Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Happy Labor Day Barack Obama

On the eve of the Labor Day Holiday with attention being focused on unions , let us examine the state of the Union .
The reports in the below statement :
Union leader: Racism keeps Obama from building lead
By Kevin Bogardus
Posted: 08/26/08 06:45 PM [ET]
DENVER — A prominent union leader on Tuesday blamed racism for Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-Ill.) failure to build a big lead over GOP rival Sen. John McCain.
Gerald McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), said many workers are considering voting for McCain (R-Ariz.) because of his military service and status as a hero of the Vietnam War.

Earlier in my career I was a elected labor leader , representing some of the finest employees in Texas. The statement made by Gerald McEntee is an accurate statement regarding labor's influence and the racism that still exists in the American labor .
The is cited in quoting, "McEntee said several union members had approached him, saying they could not vote for Obama because of his race. He also said some local union presidents have failed to support Obama out of fear.
“There are some local union presidents that are afraid — yes, that’s the word, afraid — to hand out literature for Barack Obama,” said McEntee. "

Many union members in the past broke with union leadership and supported Ronald Reagan in the eighties .This caused great concern to us in organized labor as it was feared that we were losing Joe Six Pack .The subsequent loss of Joe Six Pack created the Reagan Democrats. My concern was more of an local concern ,the is pun intended.During my tenure I visited several rural Texas locations. On one field visit ,I was approached by a dues paying member who looked me up and down. Eyeballin me, as we say in Texas. He stated that "I'll be damn ,I have a black manager , a black director, and now a black union leader. What do you call that? " I replied progress ,being that we all were qualified to hold those positions.
This is the dillema that Barack Obama faces today .The election will be tight and what many consider to be a reliable base of support will not follow.Union leadership did not control their base in 1980 and 1984 , therefore Joe Six Pack voted for Reagan .Voting records indicate that Barack Obama should have the support of organized labor which they do , but in the trenches and front lines Barack Obama does not have the support of labor.
Front line union members are reluctant to support Obama ,because Obama is not one of them . The elitist tag follows him as it has been told by many in labor " you have to come up through the ranks ".In short Joe Six Pack has a hard time relating to the finished Obama product , which is an articulate ,intelligent black man,in postion of authority and influence. Bill Clinton was easier to support ,because after all he was nicknamed Bubba.As I dealt with the issue face to face in the trenches , Barack Obama will have to deal with the issue in the election booth. His outcome will be determined by what I said to my fellow union brothers "We are going to see how progressive you are" ,
Happy Labor Day .


Anonymous L K Lacy said...

Here's a very thought provoking perspective .

August 29, 2008 at 7:25 AM  
Anonymous robert houston said...

Excellent commentary Ed. I think it falls in line that all politics is motivated by economics.

August 30, 2008 at 9:13 AM  
Anonymous willbert said...

You nailed it. Some people in the unions have had a problem with black people , this is no surprise no wonder Obama is not getting his labor support . Thanks for posting.

August 30, 2008 at 5:27 PM  
Blogger said...

Follow up : November 2 ,2008
The labor federation found that union members in Appalachia now support Mr. Obama 55 percent to 33 percent for Mr. McCain, an 22 point margin, changed from 43 percent for each candidate six weeks ago. It also found that union retirees now back Mr. Obama 59 percent to 31 percent, a 28 percent margin, up from 52 percent to 37 percent, a 15 percent margin. As for active gun owners in unions they now favor Mr. Obama 53 percent to 38 percent, a 15 point margin, up from 49 percent to 41 percent, an 8 percent margin. And military veterans who are union members now support Mr. Obama 57 percent to 36 percent, a 21 percent margin, up from 49 percent to 41 percent, an 8 percent margin.

November 2, 2008 at 5:37 PM  

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