I grew up skeptical. I was wrong.
I used to think unions were obsolete, inefficient and (maybe) corrupt. Around 2010 I realized that our country is on the wrong track … and the way to fix it is for working people to work together. Wait a minute! I realized. That’s what unions do. So I joined the team.
My work for labor unions doesn’t appear under my own name so I tend to disappear. Nonetheless:
I started with strategic research at SEIU (Service Employees International Union, “Justice for Janitors”). I had the privilege and opportunity to work on:
- Real Values for Texas: Changing the rules for property tax assessments so large commercial property owners pay their fair share (like homeowners do).
- Moving Oregon Forwards: Showing how to balance the state budget in tight times – with reasonable cuts, new efficiencies, and untapped revenues.
- New Solutions Michigan: Showing how to balance the state budget in tight times – with reasonable cuts, new efficiencies, and untapped revenues.
- Pitfalls and Promises: Critical report about potential prison privatization in Michigan, part of a multidimensional campaign.
- New Hampshire Prison Watch: Stopping an effort to privatize prisons in New Hampshire — and crossing back to old issues and old friends.
I summarized my work in Michigan and Oregon like this:
- Public Employees Offer Solutions. Examples. “Enough with blaming public employees for all of America’s problems. Last week public employees in Oregon marched on the state Capitol with a billion dollars worth of recommendations.”
National Education Association
In recent years I’ve been working at the NEA. More is in the section on Education.
Roughly 2006-2010, I was Research Director of this major progressive think tank in DC. Lots of my good stuff is no longer available on line (internal reorganization, including the web page), but this gives the general idea. These years are where and how I changed my view on unions.
The New Economy: Where we’re going; how we’ll get there.
We can’t go back to the old economy, a high-consumption, low-wage economy based on asset bubbles and foreign borrowing. We need to look ahead.
Safe Toys, Edible Food, Smart Globalization: Finding the balance between domestic production and international trade.
Madoff: Fall Guy or First of Many?
Bernard Madoff has been sentenced to 150 years in prison for one of the biggest investment frauds in Wall Street history. But there is no closure here. We can’t let Madoff’s sentence distract us from the underlying problems. This isn’t just about Madoff. This is about the system in which Madoff’s scam took place.