Posted: 09/08/15, 8:31 AM PDT | Updated: 2 hrs ago

Labor Day, having come and gone, allows us an opportunity to consider the ups, the downs and the ironies associated with the union movement. There would be no Labor Day commemoration without the trade unions that developed in the late 1800s. Sources of its history, such as and the U.S. Department of Labor (, recount the conflicts, violence and “deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the U.S. military and U.S. Marshals during the Pullman Strike”; said strike preceded Congress voting unanimously for “legislation that made Labor Day a national holiday.”

Grover Cleveland, a Democrat, signed the bill “a mere six days after the end of the strike. The September date—originally chosen by the CLU (Central Labor Union) of New York and observed by many of the nation’s trade unions for the prior several years—was chosen over the more widespread International Workers’ Day (May 1) because Cleveland was concerned that observance of the latter would be associated with the nascent socialist and anarchist movements…”

I can’t help contrasting that understandable aversion to radical associations of the time, among Democrats and union leaders, with the current popularity of an ideological socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders, among today’s Democrats and unions. Moreover, the most radical leftist elements of our time—Occupy Wall Street, the “netroots” leftist bloggers and websites, ACORN and other Alinsky-inspired community organizations, radical black and brown race-mongers and open-borders activists—are the heart and base of the current Democratic Party.

We have unions fully supporting Obama’s executive actions legalizing millions of job-seeking undocumented migrants. It could be construed that union bosses are willing to undermine the obvious economic interests of their rank-and-file for the crass, power-grabbing purpose of converting newly legalized immigrants into dues-paying members.

Maybe their long-term strategy is to maximize their numbers, skim millions from paychecks and wield the political power that that money will buy. Increased power translates to greater clout and say in who gets elected as a Democrat so that, as we see with Emperor Obama, the “right” kind of pro-union National Labor Relations Board members are appointed—members devoted to tipping the scales whenever possible toward Big Labor’s interests at the expense of non-unionized businesses and workers.

I didn’t create such cynicism; I’m just observing and describing it. Only in the last decade or so has Big Labor had a change of heart from anti- to pro-immigration, legal or not. Follow the money, as they say.

What are the odds, so to speak, that the Democrat Party, and its blue-state strongholds with the strongest union presence, would conclude that using illegal alien pawns is their ticket to increased electoral power? If “The Immigration Boon to Democrats” (Ian Smith, 7/21) has any merit, it’s a reasonable conclusion. The sub-head, “There’s no mystery about why Democrats resist enforcing our immigration laws,” suggests a devious, well-thought-out strategy.

“A new ‘sanctuary cities’ map from the Center for Immigration Studies goes a long way toward explaining why open-borders Democrats are so addicted to non-enforcement of our immigration laws. When you consider the political makeup of the cities, counties and states where illegal aliens are welcomed, you start to suspect that the liberal elites in San Francisco and elsewhere aren’t interested only in cheap nannies and gardeners. For them, pulling in more illegal aliens is, perhaps first and foremost, about pumping up their political power.

“The Census Bureau includes immigrants (both legal and illegal) in the statistics used to apportion our 435 congressional districts. This has the perverse effect of helping states with bigger non-native populations to inflate both their representation in Congress and the number of Electoral College votes they are allotted (the latter is a function of the former).

“Just through their illegal-alien numbers, the states of New York, New Jersey, California, Florida, and Illinois, which all went for Obama in 2012, received eight additional congressional seats in the last reapportionment, with over half of those gains coming from their sanctuary cities and counties. It’s clear, then, why Democrats resist enforcing our immigration laws: More bodies mean more power.

“California…flipped from red to blue after the U.S. adopted an open-borders policy.” When national elections winners can have as little as a one electoral vote separation from the losers, how can any American justify such a compromise of election integrity? The peaceful resolution of our political differences is threatened by the mere perception that the winners anywhere rode to victory on the backs of non-citizens ineligible to even vote.

Speaking of our fair state, “these five counties (Bay area) account for over 330,000 illegal aliens, or half a congressional seat—or Electoral College vote…And if those five counties are taken together with Los Angeles County and two of its neighbors, Orange and Riverside Counties, their combined illegal-alien population accounts for almost three congressional seats.

“Naked self-interest has surrounded our apportionment system ever since it was revised by the Fourteenth Amendment…Roscoe Conkling from the big-immigration state of New York lobbied hard for a broader apportionment base because, as Conkling said, the estimated ‘unnaturalized foreigners’ in his state contributed ‘three Representatives and a fraction of a fourth.’” (Patrick Charles, Immigration Reform Law Institute). I see it as naked corruption.

Don Polson has called Red Bluff home since 1988.