America is living through the third economic revolution and our country doesn’t really have a plan on how to deal with it, and when it does – like the president sort of outlined when he first got here – we have a Congress who seem incapable of acting on it.
American workers won’t be able to compete fairly for jobs until companies have to pay higher wages in countries like China and India.
And I think we understand we cannot make social change for all workers until we have enough strength, membership strength, and at the same time having membership strength and only making change for a limited group of workers is not what our country really needs for people that work.
Employers need to recognize that the world has changed and there are people who would like to help them provide solution in ways that are new, modern and that add value to companies.
I was too much of a victim of the model I created. I tried Change to Win and helping Obama, and then I just ran out of Andy Stern ideas.
I would say that workers in general, and white workers particularly, are correct that their economic wellbeing is deteriorating.
I would say the issue for the labor movement in the United States is not structural… there is no correlation between the success of workers and how the labor movement is structured.
I’ll never run for office. But I intend, either on the fiscal commission or on issues like immigration, to hopefully have my voice be heard.
I’m not running from any particular problems, I just want to take some time and figure out in my life where I can keep doing what I’m doing but in a way that I can also honor what I want to do for myself.
In 1972, I signed a union card for SEIU. And for the last 38 years, 14 as president, it’s been my life. I’ve seen the most miraculous, spectacular things. But there’s a time to learn, a time to lead and a time to leave.
It has no enforceable standards to stop a union from conspiring with employers to keep another stronger union out or from negotiating contracts with lower pay and standards that members of another union have spent a lifetime establishing.
Manufacturing and other unskilled professions that were union jobs, that allowed people to live a middle-class life, are disappearing both because unions are disappearing and because of the global nature of the economy.
Republicans have been very successful. There are three things Americans don’t like: big unions, big government and big corporations. So Republicans go after big government and big unions, and only talk about small businesses.
The AFL-CIO is a structure that divides workers’ strength by allowing each union to organize in any industry, then bargain on its own, even when workers share a common employer.
The question is always ‘What is the role of a labor movement?’ How much is about collective bargaining, how much is about social change for all workers?
The union is much more than me, and when you think the union is you and it’s not about who you represent, I think you’ve sort of lost your morals and focus and the purpose of your leadership.
The union movement has been the best middle class job creating program that America has ever had, and it doesn’t cost the government a dime.
Unions should not be lapdogs to a political party, they should be watchdogs for their members’ interests.
When I left SEIU, we had started this quality public service agenda to say to our members what I think the United Auto Workers learned: that quality is our only job security in the long run.
Anger and hatred lead to fear; compassion and concern for others allow us to develop self-confidence, which breeds trust and friendship.Dalai Lama