Get ready for card check "compromise"
A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down...
And a little compromise on the undemocratic card check legislation will no doubt help some wavering Democrats climb on board.
Mickey Kaus reports:
Labor strategists deny (to Mark Ambinder) that Obama's remarks to WaPo constitute a slow-tracking of "card check." And I know that some business groups still think there's no slow-tracking of "card check" (if it's not in fact already a done deal). So let's assume there's no slow-tracking of card check! ... But it sure sounds to me like the only bill Obama expects to pass soon would be a compromise (for example, retaining the secret ballot but speeding up various time limits or altering other provisions in ways that would still aid unionization drives). ... If you were Obama and you wanted to slow-track "card check," or force a "reform" compromise that feel short of eliminating the secret ballot, you would tell the Post what Obama told the Post, no? If you were a labor strategist and you were worried that Obama was slow-tracking card check, you wouldn't tell that to Ambinder. You'd tell him that there was "every reason to believe" that Obama would keep his "committment," in order to keep the heat on. ... Update: Anti-card checker Peter Kirsanow is still worried. "Unions understand that the planets won't align for them like this again. ... They won't back down." True. But that's also a reason to discount the bravado they show to Ambinder. They're not going to give up this early and say, "Gee, looks like 'card check's' not going to happen.' ... Not that they might not ultimately win. [via Shopfloor]
No doubt the planets are in perfect alignment for Big Labor to cram this monstrosity down the throats of Congress - not that they really have much cramming to do. Nose counters on the Hill believe the legislation (without any compromise language) would pass in the House fairly easily but is still a couple of votes short in the Senate as far as preventing a filibuster.
Just what exactly did Obama say that opened the door to a compromise? From his interview with the Washington Post:
On the Employee Free Choice Act, which would allow unions to organize by obtaining a majority of signatures from employees in a workplace rather than having to win secret-ballot elections, Mr. Obama signaled willingness to consider other mechanisms to address the concern that employers unfairly use the current process to intimidate workers not to join unions. And he seemed in no hurry to have Congress bring it up. "If we're losing half a million jobs a month, then there are no jobs to unionize, so my focus first is on those key economic priority items," Mr. Obama said, declining to state whether he wanted to see the issue debated during his first year in office.
Other mechanisms? Any mechanism supported by organized labor is going to give them an unfair advantage in labor negotiations which, judging by Obama's ridiculous comment about employer "intimidation" (Jennifer Rubin points out it's already against the law for employers to practice intimidation tactics so why pass another law saying the same thing?) shows he doesn't understand or wants to undermine Taft-Hartley. Protections for both labor and management in negotiating seems to be a foreign concept to Obama. It has been for years to the unions.
Labor negotiations are no longer a "David and Goliath" issue. If anything, the roles have been reversed since the progressives reformed the workplace in the first half of the 20th century. It is unions now who have the money, the political backing, and the goons to enforce their will while their targets in the business community struggle to compete for market share and fend off the stifling presence of unions in their workplaces.
If Senate Democrats restore the secret ballot provision it is likely to draw enough moderate Democrats as well as Republicans like Arlen Specter so that they will have their 60 votes for cloture and pass card check.
A Brave New World to be sure...
Hat Tip: Ed Lasky