Labor Unions Preparing To Take Goldman Sachs To Task, Push For Transaction Tax In Upcoming Widespread Rallies

Tyler Durden's picture

America's labor unions are finally waking up from their deep slumber and noticing the vast schism in American society between the haves and the have nots. The catalyst: Wall Street's $16.2 billion bonus pay day. As a result Richard Trumka, head of the AFL-CIO, the nation's largest union organization, and a firm supporter of the transaction tax which was proposed in late 2009 and then promptly buried after some serious lobbying by Wall Street, will announce today "two
weeks of protests aimed at Goldman Sachs Group Inc., the most
profitable securities firm in U.S. history, and the country’s
five other largest banks. The AFL-CIO says it plans 200 events
covering all 50 states, starting March 15." Summarizing the mood of increasing populist aggression across the nation against Wall Street's uber-wealthy is labor professor at UC Berkley Harley Shaiken: “Wall Street has become a symbol of greed run amok, and
what labor is doing here is seeking to demonstrate that it is
speaking for working families generally, union member or non-
union member.” Strikes in Greece have already paralyzed the country. Will America soon follow?

More from Bloomberg:

At the “Make Wall Street Pay” rallies, which the AFL-CIO
plans to announce today, union members will push for a
transaction tax on securities trading to help pay for the $900
billion they want the government to spend on creating new jobs.
That’s 60 times the $15 billion approved by the Senate last
month. The House of Representatives last week passed an $18
billion measure.

Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has said he opposes
the transaction tax, though Trumka says it has support in the
White House. He declined to say who the backers are.

Lucas van Praag, a spokesman for Goldman Sachs in New York,
declined to comment.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co. “recognizes
Americans are demanding more from their financial institutions
during these difficult economic times” and is “committed to
serving the financial needs of businesses and individuals,
keeping credit flowing, and working to help those in financial
distress find solutions,” spokeswoman Julia Tunis Bernard said.

Labor unions have been furious that their traditional political allies, the Democrats, have essentially morphed into Republicans when it comes to treatment of social classes, with Wall Street getting top priority in all dealings, and everyone else a distant second. So far the only major concession that the presidency has presented to labor unions has been the preferential treatment in the automotive bankruptcies. Ironically, the Congressional Oversight Panel has come out with a scathing report noting that the Treasury's decision to bail out GMAC has been in fact counterproductive:

The U.S. Treasury's
decision against a bankruptcy restructuring for GMAC may have increased
taxpayer bailout costs for the auto finance company and made it less
"The panel remains unconvinced that bankruptcy
was not a viable option in 2008," it said in the report. "In connection
with the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcies, Treasury might have
been able to orchestrate a strategic bankruptcy for GMAC."

As a result, this will only make the pain more acute for labor when zombie organizations populated predominantly by labor, inevitably end up in liquidation due to their "reduced viability." And labor is fully aware of the increasing loss of its political clout.

By targeting banks, unions are trying to bring energy to a
labor movement that has seen its ranks dwindle. Union membership
in the private sector declined in 2009 to a record low of 7.2
percent of all workers, according to the Bureau of Labor
Statistics. Unions represented about 35 percent of the private-
sector workers in the mid-1950s, and 17 percent as recently as

“Unions don’t have the clout they used to, so they need to
get the general public involved, maybe even people who are not
normally union supporters, and remind them they are getting the
short end of the stick,” said Charles Craver, a labor professor
at George Washington University in Washington.

The rallies are similar to efforts by the Service Employees
International Union, which has been targeting big banks for
years. In November, SEIU president Andy Stern staged a rally
outside Goldman Sachs’s Washington office, calling for the bank
to cancel its bonuses. The SEIU, with 2.2 million members, is
the nation’s largest union.

“SEIU believes that big banks played a central role in
crashing the economy,” said Stephen Lerner, who directs the
union’s financial reform project. “We are calling on them to be
part of the solution instead of increasing their own pay while
making problems worse for the rest of the country.”

So far Wall Street has laughed in the general direction of labor, knowing too well where the balance of power rests. However, should labor succeed in generating a grass roots movement on the coattails of the populist, and well deserved, anger at Wall Street, and throws in a few strikes for good measure, and things may change rapidly. After all just look at Greece, where the entire economy is now shut down as people say no to the draconian measures imposed on society by a government which for over a decade was drunk with providing entitlements courtesy of fraudulent economic representation. With austerity sooner or later sure to come to the US, the question of strikes is now not a question of if but simply when. And the primary target of all social activity is and continues to be the symbol of all that is wrong with the current system - Goldman Sachs.

