Maps to consider…

A few days ago, Josh Marshall over at TPM published a map of how various States treat collective bargaining for public employees’ unions:


There are some obvious patterns when one considers this map (including the Red State/Blue State memes of recent years).

Deeper pattens emerge when you look at a map of Free States and Slave States as of 1857 when the Dred Scott Decision opened all US Territories (and all Free States) to Slavery:

slavery in 1857

What thing becomes clear–as you consider the modern Republican Confederate Party’s effort to attack workers, Unions, the Middle Class and their rights–is that their focus is all about the theft of labor. Stealing the labor of folks is a sure fire way to get rich and it has been since, well, forever. Fighting efforts to protect people from the theft of their labor is what the modern so-called Conservative and/or Gliberterian movements are all about.

What made slavery so damn profitable was the theft of labor. It served two important purposes: 1) Free labor from your slaves, and 2) the labor you steal from your slaves helps to suppress the demand for higher wages from the labor of workers that you must pay.

Slavery offered an elite class multiple ways to cut cost and steal labor. This system of labor theft has experienced two great threats in the last 150 years. The first was the Civil War, which ended the above ground buying and selling of humans and the theft of their labor. This was a major victory in the long fight for justice, but it was not long before gains were pushed backed.

By the 1870s white supremacists had successfully used terrorism to retake political control of the former Confederacy. By the 1890s they had re-introduced slavery through a creative use of the prison system. Prisoners were leased, rented, contracted out and even sold to private individuals or corporations by State and local officials. Laws were changed and made it very easy to enslave any man, woman or child that could be caught in the new system. These laws went by many names, but collectively they were known as “Jim Crow Laws” and they were not restricted to just the South. By 1900, legalizing white supremacy through these laws had spread in some manner to every State in the Union (click links to find Jim Crow Laws in the South and Jim Crow Laws outside of the South).

The selling of convict labor and the open-ended “legal” systems created to fill the growing demand for stolen labor created an industry that lasted decades–despite regular moments of shock and outrage when this or that story of abuse bubbled up into the news of the day.

There were basically three ways that labor was stolen for private profit and corporate gain. Convicts could be supplied with materials and forced to do piece work for a private person/company by the State. Or the State could sign a contract with this or that person and/or corporation to have this or that convict work to complete this or that task–sometimes reporting back to the State prison and sometimes becoming the “property” of the contract holder (Smithonia Y’all). Worst of all were the arrangements to just lease (sell) convicts to private persons/corporations to do with that prisoner as they saw fit for the duration of their leases. This was no different than slavery and the most common way to get out of a lease was to die.

In 1900, a Congressionally required report  was issued by the Commission on Prison Labor. It showed the rise and spread of these new systems of slavery:

Rise of Neo-Slaver_Selling of Convict Labor in 1900

This system of boldly stealing the labor of convicts lasted into the 1930s (and versions of it still can be found in almost every State of the Union). It was FDR and the new Democrats of the New Deal who passed a series of laws that made the theft of labor more difficult and help workers to organize and collectively bargain for a fair and living wage. It work. A great middle class in America was created and for almost fifty years prosperity was shared.

The effort to push back against labor rights started almost immediately. By 1947 this movement was able to pass the Taft Hartley Act and open the door to new restrictions to the rights of workers. By the Reagan era in the 1980s, the movement to steal labor was repackaged and resold to the most gullible and cynical among us. Since then it has picked up a lot of steam. Laws to restrict the rights of workers have been given the very Orwellian name, “Right to Work” laws–as in in you have the right to work, but not the right to come together and ask for a fair deal. In a “Right to Work” State, a worker is on his or her own. The State will always fight against you. You are on your own sucker and you just have to deal with it. In a “Right to Unionize State” you have back-up, regardless of whether or not you work in a Union shop.

Below is a map of Right to Work States (in red) and Right to Unionize States (in blue).

