto
2 months ago

We have to clean up this mess.

Tim Toroian
Tim Toroian
2 months ago

Dumbass with the “Unions Make Us Strong” sign; you’re wrong. They might make you “strong” but they make “US” weak. Communism never made any country strong.

uncleferd
uncleferd
2 months ago

The far left continues to exhibit a remarkable level of confusion, about who they are, what they stand for, what country they’re citizens of, and what planet they’re on.
They must be so worldly and cultured to support Palestinian mass murderers while condemning Israelis for acting in self-defense.
I’m also sure they’re just “electric” with knowledge about “renewable” energy, and how fabulously this expensive, yet intermittent power source can sustain our power needs.
You can REALLY see their full brilliance in all of it’s glory as they relieve themselves on the sidewalk while muttering pro-terrorist chants… “…from the river to the sea….” OH, MY, how that kindles my “fires of passion……”

Stephen Russell
Stephen Russell
2 months ago

Have been doing so since Union days in 60s

Harry
Harry
2 months ago

Any union member who supports socialist leaders should be ashamed of themselves. They are being used and if these communist leaders win they will become serfs and lose all rights as free men and women. Don’t doubt it. Look at history

Robin W Boyd
Robin W Boyd
1 month ago

Today’s blue-collar workers belonging to Unions are more of a pale blue. Organized labor has been focused on government workers for decades while blue collar jobs have been going more to merit shop workers. This attempt to bring blue collar workers into the Progressive “woke” fold has little chance of succeeding.

Ted
Ted
2 months ago

This is why union’s are no longer needed. They had their usefulness at one time now their no more than inflated gluttony much akin to a leech. One can only hope those individuals still unionized see the agenda union’s are pushing Forward.

Sean Rickman
Sean Rickman
2 months ago

Well.if this does happen it will only accelerate the transition of the bidens densocRAT policies to the AMERICAN PATRIOTIC AGENDA,the anti AMERICANS should be totally stripped of their me to,me only agenda and that is what the the leftist densoc RATS want

uncleferd
uncleferd
2 months ago

This Gaza thing was seized upon by ignorant, spoiled brats who wanted to display their bravado. Just like democrats, they made these spectacles at Columbia and elsewhere, just to create a sensation.
It appears they may feel a different sensation when expelled from university, prosecuted, and confined to a jail cell with “Bubba”.

Patricia Ponich
Patricia Ponich
2 months ago

Wow! Thanks for sharing. I find it as astonishing as the many other so called Progressive activities that are plaguing our beloved nation.

Bob Chase
Bob Chase
2 months ago

Progressive LEFT brought total care to minorities and destroyed family units. Imagine the results when they manage to unionize the diminished manufacturing industry employees.

Fred
Fred
2 months ago

I was an union pipefitter in Alaska and Biden shut down many union jobs

Silhouette of the President of the United States of America Donald Trump while attending a conference
1960s and 2020s; history repeats itself
Helena, Montana / November 3, 2020: Woman election official directing voter where to park and vote, man in vehicle holding ballot, voting from car outside polling station, poll worker
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