Feinstein's Dishonest Spin on Employee Free Choice
At The Plum Line, Greg Sargent takes a look at Dianne Feinstein's lack of support for the Employee Free Choice Act. She remains the only Congressional Democrat from California not to co-sponsor the bill, and according to her spokesman, she's looking for the mythical bipartisanship pony.
“I have thought for some time that the way to approach this issue is by trying to see if there can’t be a compromise between the business community, the agriculture community and labor. This is an extraordinarily difficult economy and feelings are very strong on both sides of the issue. I would hope there is some way to find common ground that would be agreeable to both business and labor.”
This is complete nonsense. Employers are firing workers who try to organize. They intimidate workers into voting against their better interests. One out of every four unions elections were marred by illegal firings in 2007. I don't know how you can possibly reconcile the two sides given that scenario.
Furthermore, the invocation of the "difficult economy" is another red herring. Sen. Tom Harkin has already done away with this nonsense by pulling out his history book.
The bill's supporters are pointing to the downturn as the ultimate proof of their arguments that labor's decline has helped put the economy out of balance and that only by restoring workers' purchasing power can the nation return to broadly shared prosperity.
"In 1935, we passed the Wagner Act that promoted unionization and allowed unions to flourish, and at the time we were at around 20 percent unemployment. So tell me again why we can't do this in a recession?" said Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), invoking the pro-labor changes of the New Deal. "This is the time to do it. This is exactly the time we should be insisting on a fairer playing field for people to organize themselves."
Because of Sen. Specter's announced opposition, the Employee Free Choice Act faces an uphill battle. But at the very least, Californians should expect that all of their representatives in Washington would understand the need to strengthen unions as a means to strengthening the overall middle class, increasing wages and BOOSTING, not hurting the economy. Feinstein has a choice to make, and you can sign this letter from the Courage Campaign to let her know you're watching her.
Dear Senator Dianne Feinstein,
In this time of economic crisis, we are distressed to hear that you have not yet endorsed the Employee Free Choice Act, especially as conservatives launch a massive campaign to discredit and oppose the bill.
The Employee Free Choice Act, which you co-sponsored and voted for in 2007, is a centerpiece of progressive efforts to help working Americans recover from this economic crisis. As in the Great Depression, the best way to rebuild the middle class is to allow workers to form unions. Workers covered by a union contract have better wages and benefits. Non-union workers benefit from these higher standards when unions are strong in their areas.
We, the undersigned, call upon you to endorse and to co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act. We ask that you join President Barack Obama, Senator Barbara Boxer, the entire California Democratic delegation in the House of Representatives, members of labor unions and progressives across America in ensuring that this act becomes law in 2009.