Friday, January 16, 2009

I guess it's good for something...

Obama on the Employee Free Choice Act (Via Donklephant):

Wash Post: The Employee Free Choice Act - a timing question and a substance question: in terms of timing how quickly would you like to see it brought up? Would you like to see it brought up in your first year? In terms of substance, the bills that you talked about in your floor statement on the Employee Free Choice Act problems with bullying of [inaudible] people want to join unions. Is card check the only solution? Or are you open to considering other solutions that might shorten the time?

Obama: I think I think that is a fair question and a good one.

Here’s my basic principal that wages and incomes have flatlined over the last decade. That part of that has to do with forces that are beyond everybody’s control: globalization, technology and so forth. Part of it has to do with workers have very little leverage and that larger and larger shares of our productivity go to the top and not to the middle or the bottom. I think unions serve an important role in that. I think that the way the Bush Administration managed the Department of Labor, the NLRB, and a host of other aspects of labor management relations put the thumb too heavily against unions. I want to lift that thumb. There are going to be steps that we can take other than the Employee Free Choice Act that will make a difference there.

Like Justin, I am, to the extent that I can be, relieved to hear that President Obama does not seem all too willing to rush the Employee Free Choice Act into law and will consider other options. I do happen to think that, given our current situation, not only are there far more important things that will have to be dealt with, but also that big business will mobilize massive amounts of resources to fight this.

As I mentioned in my previous post, despite all the bellyaching by the AFL-CIO or the respective labor unions about unfair labor practices, none of these organizations, in supporting the EFCA, have ever put forth a compelling argument that the existing structure, which strives to protect an employee's choice to unionize through a private election, is in such disrepair that it has to be abandoned. My view on this is that organized labor does not want to go down this road because simply revising the rules would not give them anywhere near the power they would get under EFCA. That will certainly make a lot of pro-union liberals quite upset.