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Republicans Attack Unions & Gays together


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By now you've heard of the assaults on union rights in states all across the nation. I'm sure we could easily get into debates about the qualities of unions, etc., but Michigan has provided a prime example of how when they come for the unions, they're coming for the gays too. This happening in all the states attacking unions, but they usually do it at different times. In Michigan though, they feel secure enough to attack both groups at the same time instead of seperately.


The legislation is largely aimed at ending the practice of extending benefits to a public employee's domestic partner. Many Michigan public employers implemented the domestic partner policies allowing benefits to be extended to unmarried employee partners of either sex after the Michigan Supreme Court ruled that same-sex partner benefits violated the one man, one woman marriage amendment approved by voters in 2004.

When gay people attack unions, I've often wondered if they have any idea how bad they are cutting off their noses to spite their face. In the fight to achieve benefits for gay couples, unions have been the strongest, most productive allies of the LGBT community. Whether its including Domestic Partnership rights as part of their collective bargaining or seeking equality under Family Medical Leave practices, unions have supported gay families better than any other group (inculding the Democratic Party). They have been the strongest allies of the gay community for decades.

As a result, the union busting that is going on in state after state also will result in gay rights busting within those same states.

In Wisconsin, after they broke the unions, they started repealing Domestic Partner rights, hospital visitation rights, etc. They've done the same or similar in Ohio after busting the unions (and even while bustingi the unions at the same time). Now they're doing it in Michigan.

Give them a few more years of this and when they start recriminalizing gay behaviors, there won't be anyone with any political clout to stop them. Yes it sounds alarming, but we only have to look at the legislation that is being proposed and PASSED right now to see where they are going. Five, ten years ago the people that were pushing to get rid of Domestic Partnership rights were on the outside edge of the Republican party. Now they are its heart and soul and majority.

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Guest Dabeagle

I have no doubt that many unions have included for and bargained as part of their overall objective to get benefits that worked in our favor. I can also see that your assertion that these two groups can and are tied together in certain cases. I still have a hard time supporting unions long term because I do think that they eventually become a 'what have you done for me lately' group that must continue to push harder for more. My thoughts turn to the Auto Unions and the part they played in the downfall of those industries. They were not the only reason, far from it, but they certainly had a major role to play.

The Republicans are getting scarier every election cycle, they go farther to the right, farther into wing-nut territory and i just have to wonder if there are enough crazy or stupid people to support them. I'm afraid there is.

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Smart unions try to limit the crazy demands, but we have to face the truth that yes, they can be as 'what have you done for me lately' as their members.

The problems of the auto industry have been so complex that you cannot point to one part of it as the cause of the problems they experienced. This is exactly the same as you CAN point to how every single part of the industry had to pull together in order to create the rebound they've experienced since Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats pushed to bail them out. They are by and large back on their feet, paying back the taxpayer loans because everyone involved made sacrifices.

If the unions had dug in their heels unfairly, there would have been no rebound. Instead organized labor did the smart thing and accepted some very painful cuts in order to keep the industry alive. Without automakers, they knew their members would have no jobs, and keeping their members working is a large part of the reason for their existence.

I've met and worked with every day union members, and I've worked closely with union leadership at the local, state, and federal level (even the AFL-CIO). I can also tell you I've met some very corrupt people in politics of all political stripes. What I can't tell you is that I've met any corrupt union leaders or members. Some of them have been a little weird, some of them have had some really bad ideas, but they've worked towards what they believed were the best interests of their members.

I've also worked with unions in the last handful of years that have had corrupt leaders, and those unions moved very quickly to get rid of those corrupt members as soon as they knew about them. In fact, they've been more assiduous in getting rid of corruption than any other political organization I've ever seen, including the Democratic and Republican parties. With the political parties, corrupt people will often leave a position and then wait a few months to a year before coming back in a different position with an even higher salary. Once a union official gets in trouble for corruption, they find no union will hire them and they are blacklisted permanently.

It's unfortunate how people took the corruption of the past and try to paint the unions of today with that same brush. I have a great deal of respect for all unions because of the work they do on behalf of the common worker. So much of our society as it is today owes the Labor movement. Without them we would have no middle class, no five day work week (remember it use to be SIX days at least), the 40-hour work week, sick time, vacation time, workplace safety, etc etc. Before there were unions, workers were locked into factories and forced to work long shifts and many died in fires where their path of escape wasa blocked by locked doors. Children worked instead of going to school.

There was a time, just a few decades ago where labor lost their vision, and corruption became a very major issue. Most unions have cleaned themselves up since then and hold their officers to very high standards. When you talk to the current leaders you'll find that their support of gay issues isn't because they think it's something they can bargain for, but rather because they believe it is an issue of equality. They see gay workers as being no different than straight workers, and thus they do what unions do: push for equality for all of their workers.

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DKtories, I confirm your experience of the unions as relevant to Australian conditions with yet another parallel which you have made central in some of your prophetic stories. Here in Australia the Abrahamic religions have influenced our unions and our politics. Corruption would in my opinion not be too strong a word, but it is not corruption of the unions' desire to protect the human rights of workers, but that 'human rights' somehow fail to be human or rights, if they are not based on religion.

Our Prime Minister (Julia Gillard) claims to an atheist, but will not agree to same gender marriage, because she says that her view is Australia is founded on traditional beliefs of marriage being one man to one woman. :pinch:

It's a tangled web of deception that has many levels of corruption.

The distinction you make about gay workers being treated equally by unions is dependant on the influence of those religions, but certainly I agree that unions have also been influential in furthering equality for all humanity.

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