Pro-Union vs Free Labor States

When all the States turn from Blue to Red, then the Middle Class in America will be gone. It will be over. The Government will be organized to promote and support the theft of Labor by the elites just as the government of the Confederate States of America was organized.

150 years ago we fought a Civil War over the question of the theft of labor. Now the Republican Confederate Party and their shock troops of TeaBagger simpletons seek a new battle over the theft of labor. I say we give it to them.


66 replies
  1. 1
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    If you want to get the stupid rednecks to support unions I propose that unions in the south be renamed confederates.

    You’ll have them lining up for miles. Yes, I think they are that stupid.

  2. 2
    TenguPhule says:

    So the worst states to live in are also the ones who ban collective bargaining.

    And they want us to join them down in the crab bucket.

    Fuck em. Fuck them hard with an IED in the fuselage.

  3. 3
    JenJen says:

    Cheers, Dennis G.


  4. 4
    Ana Gama says:

    Send this post to Sully. He says he needs to get educated on the labor movement and its history.

  5. 5
    Dennis G. says:

    I hear that, but then I imagine the let down of that first generation of freed slaves who realized in 1875 that it was going to be a much longer road to freedom. These folks never stopped fighting–even when it looked hopeless (which it did many, many times).

    I think we should be able to find the sand to do no less.


  6. 6
    Silver says:

    @Ana Gama:

    In order to make Sullivan give a fuck about a person who labors for a living, you’d have to make them all gay married visa-holding Brits with blogs instead of jobs.

  7. 7
    Yutsano says:

    @Dennis G.: One step at a time dengre. We have to get to the critical mass of people who recognize that yes indeed things need to change in this country or we are all indeed going to Hell in a handbasket. That requires leaders to stick their necks out and be Cassandras. We’ll get there I have every confidence. But we have a long road to go down first.

  8. 8
    Ana Gama says:


    And LGM pointed to a link that the states without collective bargaining for teachers also [surprise!] tend to havce the worst standardized test scores.

    Any chance you have that link handy? Would be much appreciated.

  9. 9
    TenguPhule says:

    We have to get to the critical mass of people who recognize that yes indeed things need to change in this country or we are all indeed going to Hell in a handbasket.

    Then we might as well stock on on the HE and detonators and start the list of GOP names. Because we’re never gonna get that in this lifetime. Too many people are fucking crabs in the bucket and would rather see everyone else suffer down to their level then do the right thing because it might help a black/brown/woman/other.

  10. 10
    Linkmeister says:

    @Ana Gama: It’s here, but there are some caveats, as I understand it. One, it’s from 1999. Two, many states require ACT but not SAT or the other way ’round, so it’s difficult to truly compare. In other words, it’s a difficult chart to defend. If you look at the main page of the site which produced it it’s pretty clear this wasn’t based on scientific research but rather done as one guy’s pet project.

  11. 11
    Ana Gama says:

    @Linkmeister: Thanks. And caveats noted.

  12. 12
    asiangrrlMN says:

    On point, as always, dengre. Which means, depressing as hell, as always, dengre.

  13. 13
    Dennis G. says:

    I’ve been reading Douglas Blackmon’s Slavery by Another Name and in the wake of the late career of NBF, it is damn depressing. The drive to steal labor is like water seeping through the cracks to destroy a buildings foundation. Some serious work is required.

    So it goes.

  14. 14
    Gustopher says:

    Is it time for a historical re-enactment of Sherman’s March yet?

  15. 15
    PanurgeATL says:


    I think most people realize that things need to change–they’ve known it for a very long time, decades even. The problem is that we can’t even agree on how things are.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    jl says:

    I heard interviews with the smaller (much smaller) teabagger demonstration in WI from yesterday. There was one fruitcake who compared his teanut rally to the demonstrations in Cairo, and rule of law, democracy, freedom, union thugs were commies, so time to order the state troopers to go bang their heads and clear the square. But he was the only total nincompoop I heard interviewed.

