It is ugly individualism that underlies the political ideology of the rich industrialists who are spending billions in an effort to shred Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and who are attempting to stop the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Unions are an impediment to their grand scheme, so they're coming after us with a vengeance.
The nine justices of the SCOTUS are now in recess, leaving the rest of us the summer in which to reflect upon and digest their latest set of rulings. Because it is likely that both judgments will have long-term adverse consequences for progressive causes, a moment of reflection on that second judgment is well in order.
Women just scored a significant victory in the U.S. Supreme Court. In Harris v. Quinn, decided just last month, the Supreme Court declared that childcare providers and personal care aids (PCAs attend to hygiene, housekeeping, and meal preparation for the elderly and infirm) are not required to unionize.
These three decisions, taken together, are an assault on the rights, health, and economic well-being of women in every corner of this country. But they are also a challenge to President Obama, to Congress, to the political system, and to the American people to take the action necessary to undo the damage.
The ability for ordinary working people to organize and collectively bargain over their wages and working conditions is a fundamental human right. It is a right just as critical to a democratic society as the right to free speech and the right to vote. Over the last 30 years many in corporate America and the big Wall Street banks have conducted a sustained attack on that human right. Unionization dropped from 20.1 percent of the workforce in 1983 to 11. 3 percent in 2013 -- and the results are there for everyone to see. The simple fact is that absent government regulation and collective bargaining agreements, the market by itself does not assure that everyone shares in the fruits of society's increased economic productivity. In fact, we know that just the opposite is true.
The right has been focusing its attacks on public sector workers, one-fourth of whom are represented by unions with collective-bargaining rights. It has aimed to weaken bargaining rights in Midwestern states with long histories of union representation and has had (too) much success. This week, it brought that fight to the Supreme Court.