Last week I posted a piece (via Paul Krugman’s blog) by Bruce Bartlett—a moderate Republican—on President Obama’s negotiating style, which Bartlett correctly sees as being weak. Bartlett contrasted Obama with presidents who had to deal with the American labor movement in its heyday, which was a redoubtable force at the negotiating table. À propos—and as I have learned—, the recent agreement ending the National Football League labor dispute turned out to be a big victory for the NFL players union. I didn’t follow the details of it that closely but I don’t think this is how it was reported in the mainstream media. But as Dave Zirin, sports correspondent of The Nation—and who thus knows of what he speaks—tells us here, the NFL players won a “remarkable victory.” Cool.
Okay, NFL players, with their seven figure salaries, may not exactly be les damnés de la terre. Then again, with the brain and other traumas they suffer after their careers are over, maybe they are. This piece from TNR discusses the labor agreement in the context of the players’ health issues (à propos, I remember Dave Duerson from the great Chicago Bears team of the mid-80s).
On the subject of labor unions, a week ago my wife and I watched the 1979 movie ‘Norma Rae‘, which I had a seen a couple of times but way back then. It’s held up as a film, though does indeed depict a bygone era. An era before Barack Obama came of age politically.
As for the title of this post, listen here.