Saturday, March 28, 2009

If you ain’t got good politics, you ain’t got nothin’

If you ain’t got good politics, you ain’t got nothin’…

’cept nothing is all you got.

Recently, I had the wonderful chance to participate in a radio program out of the Atlanta area with the President of Atlanta IAFF Local 134, Jim Daws. They are having some hard times in Atlanta just as elsewhere.

I loved getting interviewed and being “on stage” and Jim set me up for my cues like the pro that he is. I may have made an cruel and insulting remark to the effect that public sector employees (firefighters in this case) who think they can prosper by merely working 56 hours a week and working a part-time job are fools.

My insulting comment was true, but I should have used the word foolish instead of fools. A sharp knife cuts cleaner and deeper than does a dull one, but it cuts just the same. It was at the end of my air time, and I wanted to make my point. It is done. I learned something about live radio.

This Rant is about your political program. You do have an active political program, or are you trying to fail? Not having a successful political program does not necessarily make you a fool, just foolishly naïve. If things are going incredibly well for your local in these dark economic times, you need not read further. Since things are not going well anywhere, you need to read further.

My problem with the whole concept of union politics has always been that it is approached in a superficial manner by too many union leaders. It is not as simple as making political contributions, working in few elections, backing a couple of winners and waiting for the political largesse to roll in. It simply does not work that way.

Even if your political action effort is temporarily unsuccessful, you can and must maintain a positive role in the community through your public relations endeavor so that you can still get your foot in the door with the politicians and the public to allow your lobbying effort to succeed.

HELLO …“Politics” is effective lobbying.

To push public relations and politics on the members without developing the understanding that all this effort is directed toward building the lobbying program has been the source of much of the resistance to political action. Many of the rank and file members are reluctant to expend the effort and resources into politics that they will devote to public relations or even beers after the union meeting.

Lectores and I had the opportunity to conduct several well attended workshops last year on political organizing. The title of the workshop is: Make Your Politics a Hat-Trick, Triple Play & Trifecta. Given the opportunity, we will do more of them this year. The workshops concern public relations, political activity, and lobbying. These workshops have been the most important and satisfying training in which Lectores has participated so far.

We reached hundreds of union leaders but there are thousands of locals. All need to adopt the dogma we preach or begin the process of accepting failure. Lectores will not allow this to happen without at least making an effort to stop the march to disaster. The international unions (IAFF, PBA, ATU, CWA, et al) provide perpetual instruction on the importance of local political action. With all that amount of instruction going on, why are things so screwed up?

It is not that public sector union leaders do not agree that political action is important; they just have trouble getting the members to understand. The Hat-trick workshop is designed to share the magic bullet for success with anyone who cares enough to listen. Having an outsider say things sometimes adds credibility to the message. Give it a try.

We will provide you with a free copy of the workshop manual we use for Make Your Politics a Hat-Trick, Triple Play & Trifecta. Any donations you wish to make to the Jeff Carnes Memorial Cash Pension Fund will be accepted. Just make the check out to CASH and send it to my numbered offshore account.

We will send a copy of the actual PowerPoint presentation to those who email me and request a copy. Just go to and click on Contact Us and fill in the blanks.

If you would like me to appear from nowhere like a genie to actually conduct the workshop, we have to discuss a small honorarium to help pay the rent. Should you buy enough copies of my book, I will conduct the seminar with no fees attached. Otherwise, you may share the Make Your Politics a Hat-Trick, Triple Play & Trifecta program manual as you see fit.

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