They say things like unionized employees make too much money, have too many benefits, shouldn't have work protections, etc.
The Times covers the barrage of attacks on unions today:
Faced with growing budget deficits and restive taxpayers, elected officials from Maine to Alabama, Ohio to Arizona, are pushing new legislation to limit the power of labor unions, particularly those representing government workers, in collective bargaining and politics.
State officials from both parties are wrestling with ways to curb the salaries and pensions of government employees, which typically make up a significant percentage of state budgets. On Wednesday, for example, New York’s new Democratic governor, Andrew M. Cuomo, is expected to call for a one-year salary freeze for state workers, a move that would save $200 million to $400 million and challenge labor’s traditional clout in Albany.
But in some cases — mostly in states with Republican governors and Republican statehouse majorities — officials are seeking more far-reaching, structural changes that would weaken the bargaining power and political influence of unions, including private sector ones.
For example, Republican lawmakers in Indiana, Maine, Missouri and seven other states plan to introduce legislation that would bar private sector unions from forcing workers they represent to pay dues or fees, reducing the flow of funds into union treasuries. In Ohio, the new Republican governor, following the precedent of many other states, wants to ban strikes by public school teachers.
Some new governors, most notably Scott Walker of Wisconsin, are even threatening to take away government workers’ right to form unions and bargain contracts.
“We can no longer live in a society where the public employees are the haves and taxpayers who foot the bills are the have-nots,” Mr. Walker, a Republican, said in a speech. “The bottom line is that we are going to look at every legal means we have to try to put that balance more on the side of taxpayers.”
I would like to make two points here:
Notice how the debate is framed - union members are the "haves" and taxpayers are the "have-nots."
When did union members and not rich people, hedge fund managers, Wall Street CEO's and financial industry people become the "haves"?
Hell, these guys are the haves (see here and here.)
Next, notice how the politics are framed - Dems are going after union power and money, but Repubs plan to destroy unions completely.
This will be the meme sold by Cuomo, Obama and other anti-union Dems to continue to win union support for elections.
Yeah, we're bad, but the Repubs are WORSE.
I say, not good enough.
Unions need to fight both anti-union Repubs and anti-union Dems.
And they need to frame a new message - union members aren't the "haves".
They are middle class people who have work protections because they are part of unions. Other people could have these work protections too if middle and working class people worked together to fight the REAL haves - the hedge fund criminal class, Wall Street, the financial industry, etc.