    I guess he did not get the memo that the state troopers are a little bit pissed at the liar Walker too.

    The other TeaPeoples interviewed seemed resentful and plaintive. One person said “I get less and less how come they should get more and more?”. And another “Average people been squeezed for 30 years, why should I pay my tax dollars when I don’t get anything?” Those are paraphrases, but that is the gist of the comments.

    Besides the nuthead, the rest were sad, resentful, bitter and utterly clueless about what was going on.

    Edit: By clueless, I mean the TeaNaughts did not seem to understand that everybody who cannot ‘provide’ for Walker will be on his list to r*tf*ck. This guy is the stuff Peron and populist demagogues are made of. A dangerous, rash, ruthless lying liar.

  18. 18
    Bill Murray says:

    @Ana Gama: You can also use the NAEP test ( to compare 4th and 8th graders. This and the labor rights data was given in a comment on the LGM thread here http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblo.....s#comments

  19. 19
    Sly says:

    Of the bottom ten states in household median income, seven are former members of the Confederacy. Only one former Confederate state, Virginia, is in the top ten, and that is mostly due to Federal largess. The other three are in the bottom half. Health and educational outcomes follow similar patterns.

    The sad truth is this: If the former Confederate states seceded again, living standards in the United States would increase across all appreciable metrics. Rational and moral human beings should see this as a problem that requires a negotiated solution, not a state of affairs that must be emulated across the nation.

  20. 20
    Yutsano says:


    The other TeaPeoples interviewed seemed resentful and plaintive

    Oh they’re good and angry. They’re not sure exactly what it is they have to be angry about other than they’re getting screwed while others aren’t, but oh are they angry! And they won’t be happy until everyone is at least equally screwed as they are, and by golly they’ll make sure that happens! It’s Communism in reverse, they just have no idea how much they’re being played because they’re choosing to feel instead of think. And yes this IS a choice.

  21. 21
    Sly says:

    Here’s a map of household median income by state. It’s using 2006 data, but the rankings have mostly remained the same.

    They say that one of the hallmarks of intelligence is the ability to detect patterns.

  22. 22
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Dennis G.: Damn. That looks like an amazing book that will drive me to despair if I read it. No, we cannot give up, but sometimes, this shit feels hopeless–especially when so many people vote against their best interest.

    @jl: TeaPeoples. I like that. It made me smile. I’m stealing it.

    @Yutsano: I agree. It IS a fucking choice, and it’s time for them to get a modicum of a clue. Just a modicum. That’s all I’m asking.

  23. 23
    Jim C. says:

    I live in Idaho. The definition of “Right to Work” state is vastly different here than the textbook definition given to me in college.

  24. 24
    dollared says:

    @jl: I beg to differ. He’s just another GWB. The only reason he has his own company is that his company was set up as a component supplier to his father-in-law’s company. He dropped out of college in his senior year. Underachiever, family money, crony capitalism, he has the Bush trifecta. And of course, with that background, he knows how to be the front man for the Real Power in the back room.

  25. 25
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Sly: According to your map, MN is doing all right. And, we have collective bargaining. I am so goddamn thankful that Tom Emmer was defeated, otherwise I might be joining the chorus of, “WTF is happening to my state?!” I mean, Pawlenty was bad, but Emmer would have been unthinkable.

    @Jim C.: So, how does it work there?

  26. 26
    Suzan says:

    The maps also look like those maps showing which states get more federal money than they pay in taxes. Except the biggest welfare state of all, Alaska.

    So, where unions were “protected” the states became richer. Where they stole labor, the states are poorer. Funny how that works.

    I want a do over on the Civil War. Let the traitors go.

  27. 27
    Shadow's Mom says:

    @Ana Gama: Further links indicate that the data are inconsistent. Politfact has run a check on it as half-true after an interview between Christiane Amanpour and Randy Weingarten.

