There are rumbling about the Employee Free Choice Act not passing. There seems to be little campaigning for it directly from Obama and his team.
Arlen Spector has reversed himself and said he won’t support it, making a filibuster likely to succeed.
Then there are the rumors that the alliance to prevent it from passing (led by Walmart and a few other big players) are offering a “compromise”. Instead of having 50% of workers sign a card be sufficient to get union representation they are pushing for 70%.
As usual in these campaigns what the forces of bigness say and what they mean are two different things. All along the campaign has stressed how “undemocratic” the card check would be because it takes away the workers “choice” about having a union. Of course, it does just the opposite. It gives them two options (elections, card check) instead of only one. The only ones who it takes a choice away from is the employer it can no longer force an election battle.
So if their concern is over democracy or choice why is 70% more democratic than 50%? The answer is, of course, that 70% will be very hard to achieve and this will keep the ability of workers to organize just about as difficult as it is now. That’s their true intent, big surprise.
It isn’t enough that labor is pushing for this, the pols who aren’t out their working for this need to feel some heat. After all surveys have shown that the vast majority of workers would like the option of joining a union.
Arguments about increasing union participation during a downturn don’t stand up either. The recovery which started in 1933 was accompanied by new labor laws favoring workers and a huge surge in union membership. Things got better. Even the firms grew more profitable.
While they are having riots and strikes in Europe we are seeing an appalling lack of participation here. The UAW is about to be dealt the coup de grace by Obama (of all people) with the forced bankruptcy of GM and the merger of Chrysler. If I were running the UAW I’d call a nationwide action, let the Dems know that it was labor that helped get them elected and its time for them to do what they were elected to do.
The contrast with the kid glove treatment being given to the banks and AIG couldn’t be more striking. AIG gets $180 billion and no one asks for them to do anything other than replace the CEO. GM gets 1/10 of that and Obama fires the CEO, tells the UAW they will have to give up more and threatens bankruptcy and splitting the firm in two.
Isn’t that equivalent to nationalization?