Friday, September 22, 2006


White Collar Workers Of The World Unite!

The Nation weighs in on Barbara Ehrenreich's new white collar union, United Professionals. The response is unequivocally positive - which, I guess, means that even the radical left now accepts the American middle class as downtrodden workers. It is sad that it has come to this, but perhaps being down and out can garner us allies.

They quote Jared Bernstein, a fellow at the Economic Policy Institute and a United Professionals board member. "The rap among policy elites is that once you're college educated your problems are over," he says. "You are now officially insulated from any of the pressures of the global economy, the health care problem, job insecurity. Unfortunately, that's wrong, and white collar workers recognize that these challenges no longer only befall those in the factory sector, who've been getting whacked by globalization for years". That is important news for the folks at The Nation, who may be relieved to learn that the white collar middle class has finally been disabused of its snooty illusions of superiority.

The Nation agrees that a white collar union of some kind - preferably a creative mutation of the old union model that introduces many new features without incorporating the shortcomings of the original - is necessary. According to polls, more than half of white collar workers believe they would benefit from an organization that can effectively perform collective bargaining on their behalf. They quote Bernstein again: "While white collar workers may not have a union orientation, many recognize that forces such as global offshoring have diminished their bargaining clout".

Everyone seems to agree that universal health insurance is the place to start. As a man on COBRA waiting to get struck in the face by The Snake of Fate, I heartily agree.

"United Professionals, Unite!" from The Nation

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