Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"This will be Armageddon"

This is what Capital has to say about the repeal of anti-union laws and the implementation of the card check:

“This will be Armageddon,” said Randel Johnson, vice president for labor policy at the United States Chamber of Commerce.

And who said that class struggle was an outmoded political/economic category?

Both Joe Biden and Obama have enthusiastically endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act, but it remains to be seen what will become of the bill under an Obama Administrationa and Democrat-controlled congress.

The bill stalled after passing the House last year, getting filibustered in the Senate by Republicans. But despite the Democrat's likely failure to secure a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, they will only require 3 (or potentially less) votes to kill a filibuster. Arlen Specter (R-PA) has already said he would support the bill. But would we be naive to claim that Senate Democrats are uniformly in support of labor on this issue?

The Chamber of Commerce has voiced confidence that it has the Sentate votes necessary to kill the bill, but I'm not sure I understand how that could be. They need at least 40 votes to continue a filibuster, although that isn't a definite kill if the Democrats were determined enough to keep the bill on the agenda indefinitely (this is how some Civil Rights legislation passed over conservative filibusters). But if the Republicans can muster 40 votes against the bill, it will effectively kill it, since I doubt the vitality of Democrat support.

If Franken wins, and with Arlen Specter on board, that would require only 1 further dissenting vote from the Republican caucus, and that seems possible.

How could the Chamber already have the votes in the bag, unless they've persuaded Democrats to oppose it?

Anyone on the Left should be watching this very closely. If this doesn't pass, then the Democrats don't deserve another labor vote for a generation (not that they "deserve" them now, in any principled way). This isn't an issue that can be tabled because of a price tag and Obama's predilection to tend toward austerity with respect to social spending... this is Captial versus workers plain and simple. My fear is that it will be put forward and then not followed up, enabling the Democrats to claim that "they tried" (much like their craven, roll-over tactics post-2006 in which they gave in to Bush on virtually every important confrontation from FISA to the Patriot Act to War timetables).

No comments: