The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza writes today that the Chicago teachers strike has put Big Labor’s reputation as a political force on the line. In the process, he characterizes union power in an interesting way:
Organized labor has experienced a series of major setbacks over the past few years … If labor loses this fight it may be a sort of death blow to its longstanding image as the big bully (in a good way) in politics. With stakes that high, the showdown in Chicago is going to be a top-of-the-mind issue for labor strategists and allies until it’s resolved. And that means that labor’s attention is divided, which isn’t a good thing for the Obama campaign who need unions’ full attention this fall. (emphasis added.)
Hmm, “big bully (in a good way)”? That is an interesting way of putting it. From the context, it would suggest that Cillizza’s opinion of unions is that they do good things even if they use hardball political tactics to do them.
It’s something to bear in mind as you read the Post’s coverage of the strike.