One of the things that has grown during this recent thrust of anti-union legislation in numerous states is union solidarity. Especially prevalent between the increasingly besieged public-sector workers but also, and crucially, between public and private-sector workers (intended to be divided by the same anti-union bills and the accompanying rhetoric), protests supporting Wisconsin unions and workers have occurred nationwide. This one, on March 26 in Los Angeles, drew over 10,000 on what organizers dubbed “Solidarity Saturday.” It also drew support from public-sector workers from the ranks of police officers and fire fighters excluded from Wisconsin’s anti-union bill.
The political power that the radical, Tea Party infused right holds at the state level where these bills have spread portends problems in the immediate future for workers. However, the growing, and I would contend somewhat unexpected, solidarity and outrage over these same bills may well mean a worker-infused political backlash in the coming election cycles. How this plays out on a political landscape drastically changed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision empowering corporations with free speech rights to flood elections with cash and propaganda is a fundamental countervailing question to this scenario.