In fact, earlier today, Andy Stern, the boss of the Union of Purple People Eaters (aka the Service Employees International Union) seemingly threw down the gauntlet on what a Democratic failure means:
"I think the real issue here is people vote about issues, and people are enormously frustrated,"Stern told us. "It's taken us a year; we don't have a health care bill, we're missing all kinds of other deadlines. I think the Senate, if it does not find a way to get some things done here, are going to disappoint people.”
[Deadlines?...Set by whom?...Andy Stern and Anna Burger?]
"People had huge hopes and expectations,"he continued. "The president laid out a broad agenda, and the Senate does not seem able to keep up with him. And the Republicans are doing everything they can to trip him up. America's at a pretty critical moment, and the Senate better act, or it will be Obama's Waterloo.” [Emphasis added.]
Elsewhere, on the ultra-left Firedoglake, blogger Jon Walker put health care front and center as the only key to private sector unions' survival.
Unless We Do Health Care Right, Every Private Sector Union Will Be Dead In Nine Years
....I don’t care if unions get the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), “card check,” or the super awesome ultimate labor organizing bill passed. (And it isn’t going to happen. If we can’t force the Senate’s 60-member Democratic caucus to pass the extremely popular public option with a huge grassroots push over the objections of one very unpopular industry, there is no way even a watered down EFCA is going anywhere in the Senate against the full opposition of corporate America.) If health care premiums keep growing, there simply will not be a private manufacturing sector to unionize.
The only hope long term for private sector unions and the rest of the American economy is to rein in our health care cost. The only way that will happen is if we destroy this 60-vote myth in the Senate. An excise tax will not really control costs, insurance exchanges will not really control costs, none of these “free market economagic” solutions will work. Peter Orszag admits these pathetic market-based efficiency reforms he is championing will take decades to realize. We don’t have decades to spare. The Federal government is the entity only big enough and strong enough to really bring down health care costs.
The public option may seem small. The weaker version’s cost-controlling component, while in the tens of billions, is still less than I hoped for. The important thing though is that if a real public option is part of the final bill, that means Congress stood up to one of the extremely well-funded lobbies in our health care system, and used governmental power to rein in waste and profits. If we can get Congress to do it with one segment of our health care industry, we can eventually force them to do it with the others.
I hope the private sector unions don’t try to cut a short-sighted deal to stay on some senator’s good side. If they trade away the public option, they are trading away the only hope we have had in years to use the government to give regular Americans the upper hand against large corporations. And the worst part would be that the private sector unions would be trading it away for, at most, only a few months’ reprieve of their death sentence. [Emphasis added.]
Other than his glaring advocacy for full-blown, government-run health care, Mr. Walker's main point is interesting in that he states that only nationalized health care can save private-sector unions....not increased efficiency or competitiveness (to stop bankrupting companies), better representation or less corrupt leaders, things that could actually make unions more relevant.
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