Labor Unions--Walmart and the Democratic Party

I've just come upon an op ed, State of the Unions by Paul Krugman, which first appeared last week. In it he takes Obama to task for lumping union and corporate support together.

Traditionally the support of labor unions has been crucial in electing Democratic Party candidates, not only financially but by getting out the vote on election day. And it is not just a matter of party politics. As Krugman says:

Once upon a time, back when America had a strong middle class, it also had a strong union movement.

The occasion for this editorial was Obama's cheap shot at Edwards, when he accused Edwards of accepting support from "special interests" such as the Service Employees International Union. If Obama wins the nomination then Krugman warns he may have renounced the very support he needs to win the general election. He concludes with the statement"

It may be partisan to say that a 527 run by labor unions supporting health care reform isn’t the same thing as a 527 run by insurance companies opposing it. But it’s also the simple truth.

Sure labor unions have had their share of corruption in the past, but I agree with Krugman that rebuilding a strong labor movement must be an important part of the progressive agenda.

In the body of the piece Krugman references a 2002 article that appeared in Business week How Wal-Mart Keeps Unions at Bay (Oct. 22, 2002) written by Wendy Zellner. In it she describes the anti-union tactics used by Walmart. It is an interesting article worth taking a look at as well.

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