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!