My Latest Magnificent Seven article is up at DaTechGuy: A Primer on the Left In NC (IV)
Last week we looked at Moral Monday in North Carolina and how it’s now spreading to neighboring states. I mentioned that was not a bug but a feature. In this installment, we’ll look at the union ties to Moral Monday, a quick look at a movement I’ve dubbed Occupy 2.0 and how the AFL-CIO’s “Organize the South or Die” campaign all figure into the mix.
We’re going to start with this little label I’ve started for the coordinated Fast Food strikes we’ve seen happening in various cities around the country.
I’ve called this movement Occupy 2.0 since it seems to be just a rebranding of the original Occupy. In fact, I think I state as much in the first article I did about Occupy 2.0 where I dissected the group behind the first strikes in New York. That group was NY Communities for Change (NYCC) and I wrote about it here in McRaging In NY. Through a little digging I managed to track NYCC back to ACORN and tie it to Occupy Wall Street.
All of these groups are backed by unions. You might recognize shiny storefront groups like Fight for 15, Action Now, Raise Up, Low Pay is Not OK and Living Wage. Dig even a little, you’ll find the connection. Raise Up and Low Pay Is Not OK seem to be connected. I go into detail about these two in my article Occupy 2.0: Fast Food Worker Protest In Charlotte, Durham. What I do know is the Raise Up, at least in NC, is Moral Monday:
— Raise Up For 15 (@RaiseUpfor15) December 18, 2013
- Raise Up is the NC AFL-CIO & Moral Monday tied.
- Low Pay Is Not Ok is out of NYC. Low Pay is Not OK is tied to The Other 98%, which is the “infrastructure partner” of US Uncut.
- US Uncut is run by Carl Gibson, the professional arrestee/agitator arrested at Moral Monday in NC and also at the ALEC Moral Monday Coalition protest in Chicago.
Does your head hurt yet trying to follow this web? Well, take an aspirin because it’s not over yet.
Another strong player in these fast food protests here in NC is FLOC – Farm Labor Organizing Committee. They’re basically an arm of the NC AFL-CIO. There’s also Triangle Jobs With Justice. It’s led by Adam Sotak – Moral Monday arrestee, Democracy NC’s organizing director and on the board of the “NC Vote Defenders”. Also at Triangle Jobs with Justice is Nick Wood, who is the organizer for FLOC.
By the way, Moral Monday’s Defacto Leader was at one of the Fast Food Strikes… along with one of the NC Vote Defenders who posted this photo on their Facebook page:
Union Involvement In Moral Monday
What’s a protest without your union help? About 50 people on a sidewalk. That’s what Moral Monday was – A handful of folks not getting much media attention even if they do get arrested. You need a bigger crowd if you want to get noticed. Well, a bigger crowd is what happened Reverend Barber called in his SEIU friends from NY.
The crowd was astroturfed; a source on the ground that day reported to me they witnessed three buses with NY and NJ license plates unloading around the corner from the North Carolina General Assembly at the June 3rd event.
Two prominent members of from the SEIU were arrested at a Moral Monday protest on June 3rd – Estela Vasquez and George Gresham. You can look them both up in the Civitas Moral Monday database.
For a full accounting of the SEIU in NC prior to the Fast Food strikes breaking out both in NC and other states, read an article I did back in June of 2013. That article also covers how the AFL-CIO astroturfed one of the other larger Moral Monday events in Asheville. Excerpt:
On June 24th’s Moral Monday, the AFL-CIO made sure anyone who wanted to get there had a bus to hop on as well. Note that the President of the NC AFL-CIO, James Andrews, was voluntarily arrested on June 24th. About 1,200 showed up for that according to police, not 3,000 or the 8,000 the NAACP was claiming. Math is hard. Note: AFL-CIO is backing Kay Hagan; main reason is Immigration. Remember, Unions see illegal immigrants as pumping new blood into their ranks. Also, with union support like this, look for the ‘Moral Mondays’ theme to go national.
Moral Mondays in North Carolina spawned Truth and Justice Tuesdays in Alabama. When the Georgia legislature returns to session soon, a new Moral Monday protest will greet lawmakers there. Activists from a dozen states recently met in Raleigh with the founders of the Monday protests launched in response to Republican reforms in education and social services. One participant told The Associated Press that, “A lot of us are looking at it as a Southern strategy, the kind of Southern strategy that hasn’t existed in many decades.” – FayObserver.com (1/1/14)
Southern Strategy? You mean like forming a new party like the State’s Rights Democratic Party a.k.a the Dixiecrats?
Organize the South Or Die
That’s really what the campaign is called – “Organize the South Or Die“. The NC AFL-CIO makes no bones about hiding the fact they want to take over the South. It bears noting, before moving on, that unions are scarce to none in the South. A lot of right to work states down here. Union memberships are dropping. The South is gaining in population steadily. I suspect that infusing their numbers the true motivation behind the union involvement in Moral Mondays. MaryBe MacMillan verifies this notion; emphasis is mine:
For decades, southern states have been “right to work for less” and have limited or denied their public employees the right to collectively bargain. Given the region’s culture and laws, unions have not invested heavily in organizing the region. And so, it’s no surprise that voters in the South keep electing state and federal officials who vote time and again against workers’ interests.
The anti-worker culture of the South has an impact far beyond the Mason-Dixon line. Southern Tea Party conservatives block progressive policies in Congress. Companies are increasingly moving to the South in order to lower labor costs and avoid union contracts. And more states are adopting the union-busting laws that originated in the South and now form the basis for ALEC model bills.
What happens in the South affects the nation, and the region’s influence will only grow as the South gains in both population and political representation. So what does that mean for the labor movement and for workers? Is our future one of greater worker exploitation, continued decline in union membership and increasingly hostile laws?
One of the major flaws of her argument is in the first emphasized sentence — especially in North Carolina. We were under Democrat control for nearly 150 years. Only recently has the Republican party taken control. Granted, North Carolina Democrats in the past were more center leaning but those centrists are long gone. Replacing them are increasingly far left leaning ones.
The AFL-CIO is leading the charge and even adopted an official resolution at their convention. The final statements of which announce their intent to assault the South:
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Twenty- Seventh (27th) Convention of the AFL-CIO adopts as one of its top priorities a Southern Strategy that will include a long-term commitment to organize the South; and BE IT FURTHER
RESOLVED: That the AFL-CIO strongly impress upon every one of its affiliates to adopt the same long-term commitment necessary to sustain a strong and viable workers’ movement in the Southern Region of the United States.
The NC AFL-CIO is already putting it into action, with a panel set up for January 29th at Duke University. It’s unclear who will be attending or speaking. If you want to see all of the groups involved in “Organize the South Or Die”, you have no further than to browse the hashtag #OrganizeTheSouth on Twitter. And we have now come full circle:
— Raise Up For 15 (@RaiseUpfor15) January 7, 2014