May 18, 2009
Senators Kennedy and Harkin were the lead sponsors of the bill called The Employee Free Choice Act, or EFCA. This bill as written would have allowed workers to have a union as soon as a majority in a workplace or company signed cards; and workers could then demand binding arbitration if bosses refused to negotiate a first contract within one year.
Unions poured money and manpower into electing a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President. In exchange – Senator Harkin is prepared to gut EFCA of its most important provisions!
News services report that both the card-check provision and the mandatory arbitration of a first contract will be eliminated, replaced by a promise to “speed up” the election. If so, the workers will gain only another law on the books with a nice-sounding title and no teeth.
Once again, a few thousand bosses will have their interests upheld by Congress, against the interests of many millions of workers.
The unions today don’t attract new members when they accept concessions on top of more concessions, and they lead no fights to defend their memberships. But it’s also true that existing law favors the bosses so much that you would think the bosses wrote it.
Even if workers succeed, against all odds, in organizing, 44% of new union locals never get a first contract! The laws protect the employers to the end.
On the campaign trail in 2008, Senator Barack Obama pledged to get EFCA passed and signed. He said, “it would change the situation.”
Yes, it would – tipping it just a little bit less in favor of the bosses. The Democrats, who pretend to be labor’s friend, act like the enemy they are.