As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Biden on Employee Free Choice

Here are the relevant remarks by Joe Biden at his "hidden" address, which I have all the words of, to the AFL-CIO in Miami. I have to say that the Vice President is very good in these settings.

U.S. labor doesn't say that corporations and government must tolerate workers forming unions. It doesn't say that corporations and government must allow unions if after using every trick in the book they can’t stop them. Here's what the U.S. government says in the bargain made back in the '30s: It said, the National Labor Relations Act explicitly says -- and that came later -- the National Labor Relations Act explicitly says, this nation's policy is to encourage -- encourage -- collective bargaining, encourage unions. (Applause.)

But all kidding aside, look, folks, the fact of the matter is as President Obama said -- and he means it -- you can't have a strong middle class without a strong labor movement. And you heard what we said, what I said independently and what we said together: We will judge the success or failure of our administration at the end of our four years based on whether or not the standard of living of the middle class has increased, or not. That's the bottom line measure. And guess what. Neither one of us believe it can get better without you getting stronger. (Applause.)

Well, in this country today, legal industry -- excuse me -- the legal industry spends hundreds of millions of dollars exclusively in an effort to block workers from pursuing their legal rights, from unions being able to get collective bargaining agreements.

I mentioned the productivity increased by almost 20 percent from 2000 to 2007, but wages fell by $2,000. If our basic bargain had been intact, if paychecks rose with productivity growth, as they did from World War II to the early '70s, families would have gained $10,000 over that period, instead of losing $2,000. (Applause.)

So, folks, that's why there's no one thing we have to do. This is all going to be difficult, and one of the most difficult things will be to reinstitute that basic bargain. And I think the way to do that is the Employee Free Choice Act. (Applause.)

Folks, let's get it straight -- we're not asking -- we're not asking for anything we don't deserve. And we're not asking for anything that wasn't intended when the NLRB said we should be encouraging -- encouraging -- unions. We just want to level this playing field again [...] I have a simple, basic belief, one that we're going to work hard to put into action: If a union is what you want, a union you're entitled to have. (Applause.)

He's obviously preaching to the choir, but there's nothing in there to suggest the Administration is backing off of Employee Free Choice. Nor should they. All it would do is end the criminal enterprise that management has gotten away with for 30 years.

The Miami Herald has more.

...You can thank Biden for his stance here.

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