THINKWING RADIO MOVED TO MONDAYS @ 9-10 PM, BEGINNING 4/13/2015.
Link is usually posted within about 72 hours of show broadcast.
Welcome to Thinkwing Radio with Mike Honig (@ThinkwingRadio), a listener call-in show (every Monday night from 9-10PM CT) on KPFT-FM 90.1 (Houston). My engineer and discussion partner is Egberto Willies (@EgbertoWillies).
For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
GUESTS: (More complete biographical info on my guests are below Source links.)
Rene’ Lara, Legislative and Political Director of the Texas AFL-CIO, which is a federation of public-sector and private-sector labor unions in Texas, including affiliates representing teachers, firefighters, plumbers, flight attendants, steelworkers, nurses, communications and electrical workers, and many others.(See more complete bio below topical links)
Lane Lewis, Chair of the Harris County Democratic Party
POSSIBLE TOPICS: Unions and Labor Day, and the future of the labor movement in America
- “Without the labor advances won by #Unions, #Capitalism itself might not exist today.” ~ Me
- Let’s talk first about Labor Day. How was it created, and why is it in September instead of May Day, like the rest of the world’s equivalent labor celebrations?
- The Labor Union movement was strong after WW2. What happened to weaken it?
- Conservatives have succeeded in villainizing unions in the minds of many workers. How have they accomplished that?
- How can it be reversed?
- “We continually try to read Conservatives through Liberal-colored glasses. When we try to see things as Conservatives see them through their own eyes, understanding can arise. From that understanding can come effective Progressive responses.” ~ Michael R. Honig, 4/28/2015 (inspired by Jackson Galaxy)
- Is that a trick that progressives and labor groups need to try to learn, and can they?
- Is the political labor pendulum beginning to swing the other way now?
- Judging from the current political and legal climate, it almost seems like labor organizing needs to start over again.
- What will labor organizing look like as the 21st century progresses?
- Is Unionization Important to Closing Racial Wage Gap? Study Says, SEPT. 4, 2015
- The NY Times had an interesting article on workers’ committees (Workers Organize, but Don’t Unionize, to Get Protection Under Labor Law).
- I loved this quote: “We feel that the group’s tactics are over the top,” said Carol Wight, chief executive of the New Mexico Restaurant Association. “I think there are nicer, more effective ways of getting what you want — achieving justice for workers.”
- The article makes 2 important points:
- Unions, at least in New Mexico, have not shown much interest in organizing low-wage workers;
- “Workers Committees” are easier to organize than unions.
- What does this development mean for workers in the future?
- What does it mean for unions going forward?
- Unions need money to do their work, whether it’s paying full-time officials, forming strike funds or funding political action.
- Can unions survive in their current form, and if so, how?
- If unions have to change, what might those changes look like?
- Specifically, does the AFL-CIO and it’s brother and sister unions have new strategies going forward that we can discuss here tonight?
SOURCES WHICH MAY BE RELEVANT TO OTHER DISCUSSION:
- “NEAR CLOSING TIME ON MARCH 25, 1911, a fire broke out at the Triangle Shirt Waist Factory…”, http://trianglefire.ilr.cornell.edu/
- Tennessee Ernie Ford recorded a song about coal miners and the company store called “Sixteen Tons” (1955).
- IIT Chicago-Kent Site Search Results (Search Term: “Unions”)
- Illinois Labor History Society: “The United States has the bloodiest history of labor of any industrialized nation on Earth. It is a story rich in human drama and tragedy. It is also one of progress and hope. … “
- RECOGNITION OF LABOR UNIONS IN A COMPARATIVE CONTEXT: HAS THE UNITED KINGDOM ENTERED A NEW ERA?, by JARED S. GROSS (J.D. Candidate, The Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law, 2003; B.A., The Ohio State University, 1999. Thanks to Professor James J. Brudney for helping me formulate and develop this topic. This note is dedicated to Nicole Marie Crum—my best friend, confidant, colleague, and most importantly my bride.
- UNIONS IN A FRAGMENTED SOCIETY, by CHRISTOPHER GRANT (B.A., Carleton College, 1994; J.D., University of Illinois College of Law, 2001. I am very thankful to Professor Carlos Ball for his guidance, and to my colleagues at Schuchat, Cook & Werner for their support.)
- AFL–CIO – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- Texas AFL-CIO
- THE HISTORY OF LABOR DAY: Many competing versions of the story
- Labor Day, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- “… After the Haymarket Massacre in Chicago on May 4, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland feared that commemorating Labor Day on May 1 could become an opportunity to commemorate the ffair. Therefore, in 1887, the United States holiday was established in September to support the Labor Day that the Knights favored.”
- The History of Labor Day – U.S. Department of Labor: dol.gov/laborday/history.htm
- Labor Day Holidays – HISTORY.com
- Labor Day, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- What Is Labor Day Really About? (Commentary, Oct. 1, 2010) [AUDIO] Posted on October 2, 2010 by ThinkWingRadio
- Workers Organize, but Don’t Unionize, to Get Protection Under Labor Law, By STEVEN GREENHOUSE (SEPT. 6, 2015 ) NY TIMES
TONIGHT’S GUEST: René Lara is the Legislative & Political Director at the Texas AFL-CIO, which is a federation of public and private-sector labor unions in Texas, including affiliates representing teachers, firefighters, plumbers, flight attendants, steelworkers, nurses, communications and electrical workers, and many others.
René Lara grew up in El Paso and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, the LBJ School of Public Affairs and the UT School of Law.
René Lara began working as a legislative aide for Austin’s State Senator Gonzalo Barrientos in 1990. From 1995 to 2006, René represented the Texas Federation of Teachers, known now as the Texas AFT. René Lara has represented the AFL-CIO on the Board of Texans for a Secure Retirement (TSR), a coalition created to protect public employee pension systems. He also serves on the Board of the Workers Assistance Program.
René has lived in Texas all his life except for two years when Education Minnesota recruited him to lobby on behalf of its members at the Minnesota state capitol. He survived two Minnesota winters and then returned to Texas to work for the Texas AFL-CIO.
Rene Lara is the author of a little book titled 140 Capitol Tips, which has received excellent reviews from state legislators, capitol staff and other people working in politics.