Today's Blogs

Collective Bargaining

Bloggers ponder a potential split in the AFL-CIO; they also discuss the Terri Schiavo autopsy and celebrate Bloomsday.

Collective bargaining: Five of the strongest unions within the AFL-CIO have announced that they’re forming a coalition called Change to Win, which will focus on more forceful organizing. Bloggers are debating whether the coalition will ultimately split off from the AFL-CIO or if it’s all just a plan to oust AFL-CIO head John J. Sweeney.

“Ironically, a split in the AFL-CIO could lead to more unity,” arguesLabor Blog’s lawyer and community activist Nathan Newman. Pointing out that the AFL had to redouble its organizing efforts after the CIO was formed, he believes, “This may be unity of two competing blocks, but that’s better than 57 separate unions all doing their own thing as happens today.” The Washington Monthly’s Kevin Drum agrees: “The two main factions within the AFL-CIO — young and growing vs. old and protective — have fundamentally different objectives, and given labor’s sorry state these days it’s hard to see it turning around via a long series of murky compromises.” Conservative Yippee-Ki-Yay!’s McGehee also welcomes a potential split: “[L]abor unions seem destined for a mere economic niche where political clout of any kind will only be a memory anyway. If Sweeney holds on, serious labor leaders would be well advised to follow Stern and take leave.”

Labor Blog’s Leo Casey, a member of the American Federation of Teachers, believes that the coalition might have been formed to force out Sweeney. He writes, “[D]ivision for the sake of division, that is, division without a meaningful different approach to organizing, such as the CIO had when it broke with the AFL, will be a setback, not an advance, for American labor.” And Blog Indigo’s “pro-business, pro-trade” and “pro-labor” The Duke writes, “Imagine the power of a labor movement that was able to secure portable health care, portable pensions, and portable worker safety standards, not just from one individual’s job to job, but across industries and even national boundaries.” He predicts, “a new labor movement will arise completely outside of the boundaries of the AFL-CIO, and it may not even call itself labor.”

Read more about the rift.

Gone but not forgotten: Terri Schiavo’s autopsy report was released yesterday; results showed her brain to be less than half of normal size. Both sides are finding enough fuel in the report to continue arguing about her death.

“She never did try to say ‘I want to live,’ notes libertarian radio host Neal Boortz. “She had no awareness or understanding of the state she was in, or of the controversy surrounding her.  She could not see, so that rules out those stories of her watching that Mickey Mouse balloon floating around her room. It’s safe to say that she was not aware of her own existence on any conscious level.” Conservative diva Michelle Malkin crows about having read the report closely and argues that it doesn’t support Michael Schiavo’s claims that his wife suffered from an eating disorder and had a heart attack. And MediaCulpa’s conservative Christian Ed Jordan points out, “[N]one of Terri’s sane supporters ever derived their outrage from the belief that her brain was secretly normal or that she could make a full recovery. On the contrary, it was always the fact that a prognosis of a ‘full recovery’ was required to make her life worth living that fed our indignation on her behalf.”

Read more about the autopsy; use this primer to understand the report.

Blogsday: Ever since James Joyce set Ulysses on June 16, 1904, the day that he had his first date with his wife Nora Barnacle, people have been celebrating Bloomsday.

While some bloggers are kvetching about never having finished Ulysses, others are coming up with their own ways to celebrate. “A most liberating feeling. To do something you know you’re not qualified to do. I’ll try ‘Ulysses’. By myself. I’ll walk to Borders and grab a copy over lunch,” resolvesDC-Upon-Avon’s “conflicts clerk” Kat.

AT F16’s Don’t Kill People “The OTHER J.S. Magruder” chronicles her own day in Omaha, Neb.: “I am now enjoying my first cup of Maxwell House instant coffee with two packets of artificial sweetener and powdered coffee creamer. Upon finishing the steaming beverage I fully intend to take a steaming crap.” And Joyce fanatic Sheila O’Malley, who has extensive links to Joyce-related tidbits, points out that Nora Joyce once said, “What’s all this talk about Ulysses? Finnegans Wake is the important book.” O’Malley writes, “For some reason, that gives me a chill. I think she might actually be onto something. She - an uneducated unintellectual wild-haired country girl - got it. That’s why Joyce knew that the most important decision he had ever made in his life was choosing this particular woman.”

Read more about Bloomsday; check out Ulysses for Dummies.

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