Here’s a viewpoint you won’t hear when the usual suspects gather in our Right to Work state, with its negligible union workforce, to decry a modest labor arbitration reform that might help working men and women:
Cheap labor. Even more than race, it’s the thread that connects all of Southern history — from the antebellum South of John C. Calhoun and Jefferson Davis to Tennessee’s Bob Corker, Alabama’s Richard Shelby and the other anti-union Southerners in today’s U.S. Senate.
It’s at the epicenter of a sad class divide between a desperate, poorly educated workforce and a demagogic oligarchy, and it has been a demarcation line stronger than the Mason-Dixon in separating the region from the rest of the nation.
The recent spectacle of Corker, Shelby and Mitch McConnell of Kentucky leading the GOP attack on the proposed $14 billion loan to the domestic auto industry — with 11 other Southern senators marching dutifully behind — made it crystal clear. The heart of Southern conservatism is the preservation of a status quo that serves elite interests.
Expect these same senators and their colleagues in the U.S. House to wage a similar war in the coming months against the proposed Employee Free Choice Act authorizing so-called “card check” union elections nationwide. …