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Commander Cody's picture

Strikes in Greece have already paralyzed the country. Will America soon follow?

You can bet on it!

Miles Kendig's picture

Starting with the longshoremen, rails, trucks & airlines.

curbyourrisk's picture

With the little work these guys are currently doing......would a strike be noticed??  Has anyone seen how much little trade is going on????

Miles Kendig's picture

Folks would begin to notice when their neighborhood Wal Mart, Best Buy, 7-11 and Safeway shut down.

MarketTruth's picture


April 15 to April 18TH

Tell Everyone You Know

+++ Also ++++

Join The Civil Revolution


TraderMark's picture

America's 3 richest counties now ring Washington D.C.

And 6 of the to 10

Cramerica rules

doublethink's picture


Hear Hear


"The speech we have been waiting for."    --Simon Johnson


Anonymous's picture

Don't show this to Mish. LOL

swmnguy's picture

TPTB are in a precarious position, whether they know it or not.  The article mentions how the Democrats have antagonized labor.  Soon enough the Tea Party rank and file will realize they have nothing in common with the leadership of the GOP.

Neither party is doing anything for the vast majority of Americans.  If the average person closes his eyes, the only way to distinguish between Republicans and Democrats is the identity of the favored rent-seekers being protected.

The mood of the country is ugly.  If people stop accepting the pre-chewed, focus-grouped, PR-generated artificial divisions placed on us for the benefit of the very wealthy very few, and find common cause with those nearest them, there's going to be a lot of trouble.  For labor to pick up the Populist Anti-Wall-Street sentiment right now is very savvy indeed.

perchprism's picture


Labor unions pretty much suck.  I'll not stand with them. 


Everybody wants to be top dog, but only the most vicious attain it. 

Anonymous's picture

The fact is that unions prevent firing of lazy people, but thats all that unions are bad about.
The fact is that economy is bad if only few people have money and other work for labor wages, like banana republics race to the bottom.
If you need to be convinced of this fact i give up on you as a rational being and will believe that you are malicious.

It is just amasing to read from so many on here who wants this race to the bottom to speed up. "Lets give smaller wages so that companies can survive." If you believe that companies can survive with smaller number of buyers due to slave wages they work for, keep voting for republicans, they want to speed up the race to the bottom by advocating this. They also blame poor people of destroying the economy (deficits) with entitlements.

If you think that economy will improove with lowering the wages, then you need to go back to school and learn economic basics. or shoot your econ profesor.
Unions are the only thing that keeps wages on level so that economy thrives, providing more buying power.

By IRS data, 50% of returns are incomes less then $30,000.
That doesnt count the ones that did not file the return due to no taxable income.

There is 0.4% returns with income over $350K,
About 5% returns are with income over $200K

If anybody believes that economy can be sustained with 5% of population that makes decent living wages then shoot your econ teacher for miserably failing at giving you basic knowledge and keep voting for GOP.

Only $15 minimum wage coupled with tariff on imports will save this country from total collapse.

Globalisation is equalising world wages and it is unstopable.
Trying to stop globalisation market forces will speed up the Race to The Bottom that we are racing right now and GOP wants it faster by representing only wealthy and big corporations. GOP is against smal corp and small businesess by enforcing the rules that prevent the growth of small enterprises to compete against big corp.

Many of Dems are corupted too but not as bad as GOP's race to the bottom efforts.
Only Unions/ (grassroot organising) can prevent the oligarchy's power from taking us into the banana republic state.

public campaign financing is thway to stop the corruption of the political system, no term limits can do anything.

dark pools of soros's picture

oh what a cliche....The fact is that unions prevent firing of lazy people, but thats all that unions are bad about.


And compared to what??  WHERE the hell do people get fired for being lazy in america???  Burger King?  Your Mexican 'help' ?  show me a non-union cube monkey that EVER got fired for being lazy.  IMPOSSIBLE since you can claim unemployment for getting fired for being lazy so the corps never do it. If you STEAL, then you get fired for that and then you CAN'T claim any unemployment.