  28. 28
    Platonicspoof says:

    150 years ago we fought a Civil War over the question of the theft of labor. Now the Republican Confederate Party and their shock troops of TeaBagger simpletons seek a new battle over the theft of labor. I say we give it to them.

    Via Credo Action,
    here’s an SEIU link for solidarity actions this week.

  29. 29
    rikyrah says:

    this was so awesome, you broke it down like a fraction.

  30. 30
    jl says:

    @efgoldman: People should call up their local stations and complain loud when you see BS on the TV, especially idiotic ‘human interest stories’ like these teachers (I can hear Chrissie Hynde belt it out in my head).

    Gwarsh golly, I bet there is are two brothers, SPLIT by the controversy too. I guess they will be next up. Along with two sisters, three cousins and five siblings.

    Anyway, call up the local station and tell them to report the news. Have a true fact to tell them they should have reported, and why.

    I been calling a lot lately because there are some jokers on the local news radio who keep saying Social Security is part of the impending existential budget crisis that will destroy life as we know it right away!

  31. 31
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @rikyrah: Math slam? Stealing it.

    @Platonicspoof: I’m going to the MN one, weather permitting. I hope lots of BJers make it to their local events.

  32. 32
    Yutsano says:

    @jl: Nice idea but ultimately useless. The media these days only cares for ratings, since ratings means profits. Stop watching them and tell them WHY you’re not watching anymore, and also inform them you will be telling as many people as you can not to watch. A sudden ratings drop might just get their attention.

  33. 33
    Ruckus says:

    The funny thing is that businesses fail to notice that treating your workers reasonably and paying them proper is much better long term even if next quarters reports look dim. The short term, zero sum thinking of most businesses, especially big business is killing business and therefore jobs. Which means fewer people purchasing products and service, which means less business overall. So you keep doing the short term whatever, making the quarter look reasonable until one day there’s nothing left. No customers, no sales and no profit. Unless of course you’re too big to fail in which case all bets are off. And this works the same for money, labor and politics. One has to get stinking rich or powerful because one knows that the house of cards will fall at some point as it always does, usually with some sort of violence. Pitchforks, pikes, guillotines, rusty chainsaws, etc.
    All it takes for people to rise up is the risk of being killed is not bigger than the risk of starving.

  34. 34
    jl says:

    @efgoldman: Oh dear. I guess no point to call.

    @Yutsano: But then you can’t call up to whine anymore. But, maybe you have a point.

  35. 35
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Ruckus: This article on how Costco became the anti-Wal-Mart is fascinating because the CEO of Costco had to push back against his market analysts who said Wall Street was mad at him because he was too good to his workers. I only read the first page before getting pissed, though (not at Costco, at the market analysts).

  36. 36

    Dennis, I’ve been thinking about the same thing over the past few days, but I’ve got to say that I think it’s mere coincidence.

    Where, yes, the antebellum North didn’t have slavery, it did have the company towns and/or the company housing & company store system that quite often kept industrial labor bound to the companies for which it worked. Further, it seems to me that pro-union sentiment evolved in the North, and grew to success at a much faster rate than it did in the South and that strip west of the Mississippi is because industry had roots firmly established in the North before the Civil War even began (due in no small part to to geographical considerations such as resources, waterways, etc…) and industrialized and urbanized at a much faster rate.

    THink of Marx’s work: He makes it clear that it’s the industrial workers who would throw off their chains, not the peasant farmers. And when you look at the history of the union movement in the US, you’ll see that the biggest battles were held around the mills, mines and docks of those northern cities and states where workers now have the rights to collective bargaining.

    All in all, I see this effort by the GOP to return us not to the plantation, but to Carnegie’s Pittsburgh and Henry Ford’s Detroit.

