portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting united states

economic justice | labor

Union for professionals and white collar employees

I have long thought that all workers in Portland should unite. Seems there is a new group, founded by Barbara Ehrenreich, for just that purpose.
I haven't had employer provided health insurance in almost 10 years. Most of the jobs I get are with smaller, locally-owned businesses that are undercapitalized and struggle to provide health insurance due to the skyrocketing costs of providing this benefit. I've often wondered what would happen if all of us, including professionals, banned together and said "We won't work unless health insurance is provided with the job." (Or the better option - the government provides it to everyone regardless of employment).

I just learned about a new group today call United Professionals, founded by Barbara Ehrenreich. Their mission is "... to protect and preserve the American middle class, now under attack from so many directions, from downsizing and outsourcing to the steady erosion of health and pension benefits. We believe that education, skills and experience should be rewarded with appropriate jobs, livable incomes, benefits and social supports."

Membership is just .10 per day. I am going to join. I hope others will consider it as well and that maybe we consider creating a Portland local.

You can check out the website at www.UnitedProfessionals.org
"frightened liberals" 24.Sep.2006 18:01

political orphan

like Ehrenreich dissppointed me greatly in 04. she earns a good living diffusing and controlling dissent; she will criticize the democrats, but as election time approaches,she will directly or covertly steer voters back into the democratic party. and if she really upsets her bosses, those book deals, ny times op eds & other goodies will disappear overnight.

lets fact it, the plight of workers will not change until big business and its enforcers, the democrtic and republician parties, are reigned in.

IWW 24.Sep.2006 20:07

Verdant

Why settle around a leader? Take power back for yourselves and form up with the Wobblies.

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Workers_of_the_World

 http://www.iww.org/

or go for what's behind door number three 24.Sep.2006 20:29

...

Generations have been waiting for the Wobblies to become something different from what they are now. It's not going to happen. The IWW has too much baggage. A hundred years of "tradition" is impervious to improvement. Contrary to claims by its well-meaning organizers, it has not enjoyed a "recent resurgence" -- they've been saying that at least since the early '90s, and there's little historical evidence that anything has changed much in the group since 1970, despite the coming and going of local branches.

Not that I expect great things from Ehrenreich's odd little professional association.

It's like trying to have a labor movement without having ... class consciousness.

Here's a clue: If you need a union, you're not "middle class." Get over it and do something with the other people in your actual demographic, which is called something else. You don't need Ehrenreich or the Wobblies. Surprise us with something better.

Worker-owned enterprises... 24.Sep.2006 21:18

Pravda or Consequences

Anarchy as defined ("a theory that regards the absence of all direct or coercive government as a political ideal and that proposes the cooperative and voluntary association of individuals and groups as the principal mode of organized society" - Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Random House, Inc. 2006.) is better achieved if workers are responsible for their destiny.

There are plenty of market niches and/or foundations to fund humanitarian goods and services.

union is about 26.Sep.2006 12:57

union organizer

A union is about self-interest. In the sense that no organization can hold together with any strength or longevity unless the members are united by a sense of their lives being on the line somehow.

Union members classically share a common self interest in preserving and improving their jobs and working conditions.

I think its always a good idea to support new groups on the grounds that you never know which one help push movement efforts forward, but this organizaiton sounds more like a solidarity organization like jobs with justice.

Helping professionals identify how their own self interest/employment is directly impacted by the success of middle and working class people would be more of a union.