"Such an alliance has the potential to create a powerful political force. Unions have the experience, organization, money and political know how. Young people have the numbers and the passion."
Linda Killian explores the potential for a serious, ongoing youngsters-and-unions coalition.
She quotes AFL-CIO Political Director, Mike Podhorzer, who says: "The primary goal of unions is to create good paying jobs and that's something that young people can't find these days."
The primary goal of unions is to create good paying jobs? How is that?
I thought the primary goal of unions was to hold onto and to improve existing jobs, even if it means fewer jobs and shutting out people — like today's young people — who don't currently have jobs. I think a lot of young people like the idea of unions and will come out to rallies and elections in support of unions, and they're not analyzing their own personal interests very well. That's youthful idealism. But how far can you go with that when the interests diverge?
In Wisconsin, I've talked to many young people who are passionate about supporting union members whose jobs are far better than the jobs they have or expect to get any time soon. They seem to believe in the solidarity and to hope — without examining the causality — that the benefits will trickle down to them. Meade and I have challenged various young protesters about the cogency of their thinking, and they don't have a good answer. They want to believe they know who the bad guys are. As the chant goes: "Union busting/It's disgusting."
Having no job at all? That's disgusting too. But you have to figure out who to be disgusted with.