    One smaller nit to pick, too:

    These laws went by many names, but collectively they were known as “Jim Crow Laws” and they were not restricted to just the South. By 1900, legalizing white supremacy through these laws had spread in some manner to every State in the Union

    The sentiment, if not the laws, had been present and prevalent in the North in the antebellum. To paraphrase Ta-
    Nehisi, there were three sides in the Civil War:

    1).The pro-Union side- which included a pro-slavery element but still which allied itself with

    2). The abolitionist side, made up mostly of black people, but certainly not bereft of whites, and

    3).The pro-slavery, anti-union Confederates.

  37. 37

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again):

    To paraphrase Ta-Nehisi…

    At least I think it was TNC. It might have been Andy Hall, Cynic or one of the other commenters at TNC’s blog. But it definitely came up over there.

  38. 38
    asiangrrlMN says:

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): And, chances are, it was one of the three you mentioned.

  39. 39


    Yeah, Andy and Cynic know their shit, too. As does The Raven, who needs to be here for the football threads next season.

    BTW: TNC came through Grand Rapids this week, and I didn’t know he was going to be here until it was too late. I’m kicking myself for not paying closer attention to local doings. He spoke about a mile from my apartment, two short blocks from where I work.

  40. 40
    Caz says:

    Well, aside from the meaningless correlation you’re drawing here between public unions and slavery, check out a much more relevant correlation between public unions and deficits.

    I wonder how many of you will actually read this link. For those who do, notice the concrete facts in the article and undeniable connections it exposes.

    I doubt it will change any of your minds, but you should consider whether you have any legitimate arguments about why one should disregard the facts it presents, or why the connections is exposes are false. And if you can’t figure out why it’s wrong, perhaps that’s because it’s not.

  41. 41


    Public sector unionism is, of course, just one factor affecting a state’s fiscal and management results. But there is a statistical correlation across the 50 states on unionism and some public policy outcomes…

    Just one? Ya think? Seeing that most of those same states used to have the strongest private sector unions, that business left those states for non-union states or second and third world countries, and have still done little to improve either the standard of living or the governmental budgets in their new digs.,,

    ETA: Those cherries you picked are sour.

  42. 42
  43. 43
    Pat says:

    Bust the unions and we will all be making 5 bucks (maybe) an hour again. It’s as simple as that.

  44. 44
    El Cid says:

    Krugman has a really good line in today’s column on Wisconsin’s governor attempting to re-enact Rusk’s shooting of 8-hour workweek protesters crush public workers unions:

    …[Governor Walker] has made it clear that rather than bargaining with workers, he wants to end workers’ ability to bargain.

  45. 45
    Arclite says:

    Caz in comment 44 said,

    Well, aside from the meaningless correlation you’re drawing here between public unions and slavery, check out a much more relevant correlation between public unions and deficits.


    The data in that CATO report is highly selective, shows no causation, and ignores any potential positive results of collective bargaining. Let’s look at each line.

    1. Collective bargaining: True. VA banned it, WI has it.

    2. State debt as a share of income: Not correlated with collective bargaining. This time, Caz, it is YOU that needs to read the link. This is NOT State Employee Income, it is ALL income for all workers in the state. How is that affected by whether a small percentage of workers in a state (the state workers) have collective bargaining or not? The effect of state workers on the overall numbers is negligible and is largely irrelevant to debt as a share of income. So WHY might it be that state debt percentage is double for WI? Could it partly be that VA residents make a lot more income per capita so that the total debt is a smaller percentage? Lots and lots of rich DC workers live in VA, dontcha know.

    3. State unfunded pension obligations as a share of GDP: Not correlated with collective bargaining. See above, esp the part about all the higher salaries and DC wealth living in VA.

