This Week on Between The Lines

Posted Sept. 5, 2012 for week ending Sept. 14, 2012

lede

"Obama, in his pursuit of bipartisan solutions, has blurred traditional political differences between the two parties on issues related to labor, economy, corporate power, free trade and federal budget priorities."

– Steve Early, former veteran union organizer with the Communications Workers of America and author of "The Civil Wars in U.S. Labor" on the "lesser 'evilism'" in labor's choice between Mitt Romney and Obama, as both candidates support free trade treaties that hurt workers – and neither of these men fully back legislation that would level the playing field for union workplace organizing drives


Listen to the entire program using these links, or to individual interviews via the links appearing prior to each segment description below.

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U.S. Labor Movement Faces Choice of "Lesser Evils" in Coming Presidential Election

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Interview with Steve Early, union organizer and author, conducted by Scott Harris

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Over recent decades, the U.S. labor movement has lost millions of members, weakening unions’ ability to negotiate for higher wages and improved benefits. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of the workforce belonging to unions was 11.8 percent or 14.8 million workers in 2011. In 1983, the percentage of workers belonging to unions was 20.1 percent with 17.7 million union dues-paying members. Although public sector union membership was in a stronger position, comprising 37 percent of the workforce, public employee unions are facing aggressive attacks from Republican state governors and legislatures, with new laws revoking their right to bargain collectively, and instituting a large number of layoffs.  Story continues

Corporate Media Fails to Separate Fact from Fiction at GOP Convention

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Interview with Peter Hart, activism director with the media watch group FAIR, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, conducted by Scott Harris

media

As the Republican National Convention was preparing to launch in Tampa, Fla., the specter of tropical storm Isaac threatened to wash out the proceedings. But after a one-day delay, the televised nominating convention got underway with the focus shifting from the weather back to the predictable rhetorically heavy speeches. while Americans widely expect politicians to bend the truth to put themselves and their party in the best possible light, the GOP convention this year was notable for the long list of exaggerations, misleading statements and blatant lies catalogued by a small army of fact-checkers, many on the web.  Story continues

Recent Health Studies Point to Link Between Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining and Human Illness

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Interview with Michael Hendryx, professor of health policy management and leadership at West Virginia University, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

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Residents of communities near mountaintop removal coal-mining operations in southern Appalachia suffer higher levels of many kinds of health problems than those living further away from such sites. Mountaintop removal is a mining method where millions of tons of dynamite are used to blast the tops off mountains in order to extract the coal seams beneath, dislodging rocks and earth which are dumped into the valleys below. Thus far, these operations have destroyed 500 mountain ridges and buried 2,000 miles of fresh water streams.  Story continues

This week’s summary of under-reported news

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Compiled by Bob Nixon

 

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