Thursday, November 22, 2012

Labor Goons

There are two kinds of unions, those who work for a better society, and those that only care about themselves. The California Nurses Association is an example of the former, the Northwest Washington Central Labor Council an example of the latter.

To illustrate what I'm talking about, the California nurses have put their money and bodies on the line against corporations and politicians who put profits before people in the health care industry. Conversely, the Labor Council teams up with corrupt corporations and politicians in order to get a piece of the action.

I first encountered the nefarious Labor Council in the 1990s, when they joined developers and realtors in undermining environmental law in Northwest Washington. Later, when environmentalists wrested control of the local Democratic Party from the Labor Council, the labor representatives shifted party funds into another account before leaving office. When Lummi Indians were invited by the environmentalists to join the local party, labor goons showed up to make it clear they weren't welcome by physically shoving them around.

Today, as the Labor Council again teams up with developers, realtors, the Chamber of Commerce and Republican Party against the Lummi Nation over the proposed Gateway Pacific Terminal at Cherry Point, their media campaign has taken on a distinctly hostile tone aimed at mobilizing resentment against environmentalists and Indians. While the Labor Council is entitled to its opinion about the economics of taking a powder to support Chinese industry, setting a tone in the media that pits organized labor against Indians and environmentalists is both irresponsible and inexcusable.

As we witnessed in the past, the anti-Indian, anti-environmentalist bigotry that lies just below the surface in some organized labor milieus can rise in the form of open hostility and violence with little provocation. Deliberately fanning the flames of resentment is something the Labor Council will have to answer for if they don't rein in the inflammatory deceptions of their reckless public relations campaign. Because in the end, the disaster waiting to happen isn't just to the environment; it's perhaps more importantly what happens to the social fabric that matters.

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