BTS 7/13/09: The Summer of Reform? Health Care; Labor Law; KPFK LSB Elections

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A dozen union presidents met with President Obama today to press labor’s national priorities: health care reform, labor law reform, and labor’s role in making certain the economic stimulus doesn’t leave out working people. On tonight’s Beneath The Surface we’ll look at what a revitalized labor movement and real street heat could mean for the economy, healthcare and labor law reform.

As employer groups and the insurance industry meet with Washington legislative committees to craft health care policy to their liking, Harold Meyerson writes that everyone is waiting for Obama to ramp up street heat -- because the organizing efforts so far to press for genuine reform have about as much chance of affecting the final policy as the phases of the moon.  We’ll talk to Harold about health care reform, and we’ll also ask him about the Sotomayor confirmation show just getting underway, the California budget crisis and prospects for labor law reform.

We follow that with an extended conversation with Steve Early, participatory labor journalist whose new book Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home provides just the kind of historical memory needed as the labor movement struggles to revive in this economic crisis. We’ll talk to Steve about today’s meeting between Obama and labor leaders, the prospects for labor unity, how the struggle for the reforms that matter today compare with reform efforts when there was a muscular labor movement -- labor’s role in economic recovery and more.

And finally, Nalini Lasiewicz returns for more on the upcoming KPFK local advisory board elections: and how the evolution of Pacifica’s governance structure affects your favorite listening. All this, when our program returns, in just a moment.

1. Harold Meyerson is Editor-At-Large for the American Prospect. He also contributes regularly to the Washington Post. His articles on politics, labor, the economy, foreign policy and American culture have also appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Nation, The New Statesman; the op-ed, commentary and book review sections of The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times, and in numerous other publications. He is a member of the editorial board of Dissent, to which he is a frequent contributor of political analyses.

2. Steve Early is a labor journalist, lawyer and former CWA organizer. He is the author of the new book Embedded with Organized Labor: Journalistic Reflections on the Class War at Home, available from Monthly Review Press.