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Mon May 17, 2021, 08:11 AM

Eric Boehlert: Stop shaming workers

Stop shaming workers
The new economy
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago


Workers suddenly enjoy newfound clout in the emerging post-pandemic economy. With lots of employers desperate to fill a stockpile of new positions as retail outlets spring back to life in a vaccinated America, a short-term worker shortage has emerged. Republicans and their business community friends are furious, blaming a lazy workforce, and the press is helping their cause by shining a spotlight on employer complaints, while paying far less attention to employee priorities.

snip//

Writing in the Washington Post, Megan McArdle announced unequivocally that the $300 stimulus checks were “holding back the economic recovery,” by giving people a strong disincentive to work. McArdle’s proof? “Anecdotally,” she was sure it was true.

Over and over that pro-business talking point has been echoed in local news coverage, as well. When WKNB in Youngstown, Ohio, reported on the Republican governor cutting off employment benefits, only business owners who supported the move were quoted, no workers. Same with a local report from the Albany Times Union in New York, which quoted a restaurant manager blaming the worker shortage on the government for “giving them all the money to stay home.” No workers were interviewed.

That GOP narrative misses an important story unfolding as America emerges from the pandemic: Long-held assumptions about how we live are being scrambled.

For instance, as more schools nationwide reopen, millions of schoolchildren are opting not to return to in-person learning, just like millions of Americans, for now, are currently choosing not to return to the workforce. If the claim is that workers are staying home because the government is paying them in $300 weekly checks, what’s the reason students are staying home, since there’s no federal financial incentive to do so?

Answer: Priorities and lifestyles changed during the pandemic.

The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Will Bunch recently nailed it in a column:

A year of lockdown has scrambled our ways of thinking about the workplace and where our paycheck fits into the broader meaning of life, our concept of what a job is worth, and — and here’s where things get really interesting — who hold the upper hand? For the first time in decades, American workers are wondering ... who’s the boss?


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https://pressrun.media/p/stop-shaming-workers

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 08:22 AM

1. I wholeheartedly agree

We only ever hear one side from the media on this issue.

But .... couldn’t they have gotten my local news’ call letters right? It’s WKBN ... not WKNB.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 09:47 AM

2. I find former union workers that went on

strike to get pay raises and benefits to be
some of the worse to complain that people don't
want to work.
I have heard unions were too sucsesful, they made Democrats into Republicans.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #2)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:22 AM

4. Absolute nonsense.

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Response to orangecrush (Reply #4)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:25 AM

5. Oh really? I worked in a union shop for 42 years. I

am not talking about the unions themselves I am talking about people that are retired or used to have union jobs.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #5)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:33 AM

6. Unions built the middle class in this country


Union workers vote Democratic, by a vast majority.

The weakening of unions has been a goal that corporations have poured enough money into to probably provide a living wage to a generation of workers.

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Response to orangecrush (Reply #6)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:48 AM

8. Like I said I worked 42 years in union shops. I am

not saying all union workers think that way. But hear it everyday from x union workers about people not wanting to work anymore. In my experience a good many former union workers now vote Republican example the rust belt.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #8)

Mon May 17, 2021, 12:57 PM

10. I get your point.



And yes, there are always exceptions.

Former USWA here.

Reagan sure had them bullshittted.

Until he lifted tariffs on Japanese steel and closed all the mills down.

It was an organized attack, and is still going on.

It's time working people wised up.

Kissing butt will not save you.

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Response to orangecrush (Reply #10)

Mon May 17, 2021, 03:48 PM

14. I was in the USWA myself it seems like everyone

sold us out government the union from Reagan on. I remember when Clinton and Al Gore sat in front of the workers in Weirton WV and said he would stop illeagal dumping of steel back in 1992. Then after getting elected forgot about us. GWB put tariffs on imports then the next day exemped about everything from tariffs. We went on strike for 10 1/2 months then the union signed for exactly what we was offered before we went out.
That is the feeling among most former USWA workers I know and many vote Republican now. That is why we have trouble in the rust belt today

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Response to doc03 (Reply #14)

Mon May 17, 2021, 05:55 PM

16. I came in right before USWA



Gave the "two tier" concession.

I worked with toxic chemicals in the metal finishing plant, cyanide, chromic acid, etc., and since I wasn't pouring steel, had my wages cut in half.

The autoworkers fell for this bullshit later.

Divide and conquer.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #8)

Tue May 18, 2021, 04:06 AM

17. Worked in a Union Shop for 43 years

And while there are some as you describe I never found it to be anything beyond a noisy minority.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #2)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:43 AM

7. The union membership was just as likely to be brainwashed by Fox News and RW media

as everyone else. The media is run by the advertisers who use their leverage to kill stories or direct the narrative. Until and unless we address the propaganda problem in this country, our democracy will continue to spiral down.

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Response to doc03 (Reply #2)

Mon May 17, 2021, 11:09 AM

9. I'm an old guy too. My sense is that boomers like us are some of the worst complainers about

work ethic among the younger today, union or otherwise. Frankly, I don't quite get it.

Young people are a product, albeit not exact reflection, of what they saw and heard daily at the kitchen table. Their perspective on "work" wasn't formed in a vacuum. Sure, there's a general sense of entitlement that we inadvertantly or, in some cases, purposely instilled in our young, but the younger generations' perspective on "work" is not all bad or even mostly bad. They have a desire to get remunerated at a respectful level, one that affords them some modicum of comfort and stability, and be treated respectfully and with appreciation by their employers. I have found that younger generations have a fine work ethic when and where those work conditions exist. Those are the conditions that we, our parents, taught them to desire by way of our daily interactions in the home.

Frankly, I applaud our younger generations for demanding better. I am also 100% in favor of providing unemployment benefits at a level that forces employers to pay and appreciate their workforce more. That's capitalism in its essence and at its finest -- it creates real competition for labor, not the choke-hold on labor that corporations achieved by influencing economic/labor policy. Sure, inflation will be a consequence; but it's a well-worth-it bargain for our nation social well-being and stability-wise in my view -- especially if it's paid for by taxing wealth that has been accumulated by the relative few at the expense of workers these past 45 years.

The Civil Rights Act and Reagan's vilification of government are what made some Ds into Rs. Reagan also vilified unions. The truth is very simple: Unions are no worse than companies and corporations. If one is acceptable, so is the other. It's that simple.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 10:00 AM

3. Not that most people with office jobs are still working from home as well.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 02:06 PM

11. K&R

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 02:12 PM

12. Kicked and recommended

Thanks for the thread babylonsister.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 03:23 PM

13. K&R for visibility.

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Response to babylonsister (Original post)

Mon May 17, 2021, 03:53 PM

15. The lowest paying jobs can only be done on-site, hands-on...

More attention needs to be paid to them. In a sense, employers are noticing, because of the difficulty of getting them to come back for 1/2 federal minimum wage, i.e. $7.25/hour. There’s your “strike,” and the GOP governors’ response is to cut off benefits and turn away federal money.

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