Considering the fact that its strategy didn’t end well in Wisconsin, the labor movement’s plan to stage nationwide protests leading up to the 2012 elections sounds like a gift for Republicans. Politico reports that instead of focusing on Obama’s presidential campaign—as labor did in 2008—the SEIU will devote much of its energy toward building a “grass-roots movement of public protest and organization similar to the massive show of pro-labor support that overran Madison, Wis. last month”:
The new plan, revealed in a planning document reviewed by POLITICO and in the subsequent interview with Henry, reflects the widening recognition by labor leaders that the shrinking national ranks of union members no longer carry the political heft they once did. The draft plan, titled “Fight for a Fair Economy” in what Henry said was a preliminary planning document, would reach outside union ranks to focus on “mobilizing underpaid, underemployed and unemployed workers” and “channeling anger about jobs into action for positive change.”
The Obama administration believes it can count on labor’s money and support without having to give much in return, and unions are tired of being taken for granted. So instead of focusing on lobbying and electing lawmakers, as the SEIU did in the lead-up to 2008, the organization is now trying to gather public support for its policy ideas.
The proposal could mean more bad news for Obama, who’s trying to position himself as a centrist to win over independents. The SEIU says it will be “mobilizing underpaid, underemployed and unemployed workers” and “channeling anger about jobs into action for positive change.” In other words, the union will probably be rallying low-income, urban voters to support class warfare and anti-capitalist policies. Obama needs the support of these communities for his reelection bid, so it sounds like this plan could end up pulling him to the left.