Employment Rights,  Stateside,  Trade Unions

Unite and fight

One of the lessons that liberals need to learn from the recent election is the severe limitations of “identity politics” based on race, ethnicity and gender.

Packinghouse workers in Chicago got it right in the 1930s:

Nic Smith, a self-described “white trash hillbilly from the holler” in far southwest Virginia’s coal country, gets it right today about what struggling black, white and Hispanic workers have in common and how they need to join together to fight for (among other things) a major increase in the minimum wage.

And he has some choice words for liberals who make assumptions about the concerns of working-class whites in places like Appalachia.

When asked a year ago about increasing the federal minimum wage from the current poverty-level $7.25 an hour, Donald Trump said wages are already “too high.”

Nic Smith is from Dickenson County, Virginia, which Trump carried last month with more than 76 percent of the vote.

But– and this is worth noting– a corporate-backed effort by the Republican majority in the state legislature to enshrine Virginia’s anti-union “right to work” law in the constitution was overwhelmingly defeated in the same county and elsewhere in southwest Virginia.