Union protect and do much more good than the few favoritism you think are widespread.  And look at government..  any of them get fired??  how about family businesses..  nope..  cheaper to have them do a crappy job than give them mooch money...  the anti union vibe here just shows how the majority of the gold bugs just want to 'win' in their own little corrupt version of america with all the cheat codes turned all for their use only...   if any of you fucks had to do real work for even a few years you would cry like a bitch

Uncle Remus's picture

Goddamn - that was fucking funny. Fuck you and the union that spawned you.

Unions pissing on about Goldman is no different than crack whores pissing on about high-end escorts.

Missing_Link's picture

Soon enough the Tea Party rank and file will realize they have nothing in common with the leadership of the GOP.

The Tea Party is a non-partisan movement.  Yes, some Republicans (such as Rick Perry) have embraced it, and yes, the media has done its best to portray it as a right-wing-only movement.  It is not.  Don't fall for their lies.

The Tea Party movement is against government bailouts, over-taxation, massive federal debts, runaway entitlement spending, and takeover of the private sector by the financial sector.  Those are not strictly Republican issues.

swmnguy's picture

That's kinda what I was saying.  Maybe not clearly enough though.

stoverny's picture

Interesting, considering that the most recent narrative seems to be that greedy unions are the cause of all our economy's problems.  Amazingly this narrative, that teachers cops and firemen are the root cause of our nation's meltdown, seems to be catching on.  Barely hear a peep about banker bonuses these days.

As if there was any doubt that the banksters have the best spin doctors money can buy.

Flyingtrader's picture

Barely a peep?!  What news have you been reading? It seems to me that all I hear is "Bankster this" and "Bankster that".  Where have you seen people blaming cops and firemen? I call bullshit!

stoverny's picture

Read Mish or countless other anti-labor union bloggers.  Listen to NJ Gov. Christie.  Labor unions are becoming scapegoat #1 for our economic problems.

And yes bank bonuses still get mention in the press but they are almost yesterday's news at this point.  The narrative has moved on.  Unions are now where it's at, as state budgets address the cratering tax revenue thanks to the financial meltdown.

Anonymous's picture

More populist, liberal, class-warfare envy looking for the grand smoothing of economic outcomes (fully supported by BHO).

But they really do not want TRUE smoothing, because the "have nots" they refer to just really "have less." By world standards, our bottom half (who pay nearly NO income taxes) are among the richest in the world. So I think they just want economic smoothing only with those above their pay grade and not the masses below their pay grade. Hypocrisy.

Am not in favor of government giving money to ANYONE (individual, company or industry), but I am much less inclined to beat up the recipient of my tax payments (who are hopefully free to make lots of money with such) than I am the morons who GAVE IT away. Focus on the PRIMARY source of the problem -- GOVERNMENT.

Not a borrower nor a lender.

Anonymous's picture

I agree Goldman should hang for their blatant manipulation of the markets, courtesy of the Working Group on Financial Market s law, but Unions should be right up there with them. They are as much a part of the problem as Goldman with their rich benefits and salaries. Boeing isn't running from Seattle because its in love with Unions.

dark pools of soros's picture

more horse shit... blame the union's bet on benefits instead of WHY benefits went out of control..  total brainwashed


so let's bailout wall street for their bad bets but punish the unions for their good bets right???  all you gold bugs believe that gold will outpace the dollar right??  so unions also felt that benefits would outpace the dollar so they gave up raises to keep benefits..  so you blame them!!!  that is HYPOCRITICAL and class war at its finest


the best part of armageddon will be when you republifucks really find out what the cost of labor is when you can't get anything on the cheap like you envision it would be without unions...  what the hell will you bring to the fire in that scenario??

Anonymous's picture

Dark Pools I agree
Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini called his nation's system "the corporate state" and the corporate here is mostly Goldman as you all know being well read on this site. Fascism attacks most of what you guys are attacking like democracy in the 2 party but one party under the skin state.

Look what Wall street got in bailout. Wakeup. Stop biting the hands that work and do things and make things.

Be jolly grateful someone -the unionists-still has an eye for the common good
And single un unionised mums still work for $2.95 per hour and Hilary does not tip. And you like it. It can be yours. And its coming your way soon unless you are a bankster.

Racer's picture

Wall street banksters are terrorists who are still holding a knife at the throat of the population

Anonymous's picture

The unions need a villain. They are going to implode the public sector so best to distract America's attention with an even greater boogieman. Goldman Sachs is not draining the budgets of my city, county, and state. Like Chris Rock said "Cut the sh!t. When I go to the ATM I'm not looking for the media!"

Anonymous's picture

"Goldman Sachs is not draining the budgets of my city."

