John Sweeney: "We will pass the Employee Free Choice Act"
by agilepeople, Wed Jan 16, 2008 at 05:48:02 AM EST
John Sweeney, President of the AFL-CIO, said 2 years ago:
"Today, the Employee Free Choice Act has 208 co-sponsors in the House, including 10 Republicans, and 42 in the Senate -- and we will pass it while George Bush is in office."John Sweeney at National Press Club 1/18/2006Since then the EFCA, which adds penalties for labor violations, has passed the House, but has stalled in the Senate over a Republican blockade over a small change in "card check" organizing campaigns and has been abandoned by Democrats and Unions until 2009. Currently employees can optionally organize or decertify a union using signature cards instead of secret ballots. Business groups only want to be able to decertify unions using card check, calling organization by signature cards "undemocratic" and condemning the entire EFCA as "Orwellian named." If the Republican position sounds like a double standard, thats because it is. Sweeney and his Democrat allies in the Senate could easily shift the debate to just enforcing current labor law. Instead, they are letting the Republicans have a free ride this November by keeping the general public confused about technical aspects of forming a union.
The debate on labor law reform shouldn't be on the mechanics of organizing. It is a more basic question: Should Americans have the same rights to organize that previous generations had? Currently the strongest unions are in Government jobs. The second strongest unions are in jobs that are not in global competition. Then there are the legacy unions, like the UAW, which competes against Americans in foreign-owned auto plants in the South, which cannot be organized. Most Americans face wage freezes and declining benefits but are afraid to speak out individually because they are slaves to their mortgages and car payments. Some Americans are slaves to their college tuition loans and then discover that someone in the third world will do their job for less money. While Unions are not always the solution, People always are. Giving people the fair opportunity to choose, or refuse, a union provides corporate management an incentive to pay better than the global market. Without that opportunity, wages freeze and we face a recession. Enforcement of our long-established right to organize helps small businesses that are exempt from federal labor law compete against their big box competitors. Unfortunately, Small business associations that are Republican controlled fear-monger their members into believing they might also fall under the increased penalties. These Small Business Associations however fail to mention that businesses under $500,000 in annual revenue are not under the National Labor Relations Boards jurisdiction. Surprisingly, though the Small Business Associations support only Republicans which dominated Congress and the White House, no effort was made to inflation adjust the $500,000 limit which was established in 1959. My group, Agilepeople.org, advocates for labor rights not for unions, but for everyone. Check out our positions and sign our petition at: www.agilepeople.org Positions: 1. Strengthen Federal Labor Law to protect Americans and law abiding companies. 2. Promote Voter Education and Election Reform. 3. Employee Ownership and participation in the long term success of companies.