Whose Side Are You On, Reagan Or Labor?

FYI: The headline of this article is a trick question.

In the long-running debate over government spending, Republicans have repeatedly brought up unrelated issues connected to worker’s rights and collective bargaining. GOP governors across the nation are attempting to use the economic crisis to break unions and rollback the gains that working Americans have achieved over decades of organizing with massive popular support.

However, these regressive politicians who are doing the bidding of their wealthy, corporate benefactors, have a stark disagreement with one of their professed heroes:

Let me repeat that:

“Where free unions and collective bargaining are forbidden, freedom is lost.”

That’s right. None other than the sainted Ronald Reagan recognized how valuable unions are to America. This comment is more than a passive bit of pandering to working class constituents. It is an unambiguous affirmation that unions are not just a tangential group of negotiators for farmers or factory workers, but a vital institution that is a necessary component of freedom.

This should not come as too much of a surprise when considering that Reagan was the first, and only, union president (Screen Actors Guild) who ever ascended to the presidency of the United States.

Nevertheless, GOP governors have been bad-mouthing unions and their members for months (years, really). They refer to them as thugs and conjure up Mafioso imagery. They have embarked on a coordinated campaign to smear and discredit the very organizations that are standing up for our nations citizens and families, most of whom are working people, not wealthy hedge fund managers. It’s dishonest and dangerous and intended to harm average Americans.

Speaking of dangerous, the GOP governors who are mounting these attacks are represented by the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA). That’s the organization that Rupert Murdoch gave a million dollars to last year. Well, I would stay away from their web site. Norton Internet Security, a leading Internet software company that monitors web safety, reports that the RGA.org is “Unsafe” with six live computer threats.

Republican Governor's Association

The irony is delicious. The Republican governors web site is unsafe, a threat even, just as are the policies of their members.

[Update} This morning the RGA’s site status by Norton changed to “Untested.” That’s still not particularly comforting. However, it is also not nearly as accurate. The GOP’s policies have been tested and they do not work. We’ve had Bush’s tax cuts for the rich (I mean “job creators”) in place for ten years. Where are the jobs?


4 thoughts on “Whose Side Are You On, Reagan Or Labor?

  1. Wasn’t Reagan still a Democrat when he said that about unions? The man did do quite an about-face when it came to his politics, under the influence of Nancy Davis’ father, the ironically-named “Loyal.”

    • It was 1980, so he’d been a Repub for decades by then.

      He still had some serious flaws, of course. And he fired all the air traffic controllers as president when they went on strike. But they were a public sector union, which he opposed.

  2. I like the fact that Reagan said that about unions but it was merely political pandering. September 1, 1980 he was in the middle of the Presidintial campaign for POTUS, which unfortuneatley for all americans he won. When he took office in January 1981 the first thing he did was fire all the air traffic controllers, which made the flying public less safe, to make a political statement. The statement he was making-I am a union buster. Reagan was not a friend to unions. He saw them, in political terms, as his foes. I understand why Reagan is used in these debates to shore up the pro union side of the argument, but Eisenhower also had some very pro union things he said that are in the public record and did not set out to weaken or end their collective bargaining rights(that I am aware of?). Having said all that it is good to know Reagan did say that (I was not aware of it) but I wouldn’t want anyone thinking Reagan was a friend of unions, he was not and he was not a good POTUS. If you look at the policies of his administration and what he did in office,I think, he is greatly responsible for the mess we are in today. Unfortuneately, Reagan as right-wing as I think he was, looks like a liberal compared to the teapublican party of today.

    • Yes, he sure did bring down the unions. It was the beginning and end of america as we knew it. Reagan was a losy president. He left his time with a big debt. Of course republicans forget that.

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