Must be nice living on Planetimoutofmyfreakingmindisastan

masterinchancery's picture

One of the main villains is the public employee unions; hope they go on strike and don't come back, but don't think it will happen; they are too well paid.

Anonymous's picture

Funny, there is only 1 group who can even remotely claim to have had close to the same amount of impact toward the destruction of this country as the banksters and they are the one's picketing....

Anonymous's picture

Unions need wall street more then wall street needs unions.

Who the heck do they thing is funding CRE?

I've been on both sides funding college working union construction then working for wall street. My father was a top dog at a major union. After years on both side I can honestly say unions suck.

Most of my friends still work union construction. Most have been laid off for a year even over two. All they have is their pension funds which will take a major hit should these communist union thugs have their way.

A populace attack on wall street will not help them in any way. But, attack they will.

dark pools of soros's picture

wait I thought unions never let anyone lose a job??  are you serious??  so you can use that when it supports your junk logic?  


Anyone reading your rant sees the holes in it. 'all they have is their pension funds'   and how about the non-union construction workers??  what do they have when they are laid off?  '..which will take a major hit should these communist thugs have their way'  HUH??  what way are you talking about??  the way they take a major hit is when one of the pension fund controllers get snookered into some BS wall street fuck you investment idea.   so if you want to blame all unions suck because of a corrupt money holder, then yeah, I guess your logic is fucking ass tight

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

"Labor unions have been furious that their traditional political allies, the Democrats, have essentially morphed into Republicans when it comes to treatment of social classes, with Wall Street getting top priority in all dealings, and everyone else a distant second."

No morphing was required. There is one political party in America with two slightly different factions within, jostling each other for power. Peel back the first layer of the onion and you'll find 32 more layers of identical cell structure.

Ned Zeppelin's picture

Well said. A joke. We have a firmly entrenched Single Party system offering 2 different candidates on Election Day.  Looking forward to November as a time to "throw the bums out" is an illusion.  And think about that fact that your right to vote was designed as the back up plan if the system got out of control. 


Anonymous's picture

No one is discussing what would happen if this transaction passes. I am thinking 550 on the SPY within a week of its passing.

What do you think will happen to America if that happens. Whether you hate bankers/Wall St or not, this idea will absolutely destroy what little is left in the economy.

Everyone who trades even moderately often will start to exit the market to move capital out. This will cause the first 10% dip. That will cause margin calls and further panic and expose the massive amount of weak hands. Margin calls turn to panic and everyone heads for the door. But, this time there is no bounce - as no one wants in the game anymore.

Unions then go under, as all companies only hire cheap labor - and cheap labor and unions is an oxymoron.

Mon and pop, who had almost no credit extended to them before, now have zero and go under.

Unemployment surges another 10%.

America defaults, although its in weeks rather than years all because of this retarded transaction tax.

Anonymous's picture

Wow! I'm just a retiree trying to keep my savings head above water. The site normally has useful info. But I call total leftist BS on the above post. I just read it again and, jeez, it's as bad as it sounded the first time. Let's take a look at who today's unions actually represent. Primarily, they represent public sector employees. In case no one has taken a look, many of the U.S. state governments are virtually bankrupt. Why? Mostly due to mutual mast... No, excuse me, back scratching among politicians and AFSCME/SEIU unions to pump up salaries and pensions to astronomical levels. Public sector workers - servants... hah! - now make more than private sector schmucks, i.e. taxpayers, along with gold-plated health care coverage and defined benefit pensions approximating full working salaries with the right to "contract" earnings on the side.

NO! Unions are every-bit as much, if not more, of a problem for the average taxpaying citizen as the "Wall Street fat cats." The clown show described above is nothing more than an attempt to distract from the "I've got mine" attitude of the public sector unions. I guess the above author is down with the covert UAW-Dem Party campaign funding machine financed from the now nationalized Government Motors and Chrysler petty cash boxes, union health care "protection" built into the ObamaCare legislation and, oh, let's have Card Check legislation immediately! What could go wrong? OMG! Earth to Zero: Union bosses are interested in their own pockets books, not the long term interests of their members. What can possibly possess a normally pragmatic site like this one to put out the kind of garbage shown above? I promise myself to count to 10 backwards after I post this comment.

dark pools of soros's picture

what fucking frequency do you have to have your tin hat dialed into to have these views on unions??  it is so widespread here.  Have you seen that Unions are pretty much dead in this country and you al are still blaming it like it really has any dent on the US economy???