    4. Score on quality of state government management: Not correlated with collective bargaining. Again, gots to read the article linked to from the CATO report. VA has some very good systems in place, like a knowledge transfer system that WI doesn’t have. WI suffers from morale, turnover, and hiring freezes that VA doesn’t. So, of course ratings are going to be lower. Related to collective bargaining? Nope. It’s funny, there are four other states that prohibit collective bargaining: NC, SC, GA, and TX. Gee, I wonder how THEY fair in the Pew poll?
    **TX: Gvt Mgmt: B+; People: B; A bit better than WI
    **SC: Gvt Mgmt: B-; People: A-; Gvt Mgmt same as WI.
    **NC: Gvt Mgmt: B-; People: B; Pretty much the same as WI.
    **GA: Gvt Mgmt: B+; People: A-; Not too bad

    So, states that eliminate collective bargaining are rated slightly better than WI, hardly a statistical sample though. Any states that HAVE bargaining that are as good as VA?
    **UT: Gvt Mgmt: A-; People B+; Almost on par with VA. Allows bargaining.
    **WA: Gvt Mgmt: A-; People A-; Pretty much as good as VA. Requires bargaining.

    5. Score on Pew’s subcategory for “people” management: Not correlated with collective bargaining. See 4., above.

    There is one big difference between VA and WI: salaries. According to the census, VA has 106K full time state employees who make about $431m (which works out to $4024 or so each). WI has about 50K full time state employees who make $253m (about $4600 each). So, WI state workers make more on average. Related to collective bargaining? Salaries usually are. (Build the reports using this wizard).

    So Caz, in the future, be curious and analyze what the hacks over at CATO are saying. Think about what they might be leaving out in order to intentionally mislead. Much of what goes on over there is fitting data to an ideology, NOT analyzing data and reporting the conclusions the data resulted in.

  46. 46
    Arclite says:

    BTW, Dennis, it’s genius to show the correlation between the states that don’t support bargaining and the former slave states. Given the total sample size it’s statistically significant, and the two maps correlate almost exactly. Definitely not a coincidence.

    Max McGee in Comment 40 makes some good points, but I think that they only strengthen the argument, not undermine it. Working in a company town is not slavery. Workers got paid, and had self respect, even if they labored under some extreme conditions. That makes all the difference in the world. Remember the Ludlow massacre? Slaves would never do that, only free men would take that risk, knowing they had a fair chance at affecting the outcome. So perhaps McGee’s point is that Northerners tried as hard as Southerners to get rich off of stolen labor, but the northern workers would have none of it?

    As for Crow laws, they may have had them in the north, but they were neither as entrenched nor onerous as in the south.

  47. 47
    El Cid says:

    @Arclite: See here, there’s no cause to get all uppity and analyze the material at the link. All he said was to go read the link, and that he doubted it would change our minds. Why you got to make things so complicated?

  48. 48
    El Cid says:

    @Arclite: It’s not really a statistically significant correlation between the identity of former slave-holding states and states against collective bargaining — it’s a causal relationship.

    The latter grew out of public laws and the views and actions of state and local political leaders attacking any sort of collective worker action of any sort, as well as the constant division of white workers against blacks. And a million other ways too.

    And not so much directly from slave-holding, but as noted in the post, in the vast machine of race and worker terrorization constructed and implemented during the overthrow of Reconstruction and the violent suppressing of labor organizing in the rapidly industrializing South of the late 19th and early 20th century.

    And, hey, elites always had the option to teach uppity independence-minded negro businesses and would-be fairer business owners a lesson by sending in the local ‘police’ and/or goon squads to get them to knock their agitating off or destroy their businesses and homes.

    Dennis focuses on the particular weapon of forced prison labor — the very systematic re-implementation of slavery but removed from family & plantation ownership. Rent-a-slave, if you will.

