Dick Meister

Meister: Walker won in Wisconsin, but so did labor

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.

Yes, labor lost its attempt to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, one of the most virulent labor opponents anywhere.  But as AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka declared, the heated election campaign was "not the end of the story, but just the beginning."

The campaign, triggered by Walker all but eliminating the collective bargaining rights of most of Wisconsin's 380,000 public employees, showed that labor is quite capable of mounting major drives against anti-labor politicians, a lesson that won't be lost on unions or their opponents.

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Dick Meister: The temples of baseball

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister is a San Francisco-based columnist and former semi-professional baseball player. You can contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com.

Baseball season again. Time to re-enter the temples of baseball. Temples? Yes, temples.

To most people, baseball is merely a game. But to some others, it's virtually a religion, a game played in temples – the temples of baseball, be they Major League stadiums or any other baseball park at any level from the Major Leagues to the little parks at much lower levels where I played in hopes of making it big as a professional. But that's another story.

Of course baseball is a game. But it is indeed a game that is played in temples. Baseball parks are places of myth, superstition and legend, no less than the temples where the great myths, superstitions and legends of religion hold sway. Even the most casual fan is likely to know the myths and legends that make up baseball's storied history - Babe Ruth's called-shot home run in the 1932 World Series, for example. His whole career, in fact. Read more »

Dick Meister: Stamp out sexual harassment

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Thanks to the recent widely publicized reports of alleged sexual harassment by some highly prominent men, the serious problem of sexual harassment on the job has drawn lots of attention from unions and other advocates of working women. And for good reason.

A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll indicated that nearly two-thirds of Americans now consider sexual harassment a problem. The poll also showed that about one-fourth of the country's working women report having been sexually harassed on the job.

The increasing concern about harassment may very well explain the withdrawal of Republican Herman Cain from the presidential race amid allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances while heading the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Read more »

Dick Meister: Six ways to heal the economy

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By Dick Meister

 Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

The AFL-CIO has come up with an ambitious six-point plan for healing our very sick economy – one of the best plans that have yet been suggested by anyone.

Point one calls for rebuilding the school, transportation and energy systems by spending at least $2.2 trillion to restore crumbling 20th century infrastructure. As the AFL-CIO says, it would be an investment that would put millions of people to work while laying the foundation for the nation's long-term growth and competitiveness with other nations.

Point two is as direct: "Revive U.S. manufacturing and stop exporting good jobs overseas."  That would involve, among many other steps, reforming and enforcing tax policies that are currently encouraging U.S. companies to have manufacturing done in other countries. And enhance Buy America standards, increase investment in job training and oppose free trade deals. Read more »

Dick Meister: Jobless in wonderland

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By Dick Meister

Dick Meister, former labor editor of the SF Chronicle and KQED-TV Newsroom, has covered labor and politics for more than a half-century. Contact him through his website, www.dickmeister.com, which includes more than 350 of his columns.

Finding a job is hard enough for the many millions of unemployed American workers. But, believe it or not, the fact that they are jobless keeps many employers from hiring them.

That's right, being jobless keeps many workers from being hired for many of the jobs that are available.

It's crazy, I know. But once they're unemployed, many workers are destined to remain unemployed. Many employers are saying, in effect, that workers who are laid off by other employers, or who can't get other employers to hire them, must automatically be considered bad workers who they don't want to hire either. Read more »