Whew! Dems shy from axing elections

Latest word on the bill to abolish elections for the unionizing of workers in private industry is th

Latest word on the bill to abolish elections for the unionizing of workers in private industry is that it’s dead. A few key senators have abandoned it, and there are now not enough Democratic votes to fend off an anticipated Republican filibuster.

So reported The New York Times last week, and so has everyone else confirmed.

Therefore “card-check,” as it was euphemistically called, is kaput. Or “majority sign-up,” which was another euphemism pushed by labor unions to make the thing more palatable. Anything but “election abolition,” which did not have the desired ring.

“Employee free choice,” is the official name of the bill, which is equally hilarious, seeing as how its purpose was to bar the customary means of expressing free choice.

As things stand now, when a union wants to organize a private workplace it solicits employees to sign cards indicating their desire for union representation. If 30 percent or more sign, the employer has the option to call for an election, which is conducted by secret ballot under the auspices of the National Labor Relations Board.

Unions weren’t winning enough of those elections, and given their steady decline in membership — from 25 percent down to 7 percent of the private workforce in the past 30 years — they wanted a surer thing. They wanted to prevail if a majority of workers signed their cards, which is of course done not in the privacy of a voting booth but anywhere a worker might be buttonholed, including on his front porch by a couple of guys with meat hooks in their mitts.

A bill to “make it easier for unions to organize” is how sympathetic media outlets like The New York Times characterized the bill, while downplaying the awkward little detail of doing away with elections.

I am by no means one to bash The New York Times as a liberal propaganda sheet, as the ding-dongs of the right do, but really, to whitewash this flagrantly anti-democratic bill as merely one to make it easier for unions to organize must merit some kind of mockery.

The unions have claimed that in the run-up to an election, workers are vulnerable to intimidation by their employers, who try to scare them out of voting for the union, but it was clear they just wanted their own intimidation to take precedence.

That the Democratic Party has supported this insult to democracy, from President Obama down to your local congressman, tells you a lot about the party, just as it tells you a lot about the Republican Party that its rank and file whoop and cheer for guns and God in the same breath.

A political party is no more than its constituent blocs, and for the Democratic Party that means labor unions and racial minorities first. The party has to do what those blocs want or there is no more party.

Democrats can’t thumb their noses at organized labor any more than Republicans can thumb their noses at gun freaks and washed-in-the-blood-of-the-lamb Christians, whatever party leaders might think in private.

If labor unions are in decline, the Democratic Party is in decline. So let’s make it easier for them to strong-arm recalcitrant workers and let’s get rid of pesky, unpredictable elections, was the idea.

It was a little too much for a few key senators, and there was a little too much uproar from business organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, so apparently that key provision of the Employee Free Choice Act has been scrubbed.

In the process, however, the Democratic Party exposed an inch or more of its underwear.

Categories: Opinion

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