Stewart Acuff

Feb 5

NYT Declares Need for “Forceful Labor Agenda”

This morning’s New York Times lead editorial is an endorsement of the policies we have been advocating in this space since the Wall St. meltdown and Great Recession.

This editorial is a condensed version of the arguments economist Dr. Richard Levins and I made in our book Getting America Back to Work. It reminds us that  Getting America Back to Work remains a very important guide to our ongoing crisis and its antidote.

According to the Times: “What has been missing for years is a forceful labor agenda — one that calls for more jobs, but also has as its goal rising wages coupled with robust hiring.”

We couldn’t agree more.

The Times agenda for achieving that couldn’t be closer to our agenda for a healthy America, economy, and American people:

“Mr. Obama failed to keep a campaign promise from 2008 to advance legislation to make it easier for workers to unionize and made scant use of the bully pulpit as unions have come under prominent attack in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan.”

This from the Times is an explicit endorsement of the Employee Free Choice Act which we conceived, drafted, and ran the campaign for.

One of the arguments the Times uses: “Unless Mr. Obama can shift policy away from premature austerity and toward ways to bolster demand and foster investment, job growth will remain sluggish and unemployment high.”

The New York Times in this same editorial today advocates:

– A higher minimum wage

– “…placing his next labor secretary at the center of his economic team. ”

– Union membership and collective bargaining increase wages

– Legalizing undocumented wages and labor reforms.

We could not have asked for a better endorsement of those issues which are so critical to our country, our economy, and our people.

By the way, I just had my second poem accepted by Blue Collar Review, a journal of working class poetry. The poem is called All of Us and is about Scott Brown’s ridicule of Elizabeth Warren’s American Indian heritage.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.

Playing Bigger Than You Are - A Life in OrganizingGet the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

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