Friday, January 30, 2009

EFCA and "Bipartisan" government

"Republicans and big business are going all out to stop the Employee Free Choice Act. How will labor respond?"

Right. And I suppose my question here is whether Obama and Co. will seek a 'bipartisan' (read: pro-business tainted) approach to the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). Is Obama going to listen to the 'ideas' of the Republican Caucus's union-busting morons before throwing in support for a bill to pass it? Does he want an EFCA that reflects the support of 80 senators rather than 60? Let me say, emphatically, that I do NOT want to see such a bill. The extent to which Republicans might support an EFCA bill is precisely the extent to which it would have anti-labor provisions that would dilute the effectiveness of it as law. The Republican congress of the early postWar years did not seek bipartisanship as such as their goal: they waged concerted class war and rammed-through the Hartley-Taft anti-union bill to roll back the gains that labor had made in the 30s with the Wagner Act.

The EFCA is a VERY contentious issue for Capital (and consequently, most conservatives). They are aware of the stakes, and will do anything in their power to destabilize an effort to pass the EFCA. They've already begun their media war. The VP of the US Chamber of Commerce has already announced that the passage of the bill would be 'armageddon' and that he would do everything in his power to fight it tooth and nail.

But, you might say, this shouldn't matter. The US Chamber of Commerce doesn't vote on the bill directly. The Republicans do not have the votes to even filibuster the bill (after Franken is seated and assuming at least Liberman or one Republican breaks camp). Haha. Were it only that simple. A lot of details remain to be seen. But one thing is for sure (and here I agree with the ISO): active non-electoral struggle will be necessary for the bill to get the support it needs to pass. Labor will have to give this push its all, because frankly there hasn't been an opening for this kind of legal change in more than three decades. Although we could certainly argue about whether Clinton could have passed it in his first 100 days in 1993... he could have, perhaps, but it is clear in retrospect (and probably at the time as well) that his presidency wasn't an opening for that sort of change but a repudiation of it.

Bipartisan rhetoric isn't going to get the EFCA accross the finish line.

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