Have you seen how the spread of high-to-low salaries have gotten as unions have been declining?


So you blame unions for making more than the private sector.. of course they are since they fight for it!!!  the non-union workers are spineless and only get what they get because of all the fight that unions did for wages. 


I guess all you fucks run businesses and want slavery back.. Just say it.  Because why bother with wages if slavery is better?  You think if you cut the American labor wages in half that China, etc won't cut even more?? 


You short sighted gain makers are the real cause of decline in the country.. not the unions that built the middle class and then everyone ride on the tailwinds of that economic strength for 40 years

Miles Kendig's picture

The prison economy is indeed alive and well.  More so in the US than in China or Russia I might add.  Folks getting stirred up because they want all the benefits without the sacrifice.

Miles Kendig's picture

If the idiots like you actually fully staffed agencies like law enforcement or, better yet, had key industries like petro-chemical provide their own security then weekly 24-36 hours of mandated overtime would not be required fixing to your "excessive" compensation issues.  Get a clue before you go so far out as to look completely incompetent to face society on your own.

SimpleSimon's picture

Didn't SEIU picket GS some time ago and promptly get GS to 'allocate' $500m to a new Small Business program?  Not enough, is this a new shakedown?

Does SEIU realize that the transaction tax will simply be applied to every trade, whether it is one of their members or it is GS?

Anonymous's picture

Populist blue collar idiocy and ignorance.....

Just what the USA needs....

Anonymous's picture

Fuck the labor unions, especially the public employee unions. You have the audacity to put them in the 'have-nots' category? These people retire at 50 on 75% salary and full bennies for life. These people are the new kings and queens of society.

If they are mad at Goldman, why don't they be more specific and structure any "transaction tax" for big firms only. In the end they'll wind up implementing some misguided policy that screws the small investor/trader, and lets GS go unscathed with rebates, loopholes, and other measures that complicate things so severely you can't figure out their paying nothing.

They say, "Trading things back and forth isn't a productive venture for society, so it should be taxed" Oh, yeah, well I don't think public employees being allowed to unionize is good for society, so let's disband, and make illegal, public employee unions.

dark pools of soros's picture

so I guess all your 'savings' from not having to pay union dues and having 'control' of your own retirement funds in that great 401k didn't work out for you eh??  


so blame those dim witted unions that bet the benefits would outpace the dollar.  And where the fuck does anyone 'get rich' because they can go to the doctor??  They don't get rich, they just don't go broke.  

packeteerist's picture

notice all these bunk arguments come from chickenshit lackeys using the anon mask?

Anonymous's picture

The LABOR vs. CAPITAL global war has been escalating since the Reagan years.

Most tend to view LABOR as unions, but in actuality, it's the TAXPAYER - i.e., you and me!

So, what we have is:

TAXPAYERS vs. BANKSTERS and its gone GLOBAL - whether it's Iceland, Greece, suicide missions on the IRS, etc.

With their bad bets, the BANKSTERS (CAPITAL) destroyed the global economy and now they want TAXPAYERS (LABOR) to pay for its restoration.

Anonymous's picture

Yeah, those f#@%^ing unions.

They gave us:

Child Labor Laws
Health care
A livable wage {even for non-union members}
Social security so your grandparents didn't starve
Medicare so Grandma could live past the ripe old age of 56
a public education system
fire and building codes
pollution laws
food safety and a whole host of safety laws
clean drinking water, sanitation systems

Yeah, what scum.

Miles Kendig's picture

And if folks want to know what management gave to America just look at:



The SEC and every other captured regulatory body


The Fed

Its member institutions

The federal debt

Government via a super constitutional monarchy that governs via sealed executive orders

The destruction of Habeas corpus

What heroes!

Uncle Remus's picture

Well ain't that just fucking peachy. You'd think with all that wonderful shit the fucking bloodsucking vampire squid apprentices have given us we'd have a middle class that understood the mortgages they signed, how not to live paycheck to paycheck, the true cost of owning that craptastic McMansion and all those fucking oil sucking toys, that all the medical benefits in the world can't overcome sloth, obesity, a steady diet of alcohol, prescription drugs and cigarettes, that social entitlement programs are ponzi schemes, public schools are not a susbstitute for parents, social security is not a retirement or a pension and big government is not a substitute for personal responsibility or common sense.

Go ahead, strike. Make my fucking day.

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