Thomas Mills points out the dog that didn't bark.
In a guest editorial in the N&O today, the Democratic political consultant notes labor's big stories in North Carolina this year: the State Employees Association of N.C. joining SEIU, workers at a Tar Heel hog processor voting to unionize and ads attacking Sen.-elect Kay Hagan for supporting card check.
The response was as remarkable as the victories themselves. The news media basically shrugged. Both events got ample and fair coverage, but there was little editorializing and no big stories. The general public took little notice. Even Smithfield executives struck a conciliatory tone, calling the election in Tar Heel fair and saying they look forward to working together.
During the race between Hagan and Dole, anti-union groups barraged voters with phone calls and mailings warning them that Hagan's election would usher in a new age of unionism that would threaten the economy and workers' independence. Hagan beat Dole by over 8 percentage points, indicating that voters either didn't believe it or, more significantly, didn't care.
Mills, whose firm has represented SEIU, said that the lack of a strong reaction against unions is a sign that public opinion is shifting here.