Yes, when he was president, Ronald Reagan broke Air Traffic Controllers union – fired them all when they voted to strike – and back in 2004, Education Secretary Rod Paige said that the National Education Association, one of the nation's largest labor unions, was a ''a terrorist organization'' – it was resisting many provisions of No Child Left Behind, that law pushed through Congress by President Bush in 2001. We've become accustomed to thinking of labor unions as somehow anti-American, crippling the economy with nutty demands, slowing everything down, and, of course, absurdly corrupt (Jimmy Hoffa didn't help at all).
But there is another view, show here visually. This is the mural "An Injury to One is an Injury to All" – 1993, by Mike Alewitz – on the south wall of CWA Local 9000, 5855 Venice Boulevard, at Genesee. This is the other view.
The artist, Mike Alewitz, was one of the leaders of the student antiwar movement at Kent State, and a member of the Young Socialist Alliance - the youth organization of the Socialist Workers Party. After the shootings there he became the national chair of the Committee of Kent State Eyewitnesses, and a major muralist – see Insurgent Images: The Agitprop Murals of Mike Alewitz.
As for this union hall, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) is the largest communications and media labor union in the United States, affiliated with the AFL-CIO, the Canadian Labour Congress, and the Union Network International. It started with the organizing of telephone workers into the National Federation of Telephone Workers, founded in 1938. After losing a strike with AT&T in 1947 the federation was reorganized as the CWA and hooked up with the Congress of Industrial Organizations in 1949. In 1994 the National Association of Broadcast Employees and Technicians merged with the CWA and became the Broadcasting and Cable Television Workers Sector of the CWA – big out here in Hollywood. And in 1997 they pulled in the Newspaper Guild, and in 2004, the Association of Flight Attendants.
On Monday, June 23, at their convention in Las Vegas, they endorsed Barack Obama.