The Nation magazine has a feature article this week reviewing the history of the decline of organized labor and the current battle between big business and labor over card check and other reforms. Our buddy Walmart features often as one of the prime villains in the story. Apparently they are flying whole brigades of arm twisters into DC to try to intimidate Dems into not voting for the bill. Can Labor Revive the American Dream?
If the rhetoric doesn't work, the business lobby is ready to threaten retaliation. "They'll promise to dump money to oppose supporters of the bill in the next election," says Mary Beth Maxwell, director of the pro-union American Rights at Work. The Chamber of Commerce has been aggressively educating its local chapters so that business leaders can buttonhole senators in their home districts. When Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln, a Democrat who counts Wal-Mart among her top donors, met with the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in late November, she tried to talk about healthcare and the economy, but the businessmen in the room hammered her on Employee Free Choice. A Rove disciple, former US Attorney Tim Griffin, publicly mulled over a run against her if she repeats her 2007 yes vote. Weeks later, the senator hedged her bets, saying the reform is perhaps "not necessary." "We have the most ideological business community in the world," says economist Larry Mishel, president of the Economic Policy Institute, "and they enforce it."