    For decades another technique was the milltown and the family labor system. In the milltown you lived, worked, bought from, and even went to church at the company property. You were paid shit wages (yet significantly better and far less unpredictable than farming) and you still couldn’t afford to buy what you needed from the scrip you were paid to shop at the company store. To which you then went into debt, with no other choice, but then obligating you to even more labor at no increased pay to the company. (Hence, “I owe my soul…”)

    In the family labor system (famed study PDF here), the entire family would be employed as a unit, with pay (or credit) accordingly. It not only gave the opportunity to squeeze more out from parents and old enough kids, it got even more cohesion between former farm families and their new milltown benefactors. And from the parents’ perspective, the kids would have been working every day in farming or small trade anyway. This way kids could get on the path to having a job when they grew up. Your kids really didn’t have any other options. So, you know, don’t get fired, or you might not see any path for your children to survive.

    Kids grew up working in the mill. The company and its bosses were their family, up to a point. An utterly comprehensive employment system comprising all aspects of life and economic and social and cultural activity.

    Whether or not it was all peachy keen.

    Even though it was common for workers to earn so little that parents literally sacrificed daily caloric intake so that their kids could eat (the parents starving themselves), it was still better for survival and material conditions and potential advancement than attempting to scratch out an existence on the farm. Typically meaning a sharecropper at best.

    If you didn’t like it, you can go back and farm.

    It’s not as though governments in the North and Midwest and West weren’t willing to shoot lots of strikers; it’s that the entirety of the Southern politico-economic system was built around a mix of callous ignoring of fairness and suffering and a paranoiac system alert at any moment for any challenge to authority.

    Almost anywhere you looked in the South (and seeing its precedents for today), there was a system either repressing any significant and formal practice of collective bargaining by workers, or integrating employees into an environment in which such labor organizing and action was a completely alien notion.

    [And let’s not forget: large-scale organizing requires the ability to travel between and communicate to workers at different locations. The South wasn’t exactly admired for its mud roads and frequent transit between urban areas, much less routine visits to other mills and milltowns. That changed with the 1929 textile strike with ‘flying squads’, but this was after the ‘Good Roads’ campaigns which made a lot of main roadways into, you know, roads, instead of mudpits.]

  49. 49
    Arclite says:

    @El Cid: I blame the double margarita for my uppitiness.

  50. 50
    Arclite says:

    @El Cid: Wow, great comment, thanks.

  51. 51
    roshan says:

    Not sure why but this union-busting business stinks to high heaven. It almost has the feel of a trial balloon issue to take Obama down in ’12 elections. From the very beginning, talking points like “union thugs” “SEIU” “union bosses” have been stuck on to the Obama narrative by the right-wing media and think tanks. Wisconsin has the appropriate republican majority stake to push this union issue in limelight and methodically tack it on to the Obama presidency. There is literally no other issue that the republican presidential candidates have which can be used to beat Obama in ’12 except the economy. So it seems like the union-busting theme has quite conveniently propped up on to the national scene. The Koch Bros are thinking long term and their strategists are working overtime on this.

  52. 52
    bob h says:

    Restrictions on collective bargaining evidently correlate with poverty, poor education, incidence of diabetes and hypertension, and feral pig population.

  53. 53
    cleek says:


    states without collective bargaining for teachers also [surprise!] tend to havce the worst standardized test scores.

    Bottom 10 by SAT scores, 2009.

    40 Nevada 42%
    41 Indiana 63%
    42 Delaware 71%
    43 Pennsylvania 71%
    44 Florida 59%
    45 Texas 51%
    46 New York 85%
    47 Georgia 71%
    48 South Carolina 67%
    49 Hawaii 58%
    50 Maine 90%


    top 10:
    1 Iowa 3%
    2 Wisconsin 5%
    3 Minnesota 7%
    4 Missouri 5%
    5 Illinois 6%
    6 Michigan 5%
    7 South Dakota 3%
    8 Nebraska 4%
    9 North Dakota 3%
    10 Kansas 7%

    yay for the upper/mid-west!

    now guess what the percentage value represents…

    it’s the percentage of students participating.

    see a pattern ?

  54. 54

    Your phrase “theft of labor” was called “exploitation” in another place and another time. And yes, there have been several people exploited in the past, including serfs, medieval peasants, and slaves. We are still vulnerable to such theft, we wage laborers.

