David Macaray

David Macaray

David Macaray, a former union rep, is a Los Angeles-based playwright and the author of “It’s Never Been Easy: Essays on Modern Labor” and “Night Shift:  270 Factory Stories.” His latest book is “How to Win Friends and Avoid Sacred Cows:  Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About India But Were Afraid to Ask.” He can be reached at Dmacaray@gmail.com

Articles by this author

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Monday, June 25, 2012
Teachers in the Crosshairs
During my twenty-odd years as a union rep in a big-time factory (a 44-acre paper mill), I had occasion to talk to over a hundred people about the things we most regretted in our lives. It’s true. That was our topic of discussion…. regrets . Things we hadn’t done but wish we had , things we had done but wish we hadn’t , and things we would do differently if we could go back and repeat them. The whole gamut.
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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Fire All the Teachers! (and Other Inanities)
Two of the most damaging misconceptions people have about labor unions are (1) that union members tend to be substandard workers (lazy, unreliable, surly, privileged), and (2) that union members can’t be fired because their “masters” will always go to bat to protect them.
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012
What’s an American Worker’s Life Worth? About $5,900
Acknowledging the alarming polarization and gridlock of Congress, and the startling, rightward shift of the political spectrum, you regularly hear people declare that there is no way we could get something as ambitious as OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Act) passed today, not in this dreadful climate.
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Friday, May 04, 2012
There Is a Plague Loose Upon the Land
Most states in the union have laws against “gouging.” Broadly speaking, gouging is defined as the practice of arbitrarily raising prices on necessary goods, such as milk, bottled water, baby food, baby formula, bread, etc., in response to civil emergencies (riots, martial law) or natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, tornadoes).
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Union Activists Are Being Murdered
Make no mistake. We had some ugly anti-labor mischief of our own during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, where union organizers, political radicals, suspected anarchists and Bolsheviks were blackballed, beaten, imprisoned, deported, murdered, and state-executed—all in the name of “law and order.” But while many of these men (and women, too….they deported Emma Goldman to Russia) were clearly railroaded, at least the high-profile figures were given the semblance of a jury trial.
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Friday, April 13, 2012
The Campaign to Privatize the World
One of the biggest con games going on at the moment is the sustained attack on the U.S.
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Monday, March 26, 2012
Three Ways Labor Can Fight Back
There’s no denying that slogans are gold. In the world of commerce, a catchy, cleverly written slogan, no matter how illogical or misleading, has an excellent chance of attracting customers. Take Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign from some years ago. That slogan was a huge hit, despite no one actually knowing what the phrase meant, or what, precisely, it had to do with Nike products.
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Friday, March 16, 2012
Does Labor Have Any Real Friends?
Despite well-meaning attempts at mitigating or sugar-coating it, organized labor has always known, deep-down, that the only true friend it had was labor itself. Yes, the Democrats have thrown a few crumbs its way, and yes, academics have eloquently given voice to the Movement, and yes, non-union workers have grudgingly recognized organized labor’s historical contributions. But when it comes to the down-and-dirty battles, working people realize that no one can be relied upon except other working people.
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Friday, March 09, 2012
Rush Limbaugh Is No Joke
It’s disappointing to hear people (liberals, progressives, Democrats) dismiss Rush Limbaugh as simply a “clown,” or a “blowhard,” or “an idiot,” or, more thoughtfully, as “a political entertainer and not a political pundit,” as if his 14-15 million reported regular listeners didn’t count for anything—as if they didn’t vote or make political contributions. Let’s not kid ourselves. Limbaugh’s audience doesn’t regard him as a joke. They regard him as a modern day prophet.<img alt="" bord
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012
The Dreadful Candy Caper: Hershey's Outrageous Labor Violations
What happened recently at the Hershey candy factory, in Palmyra, Pennsylvania, has to be considered one of the weirdest and most outrageous labor stories of the new year.
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