>>> Doug Henwood <dhenwood at panix.com> 02/26/99 11:27AM >>>
A couple of items from today's papers suggest that all those folks looking to a crash to revive the fortunes of the working class may be missing the charms of a strong economy. First, the SEIU has succeeded in organizing home health care workers in California, archetypes of the low-wage side of the "new economy." And second, Saturn workers have voted out the old cooperative leadership and replaced them with old-fashioned (as corporate journalists like to characterize them) confrontational leaders. Cooperation - "jointness" - was born of fear; fear of insolvency on auto management's part, and fear of job loss on labor's. It's resulted in lots of overwork, with all the flexibility and concessions coming from labor's side. But several years of a sub-5% unemployment rate have calmed those fears, and the Saturn workers are obviously feeling bolder. And with the home health care workers, there can be little doubt that a low unemployment rate has partly dispelled their fears of signing a union card. I'll bet Alan Greenspan is not looking kindly on these developments.