    Does that mean we should just give up and accept our lot? Oh, hell no.

  55. 55
    Bondo says:

    I will just note that the correlation between “right to work” status and state GDP per capita/wages/safety is pretty much fully washed out by controlling for educational attainment. I’m not sure that rule is doing the heavy lifting here.

  56. 56
    Jinx says:


    I have to think too that the lower wages paid in the South created downward pressure on wages paid in the North. Cheap wages, especially within one country, would have to drag the rest of that country down IMO.

  57. 57
    Dennis G. says:

    @Sly: Nice map. It was yet another I could have used. There are quite a few others.

    @Temporarily Max McGee (soon enough to be Andy K again): The three-sides frame is a good one for the Civil War and I’ll try to remember it. To discuss the expansion of Jim Crow laws a Century ago does not take away the fact that these kind of laws were being made everywhere before the Civil War and are still being made today. The anti-immigrant laws (like those in AZ) are current examples of the form.


  58. 58
    Gus says:

    @cleek: It appears that the upper Midwest students take the ACT.

  59. 59
    Dennis G. says:

    I know that facts would mean very little to you, but the reason that VA is able to be held up as an example of a successful “Right to Work” state is because most of the wealth of VA comes from the Federal Government. It is the only reason for the expansion in NOVA and the driver of the work in the Norfolk area. Take away all of the Union jobs from the Federal Government and VA is an economic failure just like the other States that rely on stolen labor.

    But the CATO fairy tale is a nice read.


  60. 60
    Jinx says:


    This is another fine piece to add to your many truly fine pieces. I always look forward to your postings.

    I’m including the following link because I think it further fleshes out our understanding of the Jim Crow era.

    Death Sentences Linked to History of Lynching in States

    I’ve come to believe that slavery, and the failure to come to honest terms with it by white America, is the cause of almost every ill we’ve faced, are facing, and will face as a nation.

    Again, thanks for your contribution.

  61. 61
    Dennis G. says:

    I had considered using this map of the use of the Electric Chair and going down the whole Lynch Law /Death Penalty road, but that is really a post for another day–one that looks at how the United States came to hold more prisoners than any other Nation.

  62. 62
    Jinx says:

    @Dennis G.:

    Yeah, I know it’s a little OT but I think it’s another puzzle piece. I know you are well aware of the continued fallout of the Confederacy but I like to share the little bits of info that I’m aware of to hopefully help others see the bigger picture. I certainly don’t want to dilute your concise and timely piece wrt the war on collective bargaining. It’s the important message now.

    Thanks for the links.


  63. 63
    N says:

    You forgot one: The theft of labor by outsourcing. It’s leverage against Americans demanding higher wages and in some cases real, true slavery. In the same way non-slave states still contributed to slavery by buying slave-made products (cotton shirts for example), we’re doing it today only these same products come to us shipped from overseas.

  64. 64
    Bill Murray says:

    @cleek: you do know there are more standardized tests than the SAT, and that the results hold pretty well regardless of test

  65. 65


    Working in a company town is not slavery. Workers got paid, and had self respect, even if they labored under some extreme conditions.

    Debt slavery. After rent and the account at the company store was taken from their pay, the workers would owe the company.

    That makes all the difference in the world. Remember the Ludlow massacre?

    Nat Turner’s Rebellion?

  66. 66

    @Dennis G.:

    To discuss the expansion of Jim Crow laws a Century ago does not take away the fact that these kind of laws were being made everywhere before the Civil War and are still being made today. The anti-immigrant laws (like those in AZ) are current examples of the form.

    Maybe we’re closer on this than I thought. From reading your OP, it seemed to me you were saying, as it seems you have in much of the body of your Confederacy-related posting, that the anti-labor sentiment spread from the former Confederacy.

Comments are closed.