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American Workers Will Have To Wait Until After The 2008 Elections For Stronger Labor Law Enforcement

As we celebrate the Labor Day holiday, it is usually rare to find many stories about respect for the American worker from Washington. Despite 100 rallies in June, 50,000 telephone calls to the Senate, 156,000 faxes and Emails and 200,000 postcards, American workers could not urge obstructionist Republican Senators to allow a vote on the Employee Free Choice Act. By a vote of 51 to 48, nine votes short of the required 60 votes, obstructionist Senators prevented a vote on the pro-labor bill, effectively killing it for 2007. It will likely be sometime after the 2008 elections in 2009 before the bill even comes up for another vote.

There was really very little new in the Employee Free Choice Act Of 2007. It mainly put more teeth in enforcement of existing labor laws, but for a Congress where lobbyists outnumber members of Congress at figures estimated as high as 40 to 1, big-time pressure from special interest groups helped to kill this bill for now.

The Employee Free Choice Act would also have required arbitration if an agreement between workers and management is not reached in a first contract attempt as well as leveled the playing field by preventing unfair or outrageous employee threats or actions that prevented the freedom of workers to choose to unionize. But since much of the bill really offered little new but better enforcement of existing labor laws, it was highly disappointing to see such strong partisan opposition to support for existing labor law enforcement.

Despite the fact that some American clergy members have joined with American workers and "Jobs With Justice" in rallies across America to support this legislation, the strength of the big lobby efforts in Washington to ruin this bill were far stronger. Money is power in Washington where huge lobby efforts like the one run by Wal-Mart easily dwarf the power of thousands of American workers asking for labor justice in their workplace.

One new bright spot for American labor is that the Ford Motor Company will ask the United Automobile Workers to manage the health care benefits of their workers by a big one-time payment to the UAW. Recently, Goodyear Tire found out that the Steelworkers Union could best manage the health care benefits of their workers. From some reason many big companies are very poor at managing important decisions such as health care for their workers, and many unions do a far better job at management of this important benefit. Many big companies are finding out that unions are far better at many management skills than they are, which questions how some executives at big corporations get their jobs to begin with. It is of course good or bad management which often decides the future,if any, of any business.


Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (7)

Allen:

Organized labor has always been able to manage their health care better than any corporation or company. And the main reason for that is the leaders of the labor(union) is responsible to the membership.

But the anti-union people will come up with, as always, why unions are no good. They are either uninformed or illiterate when it comes to unions.

There are good and bad things about unions, same as the political parties, but the unions have done, and is continuing to do more to help the American workers than any political party.

Unions have been bad mouthed about being fat, lazy, don't work hard, etc. Well, next time there is a fire at your house, see how the Fire Dept. responsed, and how hard they worked to extinguish the fire. And most Fire Depts. are union, same as the police. Most city, county, and state employees are union, and even nurse's are joining unions.

WHY IS THAT? Even the lawyers are union, but they continue to deny it, but they pay dues to the ABA or else they can't pratice law.

But why are the companies against the unions? Maybe the CEO wouldn't receive such a large golden parachute, huh? In the long run, most large corporations are more efficent when their workers are union.

Lee Ward:

The best health care insurance I ever had was that provided through my ex-wife's union. It was better than the high-end Blue Cross program I later had through a major corporation.

michael:

Paul

Great post. Something you won't see on Wizcrap central where the current drive is to tie the Peoples' Republic of China to Democratic fundraising via Hsu.

On that site today, Jay Tea has another one of his anti-labor hit pieces reflecting his intolerance of the working man and the worker's right to a living wage. Not long ago, the High-rolling Tea took a new job promotion w/ a staggering $100 signing bonus & 10% pay increase labeled as "substantial", putting him up in the stratospheric level of up-and-coming CEOs. Of course, someone making a minimally living wage and who got a 10% increase, would have almost enough to pay his increased fuel & gasoline bills...not much luxury beyond that.

michael:

Lee, a good follow-up to this Labor Day post would be a post about the Patriot Corporations Act, which was introduced by Sherrod Brown & others but is languishing in the Senate w/ zilch Republican takers for co-sponsorship

Lee Ward:

This is Paul's excellent post, as is the one that follows on Presidential quotes regarding Labor, so perhaps he'll follow up - if he chooses. Thanks for the suggestion Michael!

michael:

Sorry, Paul, I lost track of my open windows & who authored which post.

I deeply appreciate all the positive comments here, Michael, and everyone else as well. I deeply appreciate your suggestions for future commentary as well.

I wanted to bring the same respect to American workers on Labor Day today as veterans receive on Memorial Day. Hundreds of thousands of workers are injured each year on the job,bringing Americans the products that they daily consume, and many also lose their lives in workplace accidents. These workers are entitled to a high level of respect on Labor Day for their excellent contribution to American society.

I deeply appreciate the excellent graphics added by Lee which highlight the grand traditions of Liberalism which brought improvements in the lives of workers and the Rooseveltian New Deal ideals as well the patriotic and loyal traditions of past presidents towards labor. The quote by Abraham Lincoln, perhaps the finest man ever elected president, is a unique contrast to his modern party that has largely turned it's back on working people despite their significant contribution to American society.

It was deeply disappointing that some right leaning blogs used today as an opportunity to attack labor. Would they do the same to veterans on Memorial Day? I'm very pleased that Wizbang Blue could help to bring the American worker the respect they have earned today. I'm proud to be a part of such a fine blog that has it's values in the right place.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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